Just Diagnosed with an SVT (250bpm)

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  I have just recently been confirmed diagnosed with an SVT in the past 2 weeks. I had been having a couple of really bad "episodes" of something in the past 6 months, a problem thats been with me, forever..

At Xmas while shopping for presents I came over all week shaky, heart pounding, thinking, yip this is it, I am finished. I texted my wife to tell her I loved her and the kids and that I am really unwell and might pass out. My heart was going nuts... Luckily I managed not to pass out. By the time the ambulance arrive my obs were all normal, while I felt absolutely bashed to pieces. They reckoned panic attack, I thought, yeah, you are right, haven't had it this bad since my late teens early twenties.

I had bloods done, all was normal, but for the next 3 weeks I had zero energy, I picked up a virus which compunded my misery....

When I finally ventured back to work in the New Year, I had another episode, around February time, much more short lived, while standing waiting on the train, my samsung galaxy pusle reader said 212bpm, thats when I finally clicked something isnt right.

Finally seen my doctor, who referred me to cardiologist, who put me on a stress test 2 weeks ago. They worked my to Stage 4 on the Bruce Protocol, my HR was 171 and fine...I asked to stop because I knew this thing would surely kick in. As per usual in recovery after exercise boom it hit 250bpm on the ECG... full blown SVT... I lay on the bed, the doctor came in and assured me all will be fine, its just a "little SVT"... I lay on the bed and tried to relax and as I recovered from the exertion boom the SVT stopped in an instant, it maybe lasted a total of 5/10 minutes at 250bpm...

The rest of the day was a right off with mini episodes of what seemed like SVT and weakness...they gave me 10mg propanolol and said to use that when needed.. I took a propranolol and it calmed me that evening, but I could not sleep... so I did not take anymore, I eventually slept well a few days later.

They advised me to come off caffeine, so I have done that, but all last week I had been having mini SVT attacks everyday, sometimes twice or 3 times a day, all associated with walking on my usual commute route and up the stairs into work.... one was bad enough for me to take another propanolol...

though I am not liking the side effect of sleeplessness...so i am not taking anymore, none in 7 days now...

Seen my cardiologist on friday he suggested trying 1.25mg of Nebivolol daily, and he is going to refer me to an EP about ablation in the meantime, due to the severity and frequency of my episodes...

Talk about alot to take.....


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  • Posted

    Hi Shay. Sorry you are having this trouble.

    On the positive side, you do have an accurate diagnosis (which can take several years and many A&E visits in some cases) and its soounds like you've got the right medical people involved.

    SVT symptoms and triggers can vary quite a bit from person to person. I have no medical qualifications at all, but the fairly sudden onset of what seem like frequent episodes or mini-episodes might indicate that there is a trigger that you are coming across as often. Can you associate anything with the SVT episodes? 

    Caffeine became a certain trigger for my SVT. Avoiding it by drinking decaff made a big difference initially, but over time the SVT came back and I found that even the tiny amount in decaff was a trigger for me. Other common triggers are sudden bending/gravity movements (like picking up something you've dropped) and mental or emotional stress. Some SVT folk found that alcohol and smoking were triggers (but definitely, and thankfully, not so in my case).

    For many people SVT can be very manageable with the right meds and avoidance techniques.

    It can be harder to control as time goes on though, so having an ablation is definitely something to consider if the Cardio folk deem you suitable. 

    I had an ablation five years ago and it cured it completely. 

    Are you open to the idea of having an ablation?

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    • Posted

      Hi Ciaran,

       Thanks.  I believe this has always been an issue, I have had funny episodes for years, but never enough for me to bother about it until this past year culminating in then Xmas episode. 

      Its great to get a diagnosis, but now its all to easy to trigger and SVT episode. Any moderate physical activity can now trigger it.

      I am open to having an ablation, an old friend had it 3 years ago, seems to have cured him, much like yourself. 

      At 41, and quite fit, I don't fancy beta blockers for the rest of my life, especially since my HR is sometimes 50-55 at rest. 

      I am slightly concerned that I haven't got an exact diagnosis, as my  Heart Rate can sometimes appear to fluctuate greatly, but may be that is still SVT. stopping and starting.. I get funny readings when walking home sometimes, like 1 reading will say 112 and the next will say 56 and then back again... maybe its the actual device confusing things, I dunno... that worries me more than the actual SVT. 

      My triggers seem to be exercise, combined with stress and illness. It seems to have been a couple of things making it kick off, but now it seems a 10/15 minute walk is enough.

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    • Posted

      Shay, it sounds like you are keeping close tabs on things like your heart rate. I know its quite common for people to wear those devices while exercising nowadays. I've never done so, but I would be a little worried that for me it might have become a bit of an obsession and actually increased my anxiety (something very common among SVT folk for obvious reasons). 

      Almost everyone I've come across with SVT had tests done that demonstrated they had physically healthy hearts (I'm really struggling to think of an exception, but I can't remember one). That includes a wide range of people, from old slobs like me to young and fit teenagers. 

      I have no idea what my heart rate is, or blood pressure, resting or exercising. Even since the ablation cured SVT I get a lot of heart jitters and flutters and the occasional thump, probably almost every day. But I ignore them, and don't even have to try to, because I don't care anymore since I know it wont lead to an SVT episode.

      SVT folk are so anxious about the possibility of episodes that they are usually extremely sensitive to even very small changes in heart patterns that non-SVT folk wouldn't even notice (which is probably me nowadays). Only a cardio specialist can confirm it, but what you've described might sometimes just be the result of being caught in the normal SVT/Anxiety loop. Might be no harm to discuss this with your GP or Cardio when you see them next. 


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    • Posted

      I know what you mean about dreading living the rest of your life on betablockers and stuff like that.

      The last fewe years before I had the ablation I decided to stop taking SVT preventative meds altogether. That was because as time went on the meds (or dosage) that worked best were the ones that made me feel so ill most of the time that occasional SVT seemed a saner option.

      Eventually, the SVT became so frequent and nasty that I had no choice but to have an ablation.

      I only wish I had it years earlier, so I wouldn't have been so anxious and missed out on stuff with my kids...

      Please do think about having an ablation. I'm sure your friend said, like mine, the procedure was no big deal..

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    • Posted

      Hi Ciaran,

        Thanks again for all the info. Yeah close tabs on the heart rate, ever since Xmas really. And yeah, you are right the anxiety loop does kick in... I am trying to get a handle on it, because when you get that nasty SVT you kinda lose control.. so I am trying to program my mind to keep calm.

      Its interesting you say you are experiencing jitters, post Ablation, I suppose those jitters can no longer trigger your SVT anymore as its cured.... I am guessing it was AVNRT ? and they ablated the slow pathway.

      You say you were getting them very frequently, what were your triggers ? was just caffeine and stress? did they come on you at rest, or only when walking ?   did you ever get Adenosine or electric shock ?

      My episdoes have all converted back on there own no matter how bad I feel. so far...

      I am sitting contemplating whether to start this 1.25mg does of Nebivolol that I have been prescribed... I am not sure whether I want to even try it...At the moment I am still thinking of just ploughing on.


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    • Posted

      Hi again Shay. I guess the heart jitters, flutters and occasional thumps are just what 'normal' people get sometimes, and that I only notice them because my brain is still tuned in to some emergency frequency because of the 20 years I had SVT smile.

      I've pick up a few other conditions along the way so seem to be forever getting tests done that say my cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rhythm etc. are fine. So I don't worry about them. 

      I don't actually know what precise kind of SVT I had because I didn't want to know more details I could fret about (anxiety loop again). They just burnt away some tissue near (or on?) the heart that was confusing my natural pacemaker signals into going in the wrong direction (or something like that!). 

      My own triggers were the ones I mentioned, but most often the SVT would ambush out of the blue for no reason I could work out when I was just relaxing. The worst trigger at the end was when I was having chemo for blood cancer; the chemo and/or the IV steroids drove my heart so wild the cancer people refused to continue unless the heart people made it safer. I had an ablation within a day of that crux and haven't looked back since smile

      I did have Adenosine maybe half a dozen times over the years and it always worked within a few minutes (sometimes seconds I think). But loads of times the SVT would disappear just before getting into A&E. That's pretty common.. Maybe something to do with 'white coat fever', or maybe SVT just running out of steam anyway. I never had an electric shock as far I can remember, I didn't know they did that for SVT?

      Can't give any advice on your meds I'm afraid. But I will go on, and on, and on, about the merits of ablation as long as anyone will listen to me.....

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    • Posted


       I decided to cycle to the train station again today ~ 4miles...

       When I got off the bike SVT kicked in.. I knew what it was, hr topped out at 161bpm... I sat this one out calmly with no real symptoms...which delighted me.. I didn't panic, I didn't take any drugs which was good and it still calmed down.

      Basically everytime I do any exercise now I am gonna get one....but hey such is life..the ablation maybe the only thing for me now!


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    • Posted

      Ablation is a very low risk and very high success rate procedure Shay. Whatever happens its extremely unlikely it would leave you any worse off than you are now.

      Good luck with whatever you decide smile

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