My SVT

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Over the last 3.5 years I have had many episodes of SVT lasting anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 hours. I am a keen footballer and this is when the attacks happen most (during training and games). After about 6 months of the initial episodes I saw a specialist and was not diagnosed with anything, however my episodes continued and got progressively worse, including side effects of light headedness, difficulties to breath and headaches. Standout episodes include playing football with my heart rate being very high, and certain episodes have continued up to an hour after football had finished. In April 2017 I saw another cardiologst who thought I may have a type of cardiac arrhythmia. I was given a 2 week monitor and managed to get a recording of multiple episodes which is what I was trying to get across the cardiologists. My results came back and showed my BPM was 240-270! I have tried numerous ‘natural’ manoeuvres to no success, and have also tried beta blockers (bisoprolol) - the side effects were bad (drowsy/tired) and I was still having episodes. I was then moved to verapamil tablets - there were no side effects however I still continue to have severe episodes on these tablets despite increased dosages. My cardiologist mentioned catheter ablation if my tablets do not work over a large period of time - I just thought I’d post on here as other SVT sufferers know what I am going through and to see if anyone has any advice about alternatives / if you have had catheter ablation and how it went as it seems I have a difficult decision to make about whether I have the ablation.

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  • Posted

    Hi Alex. Go for the ablation. The verapamil tablets can cause weight gain so be careful. I had my ablation in March last year and it was a success but you can still expect heart flutters for some time after but no further SVT episodes. All the best. Bob
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    • Posted

      Hi, Bob. Good to hear your experience. Did you have some other side effects from Verapamil? I take 120 mg twice a day. I get a lot of dizziness and headaches. I didn't really realise Verapamil might cause weight gain, it hasn't for me, but then again I get spells of nausea/listlessness all the time. Thanks!

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  • Posted

    Hi, Alex!

    Sad to hear what you're going through, but we're all in this together here smile

    I've had SVT for ten years (since the age of 10) and, like you, it was during football that I had my first few attacks. 

    In fact, the SVT attacks led me to quitting football, though I urge you not to do the same. You can certainly keep playing, as long as you get the green light from your doctor. In fact, I think that quitting football might have eventually worsened my SVT, as it was such a great form of exercise.

    I'm also on Verapamil - I do get SVT attacks, but they are much less severe than before. I take 120 mg twice a day. It helps a lot. But I also take Atenolol 12.5 mg twice a day. It slows down my heart rate, but doesn't effectively prevent SVT attacks. The Verapamil, apparently, doesn't slow down the heart rate, but it does prevent (loosely using the term "prevent"wink SVT attacks.

    But on this combination, I often feel sluggish. Being only 20, my common sense is starting to tell me that this isn't ideal. Ablation might be the best option, if it means that I get no more SVT attacks, AND I'll be free of lifelong medication and side effects.

    But the side effects don't bother me much.

    If you want to chat about (wondering about) catheter ablation, I'll be happy to. I'm in the process of weighing the pros and cons. I know how you feel!

    At this point in my life, I am undertaking some challenging university studies, and I simply don't have time for the ablation, or any potential complications. So, I am planning on having it done in January 2019. It gives me a year to prepare and explore alternative treatments.

    I use Magnesium to help reduce my attacks. You might want to look into that. I recommend Magnesium powder from Natural Vitality, taken twice a day in a cup of hot water, morning and evening.

    You might want to check out a website called "Heal SVT Naturally" - just Google it. I'm trying to see if living an ultra-healthy and mindful lifestyle will resolve my SVT and therefore eliminate the need for ablation. The website is a good starting point. www.healsvtnaturally.com

    Good luck!!!

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your lovely reply! 

      The last option for me is quitting football as I do it very often and I fear the SVT would ‘win’ by stopping me from doing what I love and hinder my exercise (and health) in later life.

      I also take 2 x 120mg of verapamil a day, however they haven’t seemed to ‘prevent’ any episodes. 

      As I am quite young it is to do with that consideration of do I want to be blighted by my SVT and lifetime medication - no. The ablation isn’t a ‘simple’ fix due to it having its (very rare) risks. Like you I am undertaking some hard studies, however I feel the whole thought of the ablation may affect my thinking. I do feel the ablation will ‘bring an end’ to both of our SVT episodes, however it is about the right time to undertake it and only after considering all other options. 

      Thank you also for the link to the website, I will certainly have a read and try to see if it helps me! 

      Feel free to ask me any questions also smile

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  • Posted

    Medications are an option but they tend to have side effects. I've done well on metoprolol (a beta blocker) and I tolerate it well, but it hasn't been working so well anymore. It seems pretty common for these arrythmias to get worse and medications to get less effective as you age. Ablation offers the only shot at a permanent cure and I think is well worth doing, for most arrythmias the risk is quite low and the success rate is very high. It was (for me at least) a rather unpleasant procedure, though others say it was no big deal, so it varies from person to person. But despite how unpleasant it was for me I'm still planning to go back in and try again because it's the best shot I have at living a normal life. 

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    • Posted

      Hi. Interesting to read about your experience. I myself am very worried about having an ablation, though doctors and many people have been trying to convince me that it's the best option for me. Indeed, so many people say the ablation is easy and virtually painless, but to me it still seems quite traumatic. Could you share a little bit of your experience? The negatives and positives? Why was it not successful the first time? I hope you have a successful second ablation! Thanks.

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    • Posted

      I wrote about my experience here: https://patient.info/forums/discuss/my-svt-ablation-experience-597683

      Though reflecting back on it I think your mental state is probably the biggest factor. I am an anxious person and was really scared of this procedure and the fear is what made it so bad. Physically, yes it hurt when they actually ablated, but it was really the fear that was the worst of it. It was psychologically really hard for me. I suspect the people who said it was a piece of cake are probably not as anxious and I and are able to just relax more and go with it. I think it also depends on the procedure where you are, it seems doctors really vary in how much sedation they give and sometimes will even knock you out completely. I was very lightly sedated and fully aware and mentally sharp the whole time, making it more challenging to stay calm. 

      As for why it didn't work, who knows. As your heart heals new circuits can form. In my case he had a hell of a time getting a tip in the right place and doing enough damage without damaging anything important. It's also possible a new focal point has formed, or I had more than one source. My guess though would be that since he couldn't fully ablate it, over time after healing a new path out formed and my same old focal point is now able to trigger arrhythmias again. 

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