How long have you Had SVT?, Have triggers, duration, frequency changed over time?

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Hi Everyone,

I have been suffering from what my cardiologist says is most likely sporadic SVT episodes for 10+ years now. None of my episodes have been captured via ECG but i have had all of the tests done. My episodes seem to be triggered by exercise (even if only moderate) while i am depleted (hungry or tired), but this isnt always the case. They have lasted from 10 minutes to 1hr + .

This condition gives me alot of anxiety with my job and recreational activities. I work in remote locations often, i often enjoy hiking and travelling as a hobby. My fear is always that i will get an attack at the worst time like when i am hiking with a big group of people, thoughts like 'will i be stuck at the top of a mountain waiting for an episode to stop?' , 'Am i going to have a make a big scene when explaining what is happening to me if it doesnt stop right away?', its probably not healthy to keep hiking through it so 'are they going to have to call a rescue crew in to get my out?' , 'is my boss going to want to send me out if he knows i have this condition and might have an attack?' , 'are people going to want to hike/travel with me?', 'am i going to have to change careers?' This is of course on top of the fact that they are physically very annoying and debilitating.

Luckily i can go long stretches of times right now with out these episodes, and try to follow my rules for avoiding 'triggers' which helps to control these anxious worries/thoughts, but what can i expect for the future? For those who have had this for a long time have they gotten more frequent?, have triggers stayed the same? Are techniques to terminate episodes still effective for you? Have the durations increased?

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  • Posted

    OMG I feel like i could have written this. I too am an active outdoor enthusiast often in the middle of the forest on the weekends. I have had episodes while mtn biking and its scary. My episodes usually last for 3-5 hours with my hr at 130-150 if lying down. My longest episode was 12 hours. Calcium channel blockers work for me to bring it down but I've been to the ER several times to get it back down.

    One thing I've noticed is mine occur when I'm tired dehydrated and electrolyte deficient. It may help you to consume electrolytes while exercising (even moderate and for short durations). Amazon sells Dr. Prices electrolyte single serving pouches that i have found helped me. After i worked out strenuously i had a bad episode and when i got to the ER my sodium was 127 (normal is between 135-145) -and i was at 127 after drinking 2 gatorades. I am going back to the electrophysiologist and am going to pursue an ablation because i have a very active life style and i hate wondering if I'm gonna have an episode when I'm out doing the things I love. Good luck and let me know what works.

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience and tips, it feels so good to know i'm not the only one out there, i cant find any other forums discussing this. Its funny that you mentioned electrolytes because i did have low electrolytes during a blood test in the ER several years ago. I do also have periods where i experience PACS/PVCS and have been taking mg supplements the last couple years to help with them ( i feel it works). I will look into the pouches too.

      What did you do when you had your episode while mountain biking? Have you ever fainted? have your episodes gotten worse over the years?

      It sounds like ablation is the way to go , i cant see my self ever wanting to be on meds long term. What tests does the electrophysiologist do to determine if you are a canditate?

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    • Posted

      Jammy- It is comforting to have this forum for sure. Unfortunately for me a vagal technique has never worked for me. When i have gotten them mtn biking i just have to slowly make my way out of the woods and rest. Only once while biking was I able to get it to flip back and i just bent over and jumped around to try and make it flip and something ended up working. But that was once out of many episodes. My episodes tend to only go away if I lie down and rest. And like i said they last a long time. Mine have gotten worse with age (I'm only 37). the cardiologist will do an Echo, EKG and you'll have to wear a halter monitor. My tests have shown that my heart is perfectly healthy but i have AVnRT - just a form of SVT. I have appointments with a few electrophysiologists this month and I'll choose the one i like and proceed with ablation. I have many friends who are doctors and surgeons and they all have told me to get the ablation as the risks are low and the cure rate is high. I hope this helps:)

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    • Posted

      sorry i forgot to mention I was recently prescribed calcium channel blockers (ditalzem-i dont remember how to spell it) and they have worked immediately when i had a recent episode (bending over to get a christmas gift)! I guess its what they gave me at the ER too but just in smaller doses.

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  • Posted

    I don't tend to comment on many posts but your SVT episodes sound very similiar to mine. I to have been dealing with these for 10+ years. My primary doctor always chalked them up to be "anxiety and panic attacks" but I knew that wasn't it. I finally switched doctors and now go to one of the best cardiologists in the city. My triggers are also caused by physical activity or bending over (i know, weird) and I can tell they come on more frequent if I'm tired or lacking fluids. I also can tell a huge difference if I've put on some weight. If you ever get one really bad, cough big a couple times. It's suppose to reset your rhythm. Not sure if its because I'm getting older or that I've gained about an extra 30 lbs but mine have definitely gotten more frequent this past year. I wish you the best!

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    • Posted

      Your episodes do sound really similar to mine, being dehydrated is another big trigger for me too. How long do your episodes last typically?, and have you ever not been able to stop them with your techniques?

      I've read a couple articles suggesting that they tend to get worse with age which is a really depressing thought. I also read another one saying they wax and wane with time but overall say the same so i'm not sure. I would say mine have improved slightly only because ive learnt more about my triggers (e.g. not working out in a depleted state) but i might just be fighting a losing battle.

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