Bad SVT and work

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi everyone

I'm new to here but relieved to see there are other people suffering with the same condition as me. I've got SVT and have had some pretty bad episodes recently, with my heart rate at about 190bpm for 1h+. Have ended up in hospital twice over last 2 months to be given adenosine. After much contemplation I've decided to tell my work about it as I'm a teacher and i can't always leave easily if an episode comes on so thought it's best for someone to know. It's kind of been made into a huge deal with risk assessments etc and I'm wondering now if I've made a mistake. I have had to miss work though due to exhaustion after a bad episode so maybe it's best to be honest about it 😔 sometimes I almost fear people don't believe me because I'm completely fine when not having an episode. Just wondering if anyone has been in a similar position and and what you guys think. Am on bb for the svt but it's not working brilliantly at the moment!

0 likes, 11 replies

Report / Delete

11 Replies

  • Posted

    Lots of empathy from me for you and your situation, and at least one significant commonality, other than SVT. I was a Naval aerospace physiologist in flight status for 20 years. I was a biology professor for 24 years. Hoping to encourage you, I more than survived those demanding professions as I battled SVT. My Navy did every imaginable test, and some that weren't, on me and allowed me to continue flying. These days they wouldn't have, until I had a successful ablation and went a year or so without SVT. Academic colleagues helped with emergency room visits over the years.

    I'm not surprised over the "big deal" component. Non SVT folks will not be able to easily understand our health challenge and what it can do to us, physically and emotionally. Expect that, be prepared to take appropriate legal action if necessary to protect your employment, survive, and advance.

    Please find health care people, physical and emotional, you respect and trust. If advised to pursue ablation, please strongly consider it. My reading of the literature tells me it may well offer you an excellent shot at a cure. My second ablation might have done so for me. Two years now with no SVT. Before ablation, I was experiencing SVT multiple times per month. My quality of life is now dramatically better.

    One more suggestion. Work back through this forum for quite a ways. You'll learn much. I'll trust you to do appropriate filtering, and I'm confident you'll learn much worth knowing. I do wish you well. Take care.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you gene91169. It is so encouraging to read what you have written. It has been quite a lonely experience since, as you point out, people do not seem to understand the impact that it has on one's life. I feel scared of doing so many things now - I travel a lot and have 3 trips planned within the next year (including one involving 13 hour flights) and am not sure if I can go ahead with them, although it would break my heart (and cost me a lot of money) if I didn't.

      Work is the most pressing issue as although everyone nods and says they understand actually implementing any sort of plan or support seems to be a different matter altogether. I cannot teach a class of 30 students while my heart is racing at 200bpm and I cannot be back to work an hour after getting adenosine. I absolutely hate all this. I do have a doc appointment coming up soon so oping they will be able to help. Ablation sounds very scary but I would consider it if it is recommended. I'm glad things eventually got sorted for you.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      A broken heart and a broken wallet make for a nasty combo. Here's an irony for you. I literally loved flying military planes at 500 knots 100 feet over tree tops, yet had to sometimes summon something unexplainable to board a civilian airliner. Here's a thought for you. When I combine those intense fears with the joy I experienced from the places and people of those trips, it seems worthwhile.

      I once experienced SVT as I lectured 130 students. I decided to keep going and head for an emergency room after class. I'm guessing that some of those students noticed the unprecedented (from me) shakiness in my voice. After 10 or so minutes, the SVT self corrected. I finished the lecture, grateful that I had avoided the brief misery of adenosine.

      Ablation scared me, too, but much more so from an anticipatory standpoint than from actually going through it. Both, for me were demanding but not terrible. I was back to normal in a couple of days.

      I intend this stuff to be encoragement and support. I apologize if any of it comes across otherwise. Take care.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks for sharing that - it's actually nice to hear from someone who has been through the same thing. Adenosine is indeed miserable - it sounds dramatic but to me it literally felt like complete doom. Not an experience I'm keen to repeat in a rush...

      I've tried to push through episodes and carry on with whatever I was doing before they started but they never stop unless I lie down which is clearly not going to happen with students there! The episodes no longer seem to respond to the manouvers either although they did the first few times, it's like the SVT has become resistant 😔

      Can I ask you though since you have experience in the matter - what do you think would happen if I were say on a flight from London to Tokyo and had an episode an hour into the flight? I wonder if it would eventually stop or whether it could last for 12 hours potentially. The longest I've gone before adenosine is 1h, no idea what would have happened without. Hoping the Dr will be able to give me something I could take in this situation? Or do we get an emergency landing 😱

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Glad to try to help. I, too, experienced decreasing success with various SVT-stopping techniques. That was the most significant reason I decided to try ablation.

      Please ask your health-care people to advise you on your long-flight opportunities. Parts of that story can be surprising. Aircraft on long flights fly "great circle" routes. To me, it's quite an interesting story you might enjoy reading. Regardless, you'll cross lots of land and probably at least some big water.

      If a passenger has a significant medical emergency, the flight crew will communicate with an airline-related medical advice center, Under some circumstances the airliner would be diverted to the nearest medical center capable of providing appropriate care. Yes, that would mean problems for lots of other passengers, but that's one way we can all help each other. Passengers and crew can end up spending a little time in some bizarre places, and what an adventure.

      With hesitation, I'll mention the defibrillators aboard (probably all) airliners. In a near worse-case scenario they've kept lots of folks going.

      There may be medications that could significantly reduce your probability of SVT and, similarly, your associated anxiety. Again, I hope you can discuss this with your health care people. Maybe you can look at exercise, cognitive therapy, and such. There's some potential help for you from that sort of stuff.

      Hope there's some value for you in this mess. Please keep us posted.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I had my second dose of adenosine in A&E yesterday – the first was 5 years ago and like you I thought it was the worst feeling in the world! But yesterday it was fine, just somewhat unpleasant for 5 seconds or so. And best of all, it works, unlike all the other manouvers.

      The longest SVT I've had before adenosine was administered was four hours. But I have twice knowingly got on aeroplanes while in the grip of an SVT, just hoping for the best, and in each case sitting quietly in a very noisy plane the palpitations eventually stopped without me even being aware. That was years ago, though. I am now 73 and each episode is more difficult to handle – I get too lightheaded to stand up.

      The thought of a plane being diverted on my account, affecting so many people and costing so much, is not comforting to me, it's horrific. Frankly, I would rather die!

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Sue,

      I have had SVT for just over 3 years. I was 61 when it started. Just out of the blue. At the time, I had a really bad cold and cough, and still think that triggered it.

      I have not travelled since this started.

      Yesterday I had an appointment with my EP. I asked him about travel, and he told me no restrictions. Easy for him to say.......

      By the way, my type of SVT is Atrial Tachycardia.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Lots of empathy from me for you and your situation, and at least one significant commonality, other than SVT. I was a Naval aerospace physiologist in flight status for 20 years. I was a biology professor for 24 years. Hoping to encourage you, I more than survived those demanding professions as I battled SVT. My Navy did every imaginable test, and some that weren't, on me and allowed me to continue flying. These days they wouldn't have, until I had a successful ablation and went a year or so without SVT. Academic colleagues helped with emergency room visits over the years.

    I'm not surprised over the "big deal" component. Non SVT folks will not be able to easily understand our health challenge and what it can do to us, physically and emotionally. Expect that, be prepared to take appropriate legal action if necessary to protect your employment, survive, and advance.

    Please find health care people, physical and emotional, you respect and trust. If advised to pursue ablation, please strongly consider it. My reading of the literature tells me it may well offer you an excellent shot at a cure. My second ablation might have done so for me. Two years now with no SVT. Before ablation, I was experiencing SVT multiple times per month. My quality of life is now dramatically better.

    One more suggestion. Work back through this forum for quite a ways. You'll learn much. I'll trust you to do appropriate filtering, and I'm confident you'll learn much worth knowing. I do wish you well. Take care.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Greencharm,

    I am also a teacher and recently had two SVT episodes at work. In the first one I had been in SVT for about 40 minutes, HR 220. I tried coughing, squatting, cold water, nothing ever works. I made a quick phone call to the front office saying I didn't feel well, could a head teacher come and cover my class. I made my way to the front office and called an ambulance. Ambulance officers performed a 'modified valsalva' and it was successful. I have never responded to traditional stopping techniques before, I always need to go to emergency and get adenosine. Work sent me home for the day.

    The second time, I was off class preparing for an excursion. After 40 minutes at HR 240 I went to the front office, and asked them to call an ambulance. Ambulance officers performed the 'modified valsalva' and it worked again, but during it I went into VT for 5 seconds. They took me to hospital so the head teacher had to run the excursion.

    I have been strongly advised to consider ablations. Work has been advised to take it easy on me and if I feel it is getting too much, my GP will write me a medical certificate to have a break. I think I am going to give ablations a go. Being open with work has been good for me. Sometimes they forget because otherwise I look well! We are not liabilities because of our SVT. A strong management team in a school and cooperative staff will help you out.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Ibushelle thank you for your response - it's great to hear from another teacher. I am glad that your school has been supportive. I'm finding things difficult to handle at the moment. My diagnosis is quite recent and at the moment the Dr is going down the meds route. Unfortunately the beta blockers are making me ridiculously tired and I've been struggling at work . I work in a boarding school so there is a lot of extra evening and weekend duties and I find the svt happens mostly when I'm tired and sleep deprived. They've taken me off some things for a couple of weeks but I feel so desperate to get it all under control - I know ablation tends to be very successful but I'm rather terrified!

      I actually had an episode today but thankfully it stopped after about 15 mins - first time it happened during a lesson and I absolutely hated it. Its hard to know how to manage it.

      Going into VT must have been terrifying - I don't think that's ever happened to me. Did you pass out? That is out thing that worries me massively, particularly when I'm at school!

      I wish you all the best.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Greencharm,

      I was diagnosed with SVT 10 years ago, so for me it is not a new diagnosis, but I understand how nervous I was when first diagnosed. I was worried all the time. Being honest, the worrying did not help. Stress triggers my SVT, so I had to learn to relax. Just go with it. The more you worry, the more attacks you will have. I know this is hard advice to follow when newly diagnosed, but just try to relax. If you are working nights and weekends, I presume you would have some days off. Read a book, go for a walk, shop in the city, talk to a friend (not about SVT!), but look after you!

      I don't take any meds, so I can't help you on that one. Tell your Dr about how the meds are affecting you. Ask if there are other options.

      I'm also terrified of ablations, but I am facing the fear and will see a cardiologist soon. I saw one 8 years ago and got scared off because of the surgery risks. It is time to review the situation again.

      VT felt different. I did not pass out. Lucky ambulance officers helped me. I may never have even known if I wasn't hooked up to an ECG at the time.

      Your workmates will support and help you through this. Don't be desperate to control it. That's not going to get you anywhere. Ask for help if you need it. Teachers are good like that. We support one another.

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up