Heart Rhythm Community
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61536 tn?1340701763

Exercise-induced SVT

This condition sucks.  If (during exercise) I move just the right way or of my heart rate gets too high, all it takes is one PAC and I go into SVT.  This means I have to stop what I am doing, bear down, then go splash cold water on my face before I can resume what I was doing.  It always seems to happen when I'm really feeling my best, too.  Talk about a buzzkill!

Since the episodes are so short, usually less than 30 seconds, my cardiologist says they require no treatment and certainly not an EP.  The episodes vary from happening with nearly every workout to vanishing completely for months at a time.  I also have PACs and PVCs which are considered a "normal variant".  But GEEZ!  It would be so awesome if my heart would just stay in NSR and I didn't even have to THINK about it.

I'd like to talk to other exercise-induced SVT/PSVT sufferers.  I'm sure there are some of you here, this isn't uncommon.  I'd like to discuss strategies and helpful tips in managing this, what you've found helpful and what seems to tigger you.

28 Responses
Avatar universal
I'm right there with ya.  My problem is my episodes last 45 minutes to 2 hours.  I lock in and stay for awhile.  After a 4th ablation for SVT I developed left bundle block (rate induced). The meds I take reduce the LBBB rate to around 120.  To make things worse when the LBBB kicks in it triggers my SVT.  So now I treadmill with a rate monitor and have to stay below 115 or risk going into SVT (really sucks)  I could stop my med and the LBBB rate rises but then my pac's act up.  I give. It does vary.  About a month ago I was walking 2 miles a night and fealt so good I thought about starting to jog.  Lately I do good to walk the 2 miles and lift weights a little.  I'm athletic and was always in good shape.  I love the outdoors and now just taking the christmas lights off the house, climbing a ladder can throw me into SVT. (really sucks).  I'd be glad to talk strategies. I've tried a lot of things like you probably have.  There has to be a happy place.
Avatar universal
I'm there with you guys.  Probably not as big a sufferer, but a big worrier.  Working on that,too.  Currently wearing a 2 week Holter to catch my exercise induced SVT.  I'm a coward, though.  I have not had an ablation yet.  The ice water (drinking it AND dunking my head in a sink of it!) usually does the trick as does the vagel maneuvers.  BUT, I'm racked with nerves afterward- every time!  I'm starting cognative behavioral therapy tomorrow to learn to curb these instantaneous, negative, catastrophic type thoughts from invading my mind when my SVT occurs.  Sometimes the SVT will precipitate into Afib.  Not fun.  Thinking of you both,

Avatar universal
I feel your frustration!!!  You describe my life for the past year.  It sucks big time - especially if being active is such an important part of your life.  I would go a few weeks feeling well and then, out of the blue, I'd get exercise induced SVT that would last for weeks.  Felt pretty good if I wasn't exerting myself but the minute I got my heart rate up, BAM!!!  It's not fun looking for things to brace yourself with so you don't pass out.

Had an ablation 11 days ago.  They told me my chances for a cure was 95%.  I'm surprised they haven't given you the option of at least seeing an EP specialist if your condition is adversely affecting your life.  The doctor also told me that without the ablation, I would have had the condition for the rest of my life.

Since my ablation, I've continued to have PVC's but have been able to run without stopping and not once has my heart raced nor have I felt faint.  Time will tell whether it's been a success but I'm staying optimistic.
61536 tn?1340701763
tsco, what is the mechanism of your SVT?  FOUR ablations?  Man.  But yeah, I can do the treadmill as long as I keep a certain incline at a certain speed that I know is rate-safe for avoiding SVT.  I hate limitations, and it places a few on me.  I love being  and being active.

acjviolin, SVT used to set my nerves on edge too, but after 13 years of having it, it's just annoying now.  I think CBT will really help you, I think back when this started for me it would have been beneficial for myself as well.  I hope you find some relief, both from the SVT and the worry.

sueinns, I hope your ablation is successful!  You were passing out?  I usually feel just fine during the episode, though I feel a little weak in the legs immediately after.  I suspect that's due more to my having been working out vigorously and having to stop abruptly without a cooldown.  Are you having PVCs or PACs?  While PACs seem more likely, maybe not.  I have both.

Good to know I'm not alone in my frustrations, though I certainly wouldn't wish this on anyone.

Avatar universal
I am a challenge to the docs (evidently).  For some unknown reason I have some scar tissue close to the sinus node and my reentrant is confused within that scare tissue and is maybe too close to the node.  There are other spots in the right atrium they have ablated when I have gone back for touch-ups.  I guess they keep growing back.  I don't know how to explain it any better. I have some aflutter also.  I have only had right side ablation.  When I was younger my SVT was more persistent.  I went three months in SVT at 140 (controlled down to 140 by meds) until they could get me in Clevland Clinic.   Now it seems more frequent but breaks easier. I guess that's a good thing.
I have learned also to deal with the SVT, usually I lock in around 140 to 160.  I just kind of said screw it although sometimes depending on my mental state I feel panic for a while at the onset.  It hasn't killed me in 12 years so I guess like you all I have something that isn't going to kill me just cause me a pain in the a@#.  Anymore I find the PACs more alarming.  I don't know why but the ones here and there I can handle, but I have been stuck in bigenemy and I hate it.  It worries me like I don't  know what, and I don't know why.  
Sueinns I hope you continue to have great luck with your results, for life.

Avatar universal
Thanks anacyde and tsco:

I hope I do well too.  The PVC's used to always trigger the SVT but not since the ablation.  They have been bad the last couple of days but I'm really good at ignoring them. Mine go into trigeminy - I can keep tune with them (beat, beat, beat ....long pause.....beat, beat, beat and so on for hours on end).  

SVT is more common on the right side - mine was on the left so they had to poke a hole from the right to the left side when they did the ablation.  A wee bit more invasive but not uncommon.

I have never passed out but came close numerable times.  I had to hang onto something or sit down and take deep breaths.  It was always related to working out intensely and almost always right after I stopped.  This would last for weeks anytime I got my heart rate above a certain point.  Then, for no reason, stop and I'd feel normal again.  Try to explain that to anyone who can't relate.

Tsco - 4 ablations - wow - I cannot imagine how tough it has been for you.  It certainly takes our coping skills to a whole new level.
Avatar universal
Gosh,tsco!  Shut my mouth!  You are a tough fella.  Seriously,I'm so sorry for your condition.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for the help that you provide for all of us- very gracious of you.  Thanks also to anacyde and sueinns for your insight as well- Im very appreciative.  Thinking of all of you,
Avatar universal
Oh yes.....This can really get one down.  I am so obscessed about when it will happen next.  I have become reclusive.  I am also very active or use to be. I can relate to the bearing down and the splash cold water on the face.  I was told these would not kill me and an ablation was offered.  We need more techniques and a reason why this is happening...abnormal pathway?  Nutritional defeciencies? If they can put a man on the moon......is ablation the only soulution?  We are all together in this and stay hopeful!
1130393 tn?1260174351
im 12 and ive got svt and m trying to make the disision whether to have the little operation or not is it safe
Avatar universal
I had my first SVT episode last June.  It just hit me without warning.  I am 42 years old, single mom, massage therapist for the last 12 years and own a thriving massage therapy business for the last six years. I have always prided myself on being a multi-tasker and able to take on a lot at one time.  Since my SVT has been diagnosed, those days are over.  I was on a calcium channel blocker (diltiazem 180 and then increased to 240) but was having lots of swelling and it did not control my SVT well at all.  My cardiologist changed my  meds to a beta blocker (metoprolol 25 x 2ce day).  He wants to do an ablation on me but I am chicken.  I have a client who has had 3 ablations and she still has SVT.  I am wondering if a pacemaker might be a better choice?  My plan is to continue my meds as long as I can until they no longer work and I have no other option but the ablation or pacemaker.   I am finding it difficult to continue my profession as a massage therapist as my movements can cause me to go into SVT (130's-140's) several times per day.  I had to go to the ER last week with a bad episode (heart rate 225) and have intervention to get it down.  I wear my heart monitor watch all the time now.  Feeling lots of panic too.  Wondering if it is time for me to change my career.......at 42!    Any thoughts?
Avatar universal
Holly there are more people like me out there.. This is stopping me form getting to my ideal weight.  Other then being over weight I am pretty healthly.  I eat healthy, get all my water and fruits and veggies everyday, keep my calories within 1200-1600 for the most part.  I work out 3-5 times a week sometimes for 2 hours.  
I have been to doctor after doctor had all the test you can think of that dont involve surgery.  My cardiologist put me on Metoprolol Tartrate  low low dose and it seems to help the severity of the episodes but not they happen during working out - bike ride specifically or anytime I do a treadmill work out that makes my heart go up and down.

has anyone found help or an answer for this what the f is it.
Avatar universal
i'm 19 and i was "diagnosed" a year and a half ago. My attacks came on suddenly. I was involved in high intensity martial arts training for almost 8 years at that point, and suddenly i could barely walk up the stairs without running out of breath. my doctor didn't know what it was causing this, and the children's heart doctors wouldn't make a firm diagnosis about it. All of your stories have given me some great ways to deal with these episodes. I am starting yoga this summer and all of your stories are a great help.
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