Anyone get anxious when driving because you're afraid you might have a SVT?

Posted , 8 users are following.

My first couple episodes of SVT were very frightening. Made me feel faint although I never did but they sent me into panic attacks and I rode in an ambulance twice. The two scariest times I've ever had in my entire life!  I'm on meds now and I rarely have them.  I have been having a fast heart rate getting out of bed in the mornings lately but I'm not sure they are SVTs because my heart rate only goes up with exertion. Also been having a hard time getting deep breaths for months. Anyway, I've had a lot of anxiety lately and when I drove to town today I was EXTREMELY anxious.  It was like the driving episodes I had three years ago right after I first started having SVT's.  I was so afraid to go anyway in fear I would have them. I really got a handle on it though and have been very active, driving fine, etc up until recently.  I guess I have a fear that something isn't right with me but I just don't know what it is. I fear I am becoming agoraphobic.  I hate going in grocery stores anymore.  I just feel anxious and hurry very quickly throwing things in my cart because I just want to hurry and get the heck out of there.  The worst time for me is at the checkout line. I try to stand there relaxed and look like I'm not anxious but inside I'm like "Hurry up, I gotta get out of here before I start feeling weird, faint, or my heart starts racing!".  I know that sounds crazy because I'm rarely having any SVT's anymore but I just feel so anxious.  Today, I ordered groceries online from Walmart so all I had to do was drive the four miles, park and have them load into my car.  Nice, should be relaxing, right?  Well, I was a nervous wreck the whole time I was driving. I'm not afraid to drive, feel confident behind the wheel with my driving skills, etc  and I actually and to remind myself to slow down a bit as I was speeding a little.  I just wanted to get back home as soon as possible.  I know my heart rate was around 110 or so, I wasn't having a SVT.  Just felt incredibly anxious.  Just pulling up at a red light made it even worse.  I even pulled over in a parking lot once even though I was only a mile from home because I was afraid I might start feeling faint because I felt so incredibly anxious.  It's really hard to describe how I felt.  I can't put it into words. I seem okay after I got home.  I didn't take my blood pressure but I know it would have been elevated.  I have been taking a little Xanax again lately.  Haven't taken any in almost three years. Swore I wouldn't again but I've been a basket case lately.  I took one when I got home and I feel relaxed now.  Guess I should have taken it before I went driving.  Isn't it RIDICULOUS that I can't even relax while only driving a few miles?  It was like torture I tell you.  Can anyone relate to this?  Probably not, I'm very weird I think.  LOL  I just want my life back. I used to go to the gym a few times a week and now I'm afraid to really do anything.  I know if I have a SVT when I'm out that I can more than likely break it with my maneuver like always.  I don't really feel like I'm that afraid I will have them but something is causing this anxiety.

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  • Posted

    Hello there! I completely understand you, I had SVT for 12 years and I always was afraid of doing too much, the older I got the worst the SVT. April 2017 I was in a grocery shop and I ran to meet with my wife and guess what BOOM right in the chest SVT started and I felt horrible, I was trying to tolerate the situation but I went pale and had to sit, many people came to ask if I was ok which made me have a panic attack and thought I was dying, called ambulance because I was sure I was having a heart attack I was shaky and sweating cold, even the paramedic was scared, well like usually SVT stopped midway to the hospital, they scan me and blood test me all normal except elevated BP and Sinus Tachycardia as expected after SVT episode.

    After that episode I was left with post traumatic syndrome, everything I went out of the house I started to grin my teeth, sweat and my heart rate was elevated and that's horrible as it can trigger PACs and PVCs which in my case can develop SVT!!

    Fortunately I had an ablation this October which eliminated the 2 pathways that were causing the problem I had AVRT.

    Don't get me wrong I still suffer anxiety and panic attacks when I am out of my comfort zone, I didn't have more SVT after ablation but my heart still does it's bits and bots and that still scare me to death.

    I feel what you are going through and I know how complicated and toxic anxiety can be specially Health anxiety.

    I would recommend the ablation as it can fix it permanently and can avoid complications in the long run which medication does.

    All the best and all the support, breath and think about other things I know it's hard but you will feel better.

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    • Posted

      Glad the ablation worked for you.  I hope your anxiety will become less as time goes by. My electrophysiologist isn't recommending an ablation for me at this time.  I'm on a very low dose of metoprolol tartrate and don't seem to be having any problems with it right now.  I'm not going to rock the boat at this point.  Just need to get my anxiety under control somehow.

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  • Posted

    Hi Rochelle. 

    Sorry to hear you are experiencing this. I can relate to this in some ways. When I was younger, before getting a proper diagnosis, family, friends and medical professionals used to tell me I was having panic attacks which would make me cry whenever I had an SVT because there was no way I could control it or stop it. Once somebody showed me the val salva and I had a “it’s probably this but without an ecg we can’t be sure” diagnosis I managed fine for a few years. Then after I had recorded one on an ecg earlier this year the heart rate was only 151 and while the doctor who recorded it was amazing the once who saw me two days later suggested I was panicking (yet again) which mentally destroyed me for two weeks until I had another one recorded above 200. Those two weeks made me extremely anxious as all of a sudden medications and an ablation were no longer options like I had spent years believing. The only other bit I struggled with was fainting at nighttime which nobody could explain but once the cardiologist said they were related again I was fine and just took it in my stride.  Gradually over the years the SVT became more and more frequent and harder to stop.  While it only happened once a week and would only go for five minutes or so it started to become a bit annoying as it would happen without a trigger. I was already booked in for an ablation when I had a terrifying episode where there was an externally audible clicking sound coming from my heart in time with the SVT. Then it started going in and out of SVT super quick and I couldn’t stop it so we went to hospital. I’m not going to lie after the clicking sound I experienced a lot of anxiety. I would burst into tears whenever I got an episode and couldn’t wait for the ablation. Nobody knows why as it’s definitely not normal and is not part of SVT. I’ve since had the ablation and I’ve has no further issues. I don’t worry about my heart anymore which is great. But my experience with the clicking noise has even made me anxious for others I know with SVT which is something I’m working on as I know it’s not healthy (and please don’t you get worried as it’s not a normal part of SVT at all. Even my electrophysiologist was like “I can’t explain that”)... but again it’s probably also me processing the last few months a bit. As for driving yes I had one while driving. I just pulled over a layed on the side of the road until it passed. Over the years I had them in the strangest of places - swimming in the ocean, on a cruise ship, halfway up a mountain, while out diving, ect. But the valsalva would always take care of that and it would pass. Personally up until the end I didn’t let my SVT stop me from doing anything as I always found the fear of it happening was worse than it happening itself and I didn’t want to miss out on things. In saying that I only had two episodes I needed help to stop. I know of people who need medical intervention every time so maybe I would have acted differently if that was me? Personally I would speak with your doctor about this if it’s affecting your life that much? SVT can be a scary thing to live with due to its unpredictable nature.  Sometimes there are even other causes for anxiety as well. I was on an unrelated medication for a while (hormonal contraceptive) and that made me so anxious for the very short time I was on it? Hope all goes well smile 


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  • Posted

    Rochelle, I hope you've already learned from the other replies that your response to SVT is anything but unusual, atypical, or abnormal.  Much of your post sounds too much like big parts of the previous 50 years of my life.  For many SVT people, it's one very scary deal. 

    I strongly encourage you to seek help  for the understandable anxiety your SVT has brought.  I'd look into cognitive therapy and pharmaceutical help (if needed).  I very much like what I'm reading about cognitive therapy lately.  

    I'm 5 months after my second ablation with no SVT.  I'm very grateful, but the "flutters" and ectopics I'm having still trigger anxiety.  My favorite new year's resolution right now is to seek some cognitive therapy for that anxiety.  I don't mean this as a distraction from your challenges, but I want you to know that I intend to practice what I'm preaching.  Take good care of yourself.  I wish the best for you. 


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  • Posted

    I too suffered with anxiety before and after my ablation. What you described is exactly how I felt! It was so bad, I decided to talk with my doctor and she put me on anti anxiety medication and it has changed my life! I no longer have the fears I had. I strongly suggest you talk with your doctor and see what treatment would best suit you. Best wishes to you! And I’m so sorry you are going through this. 
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  • Posted


    you are not weird at all! I'm convinced I had SVT 5 years  before I was even diagnosed, but they couLdnt capture it. go shopping and my heart rate went yup to 175. Took 30 minutes to come down. I quit singing in the choir as I felt faint 2 times and my heart rate was high. I had SVT after exercising, at a red light and once I had to pull over and park and call an ambulance as I was very very faint and my heart rate was 200. Had a same problem st my home at the end of a Christmas party last year. When I was returning from the doctors offic, I could go on and on of when I had SVT. 

    I totally stopped driving for several months as I was afraid that I would have SVT WHILE DRIVING AND I STILL DONT DRIVE ON VERY BUSY HIGHWAYS AS I Don't like the business and the possibility of having an episode. I did have an ablation, and that was fixed. But they found 4 other abnormal rhythms of which I take medication for. Haven't had any SVT since. When I started driving again, I had my husband Drive with me, which gave me confidence again. You might have a friend Drive with you to get your confidence up again. I totally cut out caffeine as it gives me palpitations. Have you ever had an ablation or do you take medication. I would suggest you see a cardiologist. I was always afraid to drive thinking I might have an attack. It really debilitated me forquite a few months. I was in the ER 4 time last year with this problem. 

    I feel for you, because I know exactly what you are going through. 

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  • Posted

    My heart rate goes up to 240 bpm what Medstead are you on?
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    • Posted

      Terry, I stopped driving for several months, because I did have about 3 episodes while driving and one of those times, I called an ambulance on myself as my heart rate was 200. I thought I was going to pass out. I am not driving as I had an ablation and all is good now. It took me awhile to get my confidence back. The best for me was to have my husband drive with me for awhile until I felt confident enough to drive by myself. I don't drive on freeways much anymore. I mostly drive on side roads, because if I did drive on freeways, ti would be hard to pull over rather than pull over on the side roads. It is very scary to know you might have an episode when you are driving. I felt that I might have a wreck and kill someone or kill myself.

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  • Posted

    Hi Rochelle,,

    I know exactly what you mean, as I have that too.

    I am having an ablation Jan 16th, but I too suffer with anxiety.I took 10 months coming off 2 anxiety medications to have thisa ablation done.  Withdrawaling was the worst thing I have ever done.

    I too have trouble with grocery shopping. Ido find the lightsinlarge department stores the worst.Like Walmart.

    I am not sure whether my anxiety is back since I stopped these meds, or it is just withdrawals.

    Today I am a few stops to make,and was so anxious.For no reason.

    I was driving and got these quick spinning dizzys in my head.That made me panic and my legs started to shake and jerk,  Then my head and face filled with pressure.  My ear plugs up and I am so off balance.  When I walk Ifeel like I am walking on air.

    Anyways, just wanted to tell you that you are not alone.  I also get that feeling at red lights too

    SVT sucks, and anxiety sucks


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