Bad SVT's

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Hello. I hope someone can help me. I am a 63 year old woman who has been having spasmodic SVT's for 4 years. In 2013 I started monitoring them and I had 5 in various months and noticed they were all in the early hours of thursday morning. I had one in January this year also on thursday morning around 5am but didnt have one again until 8th September which was on a Monday morning. This was a strange as it happened in the shower bending over to pick up the soap. It was a good one. It only lasted an hour. They usually last anything from 1 hour to more than 3. This is very bad for a person of my age because I am exhausted after. This prompted me to go to my GP to ask her if there was anything she could give me that would bring my heart rate back to normal within half an hour. She prescribed me Flecainide. As if to test me I had an SVT the following morning at 5.05 pm. I felt it come on as I turned over in bed from my right side to my left side and put my arm under the pillow. I took the Flecainide and more than 4 hours later after doing the breathing, coughing, yawning, bearing down techniques my husband, who suffers with Parkinsons Disease, had to drive me to A & E. My heart rate was 189. The Flecainide had done nothing.

Can anyone advise what medication can bring the heartbeat down? In the past I had been given Bisoprol 5mg x 2 to be taken at the onset of an attack but I understand this is not 'a pill in the pocket' tablet. We go abroad for 6 weeks in the winter because its good for my husband but I am so afraid something will happen over there. I have had one in January for the past 2 years so kind of expect another then.

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  • Posted

    Hi. Sorry to hear you are having a bit of a rough time with SVT. I was on daily medication to prevent SVT but never came across a pill to take once it started. I did ask if there was one, but was told there wasn't (if things got bad I would just get the injection in A&E). 

    I'm not sure about the timing of your episodes, and triggers and symptoms can vary from person to person, but there do seem to be some common causes. In my own case, the most definite trigger was caffeine. I discovered that my SVT was triggered even by the tiny amount of caffeine in decaff tea. So I would recommend that you cut out ALL caffeine to see if that helps (no coffee, tea, decaff, lucozade, coca cola etc.).

    Another common one seems to be sudden movements like bending down to pick up something dropped. Try to do things like that slower.

    The other cause I noticed was SVT occurred like a delayed reaction to stress (e.g. family rows, bad news, life worries). I don't remember actually starting SVT when I was stressed, but rather it often seemed to come out of the blue the day afterwards when things had calmed down. The stress associated with caring for a seriously ill loved one might well contribute to SVT in your case, so it might help if you could let your family and friends know of this.

    Its not clear whether you're seeing a specialist about your SVT but, if not, you should make it a priority to get your GP or hospital to arrange this for you (in my experience GPs cannot be expected to fully understand the condition or the best treatment for it).

    I had SVT for about 20 years until I had an ablation about two years ago and have not had a single episode since. I would strongly recommend an ablation to you if your specialist thinks you suitable for one.

    I really hope things improve. Take Care xxx

    I

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    • Posted

      Thank you for answering my email.

      I saw a specialist nearly 4 years ago but I was not impressed. The problem is when I first had to be taken to hospital it was about 6 oclock on a sunday morning and my husband told them I had had a lot to drink so its now down on my records. I'm not denying that I like my wine but why would I go 9 months without an SVT if it was wine causing it. I have cut down a lot on wine now and I hadnt had anything before the last SVT yesterday but I did feel it happen when I turned over.

      Is there really nothing that works to stop it medicinally apart from hospital? As I get older nothing seems to work. I chose not to go on meds because of the infrequency of them but I admit to feeling a bit panicky now. 

      The doctor gave me Bisoprolol 5mg to take when an SVT starts but they dont seem to work. I spoke to my chemist and he doesnt think this is a 'pill in the pocket' medication.

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    • Posted

      Triggers and experiences can vary so much between individuals that  its hard to say whether alcohol causes SVT for you. Doctors do tend to be a bit over zealous when it comes to drink.. Personally, I have always taken more than recommended, but I could never find a direct connection with SVT  (I found SVT happened more often when I was on the wagon!). But it might be worth going off alcohol for a while to see if it helps in your particular case?

      I really think you should see a specialist about the SVT, and discuss daily preventative medication. If the medication does not alleviate it then it might be best to see if the specialist thinks you a suitable candidate for an ablation that might cure it once and for all.

      Take care

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  • Posted

    After reading this forum I am convinced its something I am causing myself when I turn over in bed. I have had two others when bending over. I am going to ask for another opinion though. I only have one cup of coffee a day and avoid Cola of any kind. I think the menopause hasnt helped including the extra weight I have put on on my upper abdomen since.
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  • Posted

    Hi have just read some of your account of your svt . I am 63 also and have had svt for approximately 4 years also now. It's not easy sometimes is it ? How are you now I take bisoporol 2x5 milligrams daily and am pretty stable. Everyone's different though ! It's taken me a while to adjust to the condition. I've had hundreds of episodes and the long ones are exhausting. I've been at the end of my tether a couple of times but not actually gone down to the hospital. I too got them a lot in the night. I used to think they were alcohol related. I've stopped drinking caffeine altogether and just have decaf . I think that has helped my condition. I think anxiety is not good . I try not to let this condition stop me doing the things I enjoy though. If it comes on I deal with it as and when. I go cycling and go to the gym. My GP and the heart team have all told me my condition is not life threatening. Hope this has helped. 
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  • Posted

    Hi - your particular condition sounds very similar to mine.  Starting 75% of the time actually in bed between 3 to 5 am and waking with the sound of my heart thumping on the mattress.  I take bisopropol fumarate tablets of 1 per day and am also unsure whether they have any effect as although the episodes are occurring less frequently, when they do now occur they are for a longer duration (worst one has been for 6 hours).  Normally start at 165 to 170 bpm then settle down to 140 to 150 bpm for some time.  Recently seen my doctor who has updated his advice to me to  take one extra bisopropol mmediately an episode starts and then one 15 mins later.  So to answer your query -  he obviously thinks that a short sharp burst of bisopropol does work.  (P.S. I was originally prescribed atenolol but found that for me this  produced sleepiness symptoms, so was switched to bisopropol.)  
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    • Posted

      Thank you. Your email has been useful to me. The last SVT I had I didnt take Bisopropol. My doctor had given me Flecanaide which didnt help at all.I ended up in hospital. I have been waiting to see a consultant but not heard yet.

      I don't want to take tablets all the time because twice I have gone 9 months without one. I am beginning to think Bisopropol may help at the time of the attack and I will definitely try your doctors advice. I usually take 2 immediately an attack happens but maybe I will do that then one 15 minutes later.

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