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Avatar universal

SVT linked to anxiety?

Hello, I'm a 35yr female.  I have a history of bad anxiety and panic attacks.  I also have pac's and pvc's, from 2 previous normal holter reports.  Echo done 4 years ago showed mild mr and tr and mild mvp, otherwise normal.  This year I told my GP that when I get really stressed or really hot my heart will race and skip.  This summer was the worst, I had some very stressful things happen and they were occuring about 1-4 times a week, the longest I think lasted 20 minutes, and I always broke them on my own, when I would calm down.  They tried to put me on a treadmill but I panicked and couldn't do it, so they gave me a 24hr holter monitor and told me to try to bring that fast rythm on, so I did, and the holter report showed 52 atrial couplets and 2 brief episodes of svt, (longest 6 beats) otherwise normal study.  My Dr. tried to refer me to a Cardio, but they told her with my results she could easily treat me with a low dose bb or anxiety med.  I am taking Propanolol and Lexapro right now, and it has helped. My Dr. said if the Lexapro works, she'd like me to get off the bb, but I don't understand why or want to as it really helps the pac's and pvc's.  My questions are:
1) Do I need a second opinion, I don't even know what type of svt this is? Can a regular GP be treating this?
2) Can svt be caused by anxiety or stress? Can hormones cause svt?
3) Can svt go away?
4) Do I need any additional testing at this point?
5) Is it good to exercise, if it is exercise induced?
6) What makes a Dr. decide when an EP study/ablation become necessary?
Thank you for your time. Michelle
7 Responses
239757 tn?1213809582
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
miche35,

thanks for the post.

1) Do I need a second opinion, I don't even know what type of svt this is? Can a regular GP be treating this?

An experienced GP can treat this. A second opinion is fine, especially if you need reassurance or are uncomfortable with your current physician.

2) Can svt be caused by anxiety or stress? Can hormones cause svt?

Both are commonly associated with each other. Some hormonal flucutation could probably have effect on SVT.

3) Can svt go away?

It can wax and wane over time.

4) Do I need any additional testing at this point?

From your post nothing is jumping out.

5) Is it good to exercise, if it is exercise induced?

Exercise is very important. Really with the small runs you are describing, there would be no reason to curtail exercise.

6) What makes a Dr. decide when an EP study/ablation become necessary?

The severity of symptoms and the type of arrhythmia. Isolated runs of pacs with a normal cardiac evaluation are pretty common. Symptoms would have to be pretty severe before I would begin to think about exposing someone to the risk of an invasive procedure such as an ablation or EP study. Anxiety can also play a significant role in patients with these types of arrythmias. I would really try to focus to see how much anxiety is playing a role in your life.

good luck
Avatar universal
Michelle, you've got mail :) I'm interested in hearing the dr's answers on this.
Avatar universal
Hi Michelle!
So glad to see that the CCF doctor also agrees nothing's wrong with your heart! They're among the best so this should help put your mind at ease.

Talk to you soon!

Fran
Avatar universal
Wow ,you sound like me! I don't get SVT (that I know of)but I get the skips and flutters. And I have anxiety and panic at stressful times. Sometimes the skips just happen-then I panic.Or I get anxious at something and it starts skipping- either way I hate it! I just had triplets and it has been non-stop. I need a "panic buddy" if anyone is interested in helping each other out
email me at ***@****
Avatar universal
Holy Cow!  I had goosebumps reading your post....it is as if I wrote it.  I really feel for you because I can totally relate to what you are going through.  I am too a 35 yr old women who has been having tachycardia and skipped beats for nearly 2 years now ...right after my 3rd child was born.  The first few months after her birth were the most stressful times of my life......they were the worst and my anxiety was sky high which is what cause , well my dr and I think, my pvc's and jittery heart (as i like to call it :)) My family dr was 99% convinced that my anxiety had caused this and he was also sure that I was in no immediate danger but being the anxious type and having a relative who has had chronic heart disease, triple heart bypass and recently a pace maker/defribulator fitted, i wasn't going to be able to "accept" i was fine until I had proof.  Why am i telling you this? Well if it would really make you feel more relaxed about your situation then please get a 2nd opinion and ask to be referred to a sympathetic cardiologist.  My dr was amazing and new one of the cardio's at the heart clinic here in Appleton, WI.  He referred me and I had an appointment within 2 days.  It was the best thing i have done for myself.  He explained that everyone one of us have heart palps and pvc's but only a few, unfortunately, sensitive types, like ourselves actually feel them.  He also ordered tests for me, not because he thought I was in danger, but because he knew that i needed reassurance that my heart was fine.  You know...it worked. I can't tell you that I am 100% fine with this jumps and wobbles that I get BUT i do tend to not panic over every skipped beat now and inturn, not setting of that panic response helps with the tachycardia I was experiencing after each skipped beat.  The tachycardia I now know was my adrenaline rush which would happen when I panicked.  It is very hard, i know, to not worry and panic when it is our heart that is behaving oddly.  If it were any other organ in our body I think we would cope with it so much better.  So please for your own peace of mind get some tests done if you insurance allows and if you can, speak to a good cardiologist who can spend some time and explain what is happening to you and also answer all those questions that are swimming around in your head.  I really do feel for you but want you to know that you are not alone.  I have had a relatively good year with the beat only acting up on a few occasions but now the christmas season is upon us I feel myself getting stressed again and those ugly skipped beats have come back but this time I am prepared and ready to fight back.  I won't let them ruin my life.  Oh and "that time of the month" too is something that worsens my pvcs.....hormones have alot to answer for don't they? Sorry this post is long but i really felt the need to post to you.  Please feel free to email and just talk.  ***@****

sharon
Avatar universal
Hi, I am so glad I found this website!  Thanks to everyone who is sharing their stories. I am a 39 year old stay at home mom with 2 small children .  I have had 4 attacks of sinus tach since late October which have lasted around 24 hours each (130 bpm).  My blood pressure has been terrible and I am now on a beta blocker which is helping so much.  The blocker is also helping my pvcs.

I have had a huge battery of tests including blood work, chest xrays, holter monitor, EKG, gall bladder and upper GI which have all come back clear! But after losing 20 pounds in the last month out of fear for my health,  it is still hard to believe that nothing is wrong! My doctor is suspecting anxiety, but I am not aware of anything specific causing me stress(except the heart problems!).  The only other evident problem is severe sleep onset insomnia.  

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has any experience with taking meds to control anxiety long term. My doc has suggested Paxil. Right now I am on Alprazolam(Zanax) for the attacks, but sometimes it doesn't actually reduce my pulse and it wipes me out so bad.  

  Has anyone tried any natural alternatives to the drugs?  What can anyone tell me about adrenaline? When I get tachy, I feel exactly like I do when I have gotten in a car accident.  Racing heart, dry mouth and I feel like I have to go to the restroom.
Thanks for the input! Oops, I just read the small red print, I will also put this in the question area too!
Avatar universal
Hi! I'm new to this forum, but have been reading it for a while now and have enjoyed it and have been encouraged many time. Anyway, in October '06 I had my first episode of Tachycardia. Never had experience it before, but on this particular day I had 2 major episodes, the second sending me to the ER with my heart racing at about 180bpm. I was put on Altenolol and for a while that helped, but as time went on I had some more episodes, not as severe, but still scary. So my family DR. referred me to a cardiologist. He says that I have sinus tachycardia and that I have anxiety and that's what is causing my heart to do this. I had suffered from anxiety for about 10 years when I was younger, but after becoming involved with church and my pastor helping me to work through some issues I had from my abusive childhood I really felt as though God had healed me from that bondage of anxiety. So when this cardiologist suggested I am having this I didn't take to it very well, but he insists that that's just got to be my problem even though I feel fine. I have stress just like everyone else does, but nothing like I had when I was younger. Could this Dr. be wrong? How can someone be told they are having anxiety and not know it? I could write a book on that subject so I'm just stunned that he thinks that that is what my problem is. My echo. came back fine and I have worn an event recorder 2 times. My heart seems to race at around 150 at times for no apparant reason. I don't even have to be doing anything. I asked him if hormones could cause these things, but he became very aggitated with me and said that there is no link between hormones and the heart. {I am 35 and had a complete hysterectomy 2yrs. ago and have been on Horm. replace. therapy}. So does anyone have any input about this? Am I going nuts and I'm the only one who doesn't know it or could my Dr. just be a jerk?
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