5 hour svt attack

Posted , 6 users are following.

I am wanting to know how people cope mentally with never knowing when it will occur. Background is had 1st svt attack 7 yrs ago triggered by menopause. Until january this year medication free. My attacks would last minutes and i would feel faint. The manouvres would stop the attack. Eventually was getting few second attacks daily. Had moniter implant 3 yrs ago under electrocardio at blackpool. Jan this year had a 6 hr spell with recurring svts lasting few minutes. Hospital put me on bisoprolol which was wonderful at slowing heart but my childhoid asthma meant i git increasingly tight chested so after 2 weeks had to stop them changed to verapamil 80mg 3 tines a day. Didnt stop the little daily attacks and they hamnered my liver! Hadvto reduce to 40mg 3 times day and the svt dsily attacks increased. Few months ago i refused ablation although i can phone cardio secretary and ask to be listed at anytime.

Yesterday out of the blue svt started and and felt very very erratic like box of frogs in chest. Nothing i did helped so hour later in the hell of a&e. They tried 3 times with adenosine to stop it but each failed. That is one evil drug! They gave me more verapamil but still same. They then said wait for another hour as i was stable otherwise and after 5 hrs from start it suddenly stopped.

They have put me back up to 80mg verapamil and gp to moniter liver and i will be phoning cardio sec asap to be listed for ablation although i guess on nhs long wait.

In meantime every missed heartbeat and i have always had loads of them is freaking me out as the thought of a repeat of yesterday with the war zone that is a&e now is terrifying.

Any words of wisdom as in how others have stopped attacks other than usual manouvres and how to live eith threat gratefully received and thank you for reading

0 likes, 14 replies

14 Replies

  • Posted

    I had an attack that lasted 7 hours once.  It converted as I was walking into the ED  (washed my sweaty hands in freezing cold water from the bubbler - remember to try that next time!).  I spent 2 hours in the ED, was discharged and it started up again an hour later.  I couldn't get back to the ED for 2 hours so it was 9 hours all up.  I was pretty tired the next day.

    I'm pretty chilled about it, have been managing it since I was a teenager (now 45) and it's been more frequent since I was 39.  I've declined an ablation for now, just managing the episodes when they happen.  I get lots of missed beats, again I know how normal they are and for the number I get it's very very rare that one sets off or heralds the beginning of an SVT attack.

    I saw my Cardiologist last week for the first time in 2 years - did a check up, all good and I will carry on until for some reason (if ever) that I can't manage any more.  My attacks did increase for a while but haven't continued to increase as I've gotten older.   I think I've had 3 this year, all of which either converted themselves after a couple of hours or I was able to convert.

    Two things I've found helpful:

    Long slow breathes like you do for meditation.  Like taking 30 seconds to breathe in and 30 to breathe out.  Make it longer if you can and control the breath so the air just trickles into your lungs a tiny bit at a time.  It means the chest is expanded for a really long period of time.  I find the conversion will happen at the height of the breath and it flicks back to normal.   I've only just discovered this one so am keen to try it again.

    The other is the modified valsalva manouvre.  For whatever stupid reason I can't put the link up on this page so you will have to go look for the u tube vid yourself.  It's a valid study done in the UK of a very effective SVT conversion which is far more effective than the normal valsalva.   I had a couple of Drs do this for me in the ED and now I go in prepared to show Drs the video so they can help me implement it (you need a bed with an adjustable back).  In fact last time I needed help converting it was done in a GP surgery treatment room with a Dr and Nurse who had watched the video and worked under my instruction.  They were very impressed with themselves and I happily went back to work after 5 minutes of recovery.

    PS I take a beta blocker when the episode starts - it slows it down by 20 bpm or so and makes it easier to cope with and also makes it easier to convert.

  • Posted

    Thanks annie. Have got the youtube clip on my phone now. They did the blowing into syringe thing but it didnt help. Was amazing to see but you do need 2 people with you.

    If i knew i was only going to get a couple of bad attacks a year then would not have ablation but these almost daily short attacks are worrysome as i have no idea if its going to turn into long one. I will though try as many manouvres as i can before resorting to hospital.

    • Posted

      It never helped me either - the modified valsalva is a different story though.

      Try removing inflammatory foods from your diet.  Gluten, sugar and dairy as well as all the usual things like preservatives and other food chemicals.

      Treat each attack like it's a short one and get concerned only if it doesn't stop.  Your quality of life totally depends on where you let this affect you.

      Ablation may not be all it's cracked up to be so search through these forums for people who've had complications, repeat ablations (sometimes many and sometimes every few years) and people who've had to go on long term medication due to the very frequent ectopic beats the ablation causes.  Research everything before you go ahead because the change is permanent.

  • Posted

         I do understand your anticipatory anxiety (or whatever anyone else wants to call It), Deborah.  For big parts of my 50 years of SVT, wondering "when next" might have been the toughest part.  I've been SVT--free for more than a year (second ablation--1st didn't work), and only for the last three months or so have I allowed myself to believe that it might be behind me.

         Some folks minimize the anticipatory fears, and I do hope you'll get some helpful advice on how to do so.  I wish the very best for you, and take care. 

  • Posted

    Thank you gene. Anticipatory fear is perfect description and i agree a hard part of the condition. Glad to hear your 2nd ablation was successful. I am terrified of having ablation as for the electro test there is no sedation but feel i have to try it.
    • Posted

      Facing both ablations severely intimidated me, too, Deborah. Since I'm now SVT free, though, those experiences now seem very acceptable. In no way am I "pushing" ablation on you, but please consider trying to find an electrophysiologist you are comfortable with, and then getting his or her advice as to your most promising options.  I hope you do feel that you are not alone.  Maybe too many of us understand much of what you're going through.  Take care.

  • Posted

    Studies suggest that if you're overweight, losing 10% of more of your body weight can significantly decrease arrhythmic attacks. This seemed to help me although hard to be sure since there are so many variables. I also eliminated caffeine, alcohol and went on the FODMAP diet that someone here recommended. Stress can also be a factor so anything to reduce stress might help. FWIW I had 17 SVT attacks over a 2 month time period but have been SVT free for over 60 days now. Not sure if the weight loss or FODMAP or eliminating caffeine and alcohol helped but I think one or a combination might have. If I had to pick one it would be the weight loss. I wasn't obese but did lose 15 pounds.


  • Posted

    Thanks. I lost 3 stones 2 years ago but i could still lose another 2 stones to be perfect weight. Will keep trying!

    Thats an awful lot of attaxks and hoping you did nit need to go to hospital each time. I am used to a couple of few second attacks daily but have noticed they increased slowly with time which my cardio warned about. Will have a look at diet .

  • Posted

    Hi Deborah, My attacks were mostly under 10 minutes and I was able to cardiovert naturally with some sort of valsalva manuever. Based on the studies, losing another two stones would be a very appropriate and possible the most productive intervention you could try. You might also look into the FODMAP diet at the Monash Unversity web site. They also have an Iphone app.


  • Posted

    Update. Got a call from cardio secretary who said cardio has listed me but average wait for someone stable is 9 months which is good compared to other cardios! My gp was already writing to cardio explaining my inability to take drugs that can help and having to closely moniter my liver on a drug that is not even helping much. Cardio sec advised gp write to cardio so already being done as cardii decides where you are on the list. Lets hope gp gives a good begging letter!

    In the meantime i had an episode of sinus tachy in night with a few very short svt attacks. I can no more than twice a week use diazepam to calm heart down a bit which i did but it was a worrying few hours wondering if it would turn into constant svt again

  • Posted

    Mine used to last 10 hrs or more. Had a thyroid issue. They put me on levo. I think it was adding to the issue. So I started taking WP thyroid. Helped alot!!!What really has changed my life and haven’t had an episode in more than a year. Peanuts!  Stopped eating peanuts. I also take 1000mg of fish oil a day, coq10, magnesium. Had several of the Er trips and having my heart stopped terrified me. Declined ablation also
  • Posted

    Also no caffeine, no gluten in my diet. I also decreased stress in my life. Yes the fear of it happening was debilitating. Sometimes it would start just by me bending down too fast. I would jump in the shower and blast the hot water then switch to cold and back and forth. Worked like a charm but was torture. Ha   The less I thought about and stressed about it the better off I was
  • Posted

    Peanuts is very interesting as i started eating peanut butter daily 3 years ago! My attacks did not escalate though for first 2 yrs so maybe no connection but will remove from diet and see although due to have ablation in 4 weeks!
    • Posted

      I ate peanut butter and nuts for years. Love them. But the attacks were coming more frequently. Cold turkey stopped. Had a few slip ups and the svt came on again. Fingers crossed this is in my past. Good luck with the ablation!!

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