Hi I am a 36 year old female and was diagnosed with svt ...

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Hi I am a 36 year old female and was diagnosed with svt a few months ago. Since my early twenties I have suffered with panic attacks and tachycardia of which the cardiologist feels may well have been symptoms of svt. I have had two major attacks in the last three years, the first was on the motorway where I pulled over and within half an hour it had resolved. When I got home I saw the Gp who sent me to the hospital for 24 hour ECG, but my heart was well behaved during the test! I had no idea what was happening to me but knew it wasn't normal and must be some kind of arrythmia.

For the next few years I had minor attacks lasting a few seconds to a minute. It always seems to happen when i'm bending forward I could have a few attacks a day then nothing for a couple of weeks. I am a district nurse and my job involves bending over patients to do dressings etc and on many occassions my heart would miss a beat and then race really fast, my natural reaction was to cough and bang my chest hard and luckily each time it went away without me having to leave the job in hand.

A few months ago I was at home and bent down to pick something up off the floor and BAM! off we went again but this time it did not stop I felt extremely anxious as my chest was moving so fast with the force and rate of my heart, I felt short of breath and dizzy. My partner drove me to A&E after about twenty minutes, I was then rushed into resus and they gave me Adenosine after failed attempts to bring it back to normal rythmn by the breathing exercises. It was all very frightening. My heart rate was 220 bpm.

I was referred to a cardiologist but paid to see privately as I was anxious and worried and unable to work. The cardiologist explained that this defect is an abnormality from birth and the heart is often healthy. The missed beats or heavy beats are called ectopic beats and everyone has them but not everyone notices them and in people with this condition it can trigger svt. He did me a fab diagram of exactly what happens during an attack if anyone is interested in seeing I can reproduce. He said nobody has died from svt and it won't damage your heart unless you had an attack that lasted for weeks continuously without seeking help and I can't imagine anyone doing that! However it is extremely unpleasant and although these attacks often stop by themselves you should go to A&E if you feel very anxious and the symptoms are severe.

He started me on atenolol which slows the heart rate and also to calm me down as he said I was so stressed my heart was racing without having an attack. He told me the main triggers for svt are caffeine and stress. (I cut out caffeine after my first attack and it did reduce the number of attacks I had). He has referred me for ablation but I think it's going to be a while as it's 4 months and i've not even had a consultation.

When I started taking atenolol I felt wonderful, for the first time in ages I wasn't aware of my hearbeat. However 4 months on and I feel generally unwell, dizzy and depressed. Gp has suggested trying Verapamil which I started today so I'll have to see if I feel any better on these. Since starting the medication I've had 4 minor attacks, each time I have held my nose, closed my mouth and blown down my nose really hard which is an exercise the consultant recommended. It has worked every time and each one only lasted a few seconds.

My main worry was what if I went somewhere deserted ie: out walking and three miles from the car and I had an attack. The consultant said if that was to happen I would walk back to the car, nothing bad would happen to me however unpleasant it felt, and drive to A&E if it had still not resolved. Simple as that.

This site has helped me loads in understanding what is happening to me. I wish everyone luck and courage.

Saj

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I am so glad I found this website!

    It has answered all types of questions for me and so I thank you all for taking the time to place your comments. You have made a panicky woman less on the edge!

    I am 40 and have recently been diagnoed with SVT but this has yet to be confirmed by a consultant which I am due to see soon for an ultrasound of my heart (echo). I had my first real attack on Boxing Day morning.Yes what a Christmas. I woke with the familiar palpitations and appear to have had a mild attack compared to some of you. My heart rate went to 190 but as you will all appreciate it was still very scary. I was taken into A&E after the usual attempts to bring my heart rate back to normal, blowing into a syringe and the massaging of artery in neck. It eventually came down as I got to hospital when the ambulance went over a speed ramp. Can you believe it!I have suffered from palpitations for many years but was always told it was quite normal and nothing to worry about. Having had my first real attack I now know that I have probably always suffered with this condition for years to some degree.

    It's hard to describe to those who don't suffer from this the fear it instills in you when it happens but we all know don't we and although it's not nice to know others suffer, it's good to know you are not alone.

    Couple of things I have learnt since. Try keeping a bottle of really cold water in fridge and drink when you have an attack. Its worked a couple of times for me. I think it is the shock of the coldness entering your body. Also I was told only yesterday that someone putting ice cubes down your back can have the same effect. Not had to try this yet but thought worth mentioning.

    By the way I have been told that attacks are not stressed related but I am not so sure. We had a bad car accident outside are very house on Christmas day at 5am. I told you it was a brilliant Christmas!I do wonder if it was the shock of that happening.Any views on this would be welcome

    Everyone take care out there and live your life to the full as much as you can!

    Sandra x

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  • Posted

    Hi Sandra

    the cardiologist who I saw said stress and svt are related as when you are stressed your heart throws off more ectopic beats which can cause an attack of svt(see my experience below yours). I have found that to be true as each major attack I have had has been preceded by very stressful situations. I have also found that when I'm wound up and tense I do get more ectopic beats but I can only comment on my personal experience it may not be the same for everybody. What I am learning to do is recognising when I'm stressed and doing relaxation techniques which can help in some situations. Good luck to you and stay strong x

    Saj

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  • Posted

    Hi Saj,

    Thanks for the reply to my comments which I found really useful and quite comforting.

    I was hoping it could be down to stress that I had my attack on Boxing Day. The accident outside our house was not very pleasant and prior to that I had the added stress of a double storey extension being built and living in a building site for three months. Also add to that three children under sixteen and that explains the stress levels!

    If the attack has taught me anythng it is to chill more and Im even considering having acupuncture. I'll try anything to prevent a further attack!

    I have an appointment to see a cardiologist on the 15th March (considering I was classed as urgent it seems a long wait to me). Like you I am anxious to be seen sooner rather than later and would be interested in knowing how much you paid to see a cardiologist privately. If this is too personal a question then I apologise and hope I have not offended you by asking.

    Thank you once again and I hope you get things sorted very soon.

    Yours gratefully

    Sandra

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  • Posted

    Hi Sandra

    I paid £100 and was seen within a week, hope this helps x

    Saj

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  • Posted

    Hi Saj,

    Wow i could've written your experience! You sound exactly like me!! I have just recently been diagnosed with SVT after my docs misdiagnosed me for many years. I was diagnosed whem i had a prolonged attack for which i had to go to A&E for. there they gave 3 shots of adenosine and converted me back to normal sinus rhythm. Like you i decided to go privately to see a cardiologist who said more or less what yours said (he also drew me a fab diagram!) I've been referred to a ep but have heard nothing yet. I am not on any meds at the moment but want to hopefully start some beta blockers soon. I also get the ectopic beats but I think i never had them until i was diagnosed with svt. Since being diagnosed i have stopped working because i am too afraid . I would love to chat to you about the SVT and ectopics because i feel our symptoms are 100% the same. My email is: **** please email me or anyone else who has similar symptoms and would like to chat! sad

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  • Posted

    Hi Saj,

    Wow i could've written your experience! You sound exactly like me!! I have just recently been diagnosed with SVT after my docs misdiagnosed me for many years. I was diagnosed whem i had a prolonged attack for which i had to go to A&E for. there they gave 3 shots of adenosine and converted me back to normal sinus rhythm. Like you i decided to go privately to see a cardiologist who said more or less what yours said (he also drew me a fab diagram!) I've been referred to a ep but have heard nothing yet. I am not on any meds at the moment but want to hopefully start some beta blockers soon. I also get the ectopic beats but I think i never had them until i was diagnosed with svt. Since being diagnosed i have stopped working because i am too afraid . I would love to chat to you about the SVT and ectopics because i feel our symptoms are 100% the same. (Sorry but as is our policy, the email address has been removed but you can respond directly by clicking on 'Respond to this comment' at the bottom of this posting) please email me or anyone else who has similar symptoms and would like to chat!

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  • Posted

    I have had svt for 15yrs. I'm 32 now.I have two children. I think i have tried most of the medication out for svt but have been happily on verapamil for the last seven years (highest dose). The only thing i can say against it is that it makes you feel very tired.
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