SVT....Can't catch it

Posted , 5 users are following.

hey everyone, firstly i would like to say that seeing others with/ talking about this as well is extremely comforting. just reading all the comments/posts helps.

i was first diagnosed with svt when i was 11, after playing hockey for the first time in a couple months. i remember that the doctors could never catch me having an episode on the ECG or halter monitors so i was never properly diagnosed for treatment. throughout high school and college i dont remember having them or having them very mildly and infrequently so ill leave that.

fast forward to this month ( im 23 now) and low and behold they are back. i had an episode 3 weeks ago, with a major anxiety/panic attack that came along with it. i was taken to the hospital but again my heart was back to normal before the ECG could pick it up. does anyone else get the anxiety attack with their SVT episodes? this has made things much more difficult for me as the anxiety about having the episodes lasts for days/weeks afterwards. i have been to a doctor today and he prescribed me ativan for when im feeling the anxiety coming on. also starting the process of getting into a cardiologist again since i havent seen one since my very first attack.

i also had an episode 3 days ago from nothing more than me filling a water bottle up at the sink, which promted the visit to the doctor today. i had a coffee in the morning and went to work for the day and it was evening at the time if the episode. i see most people posting about triggers on here, so i was wondering what you guys thought about that?

heres to hoping i can get it diagnosed sonner rather than later, doc said the waiting list here in alberta can be 3-4 weeks just for a call back 

thanks in advance for any replies, hearing other peoples opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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11 Replies

  • Posted


    First and foremost, stop worrying as this is not a major concern and you will soon be without these episodes.

    I too had SVT undiagnosed for almost 15+ years. Episodes happened while I was tying a shoe lace, playing badminton, climbing steps, when emotionally exciteed, walking, running, while anxious and so on. similar to your case, it would not show up when I am in a hospital. Neither halter monitor test could find it out.

    It seems from the symptoms that you have the typical SVT which is normally curable totally. What is important is to get an ECG taken when you have an episode. I was lucky to one when in was consulting a cardiologist. While explaining the history, I got anxious and emotional which triggered an attack. Doctor immediately took an EGC and the thief was caught. It was three months back, and last week I had my RF ablation done quite successfully. Feeling much relieved and confident now.

    May be a treadmill test can trigger an SVT for you? I guess it is self reverting when you have an episode?

    I wish you get diagnosed soon and cure it. Believe me, you will be back to your hockey days..

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    • Posted

      hey daashin, 

      thanks for the reply, my epsiodes that have been happening are totally random (filling a water bottle at the sink) and i have been scared to go to the gym since they started up again to try a treadmill out. 

      and yes, with vagel maneuvers i have been able to revert them. still waiting on the cardiology office to call me back to get an appt for a monitor. that is something i will try when i get a monitor hooked up.

      i have also stopped drinking coffee since my last episode. the last cup i had was the day of my last far. been feeling very bogged down and tired in the day now. do you/did you drink coffee at all when you have episodes? i was wondering if that affected you at all. the doctor said i should be okay


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  • Posted

    Hi Spencer. I have little I can add to what Daashin has already said except to advise caution with stuff like Ativan. Benzodiazepines can be very addictive (I was there).

    SVT will cause a huge amount of anxiety, especially when you are not yet used to the condition. I might be wrong, but I doubt Ativan will do much to prevent SVT. 

    What I would be more worried about is withdrawal symptoms from Ativan use causing nervous anxiety that makes an SVT episode (sometimes delayed) more likely for some people.

    I hope you get a solid diagnosis and treatment soon, in the meantime I would eliminate common triggers like caffeine and avoid mental/emotional stress as much as possible.

    Try to remember that an SVT episode is a temporary thing that WILL NOT cause a heart attack. SVT is usually very easily brought under control with medication after a solid diagnosis, and in many cases can be permanently cured with an ablation.

    Good luck!

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    • Posted

      thanks ciaran,

      i too am very scared from what i have heard to get onto benzos. i havent even filled my script from the doctor yet. 

      and yes, exactly what i was saying to daashin. i have stopped all coffee as of my last episode and have been okay since. i was also taking a pre workout up until these new epiosdes started about 3 weeks ago which will defenatly have to stop as well haha.

      thank you, i hope whenever the cardiologist calls me we can get a monitor hooked up and get a solid diagnosis on this. what are your thoughts on provoking it when i have a monitor? (coffee, treadmill, pre workout etc.)

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    • Posted

      p.s. I was so sensitive to caffeine that even 'decaffeinated' tea and coffee triggered SVT. I'm sure you lready know that caffeine is also added to stuff like soft drinks and Lucozade etc. Since the ablation I can drink tea and coffee without worry. Good luck

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    • Posted

      Hi there!!

      I was 24 when I was diagnosed with SVT after suffering for 10yrs. I saw over 12 doctors during that time, got diagnosed with anything and everything a regular GP could think off and finally diagnosed myself via Google (thanks google). I had a very severe case and eventually when I saw a cardiologist he ado said mine was uncommon for a young person. My heart rate would average about 230bpm, I would get so weak, dizzy, pain in shoulders and neck and my episodes were mostly daily with the longest episode lasting 3 days!!! Eventually when I googled it, advice was to go immediately to emergency! Which is what I did and I was a regular there 4-5times a week. Basically every time it lasted more than an hour. I'm from Australia and were quite lucky here that we have public hospitals where you don't hve to worry about $$ before ou go and can simply concentrate on your health. I do hope that's not stopping you because next time you get own, straight for ER!! As soon as you tell them it's your heart and they measure it, you will go thru without having to wait hours because, frankly, it's your heart!!!! Also mine used to come about doing nothing major! Laying in bed, laughing, coughing, bending forward was a major one....etc! I had the surgery 6yra ago and it's been the best thing. I wouldn't get hooked on meds if possible and if they're rare, try and sit alone in a quiet room and breathe rather than panic. Sometimes they can go away that way but the most important thing is to catch it which you can only do my going to ER or wearing a heart monitor. I wore one on about 5-6 different occasions and never caught it which p*ssed me off even more!

      Good luck smile

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  • Posted

    Hi there,

    I had never had a problem until last february when I had 2 attacks. They were able to catch it on the ecg. So I started the beta blockers but could not stand them. So I decided to have an ablation. That was about a month ago. It was unsuccessfull. I will be seeing specialistin Aug to discuss. He feels even though I had stopped the beta blocker as told 5 days prior to procedure, I was also taking a benzo due to anxiety, and he feels that is why it was unsuccessfull. Not sure at this point whether he could not get my heartrate up enough, or he did get it up but was not able to locate the curcuit. I was told I had AVNRT.

    If ablation is offered to you....take it. I would do it in a minute if he wants to redo. Just have to get off the benzos slowly prior to.

    By the way I live in Ontario. I have heard so many wonderful successfull procedures. Imagine not haveing to worry about it wver again.

    Best of luck to you

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    • Posted

      hey lolasmom,

      im happy that they caught it for you. couple questions for ya. when they did catch it... did they offer beta blockers and ablation to you as an option? or did they try and start you off with the beta before before offering ablation? from what ive heard ablation is the more permenant fix so hopefully the doctor will ofer that to me. i can only imagine at this point haha.

      as for the benzos, i havent even started them yet and am on the fence. i think i can live with the anxiety as im scared i would become somehwhat dependant. 

      thanks again for the reply, im orignally from ontario (burlington) too, and hope to be back before to long.

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    • Posted


      I live in Oshawa...not to far away. When I went to the cardiologist, he wanted me to see the specialist but suggested the beta blocker right away.

      The anxiety was not because of the tachycardis though it did cause anxiety at the time. The beta blocker wasl for the anxiety and my family doctor said it would be okay with the ablation. Little did he know.

      Contact me any time.

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  • Posted

    You're receiving solid advice from lots of folks, Spencer.  I'll offer my "advice" as "thoughts".


    I, too, would minimize/avoid the benzo approach.  They may offer some  temporary relief, but aren't likely to be part of a cure.  Their addictive side should always be remembered.

    How about cognitive therapy for your understandable anxiety?  A few years back, I was consistently seeing strong research support for it as the most promising approach.

    I do use a beta blocker, and it seems to help.  It also keeps my otherwise borderline high blood pressure beautifully controlled.  Still, and in my fantasy world, I'd love to throw the stuff into the ocean.  It's side effects are obnoxious but, for me, very tolerable.

    You could look forever and maybe not find all of your SVT triggers.  Mine almost certainly include randomness.

    Please read about the breathing techniques folks are using to stop their SVTs.  They've kept me out of emergency rooms for the last two years.

    If your cardiologist eventually recommends ablation, I strongly suggest you strongly consider it.  It's, overall, a low-risk procedure with an impressively high success rate.

    My recommendation, by the way, comes after my 6-hour, unsuccessful ablation experience.  I may try a repeat, if the breathing approach becomes less successful.  "Cure" is an extremely appealing concept.

    I wish the best for you and am confident that better times are coming for you.  Take care.      

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