SVT Help

Posted , 11 users are following.

Hey everyone. 

Just looking for a bit of guidance or advice from anyone who has been through something similar. 

When I was a teenager (maybe 14-15 although I do remember a handful of times it happened when I was younger) I started getting regular episodes where I would feel my heart "flop" then straight away head into a string of really fast beats in the high 100's-low 200's. This would last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours accompanied by a pounding sensation in my neck, lightheadedness and a general feeling of discomfort. These episodes were completely random. Sometimes I would be exercising and it would happen, and other times I would be rolling over in bed. Bending over can also do it as can getting really excited. 10 years on and this still happens once a fortnight. 

In addition to this I also started getting some days where I would get extra heart beats every couple of beats. This would often leave me feeling nauseous and dizzy.  This can still happen maybe once a month or so. But again it's totally random. 

For years everyone kept on putting it down to anxiety or panic attacks. Even my own mum was telling me I had to let it go and get over it. Being someone that experiences panic attacks and general anxiety while flying I can safely say that the sensation I get between the two is very different. 

I ended up seeing a cardiologist at 16 and he said it sounded like SVT but without being able to see it on the 24 hour holter monitor (in which I had no episodes) he could just offer a guess. He gave me a few tricks like the val salva manouver and this has helped me immensely when the episodes come on. There has only been one time it didn't work in which the episode lasted more than half an hour and I started to feel very unwell. And ambulance was called but as we live quite far away it took over 25 minutes and by the time they got there it had thankfully resolved. 

Throughout the years I've just handled the episodes when they come. I saw another cardiologist last year after a few episodes of waking up with a racing heart and feeling nauseous, then passing out. He did another 24 hour holter but again I episodes happened. He recommended staying off caffeine and that has seemed to help with the extra heart beats I tend to get. The fainting episodes have also resolved. Although the episodes remain just as frequent. 

I've just recently been referred to another cardiologist as the extra beats have just started occurring more frequently and are impacting my day to day life. The episodes themselves remain the same. The gp said medication won't help the extra beats however an ablation will as it will likely solve the root of the problem with the added benefit of getting rid of the episodes that affect me fortnightly.  I'm excited to see if he has a solution as it's really getting me down. Ive tried explaining what happens to my friends but they just say I'm just imagining the problem which makes me feel terrible. I guess my questions are;  

1. Does this sound like SVT? Has anyone else had trouble with getting people to believe them? 

2. Is there anything I can do to make sure that they capture an episode (ie. some sort of device I can keep on me) or is it worthwhile letting the episode continue and driving to the hospital so they can record it? Is there any benefit in this? 

3. Has anyone had an ablation in which it solves their extra heart beats?


4. What is it like to have an ablation?

5. Is there any alternative to stopping the persistent extra beats? 

Sorry for all the questions. I'm just really struggling and feel like I need to get this sorted. 

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17 Replies

  • Posted

    Yes, this definately sounds like SVT.  I recently saw an electrophysiologist and had an EKG. He told me I was having a lot of missed beats and that was probably causing my SVT.  As young as you are, I would definately recomment an ablation so that you can get on with your life.  Don't listen to the "naysayers".  I have had SVT for many years and it is not easy to live with. No one can truly understand unless they experience it. 


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  • Posted

    Emily, I purchased a device through was recommended by someone here...I believe it's called 'Kardia' can have it with you at all times, you download the App for it, and when you feel something happening with your heart, you hold onto the device and it records it, and then tells you what you're experiencing..I found it very captured many of my episodes. I've never had an ablation...I'm on a beta blocker.


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  • Posted

    1- Yes sounds like SVT, believe me since my teenage years, many doctors told me I had depression, anxiety (which I do but because my heart keeps doing crazy stuff), some of them even were implying I had some mild case of schizophrenia. Even one cardiologist told me I just needed attention. Later on was discovered that I was having PACs that developed into Atrial Tachycardia.

    2- there is, people mentioned Kardia which is good but not really reliable, the device will capture more Atrial fibrillation than any other Rhythm, but obviously it can give you the ECG record and that can be analysed by your cardiologist or electrophysiologist, I suggest one that is more expensive but more reliable it's called Qardiocore.

    3- Not yet but I will this October 5th, so you can message me after and I will tell you how it went.

    4- I know I mention I didn't have an ablation yet but I worked in the pharmaceutical area specifically cardiology, basically an ablation is a procedure where they insert flexible tubes through your vein most likely in the groin ( can be in the neck or hand but rarely) all the way up till they reach your right side of the heart, they will start "pacing out" your heart that means they will send electrical impulses to try and trigger any arrythmia you have, sometimes they use drugs to speed up your heart so they can see how the electrical pathways in your heart are working and if there is any irregularities, once they see the problematic pathway or cells they will ablate it and they have 2 options one burning the tissue or freezing it, they usually burn but if the irregularity is close to any sensible spot let's say the AV node or close to an artery they will most likely use the freezing, after that they will try to induce the arrythmia again to see if the ablation was successful, basically that is an ablation, it sounds more complicated than what it is nowadays is a pretty standard procedure.

    5- there is always the medication alternative which a hit or miss and needs to be controlled by your doctor.

    Other people use supplements like Magnesium to help with the ectopics but then again this is a hit or miss.

    Any more doubts you can ask me, I'm happy to help.

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  • Posted

    Hi Emily. Your history, triggers and symptoms are probably too similar to my own SVT ones to be merely a coincidence.

    Its very important they capture an episode on equipment so they can confirm the exact diagnosis and best treatment. I would ask for another Holter monitor AND go to A&E with each episode until they do.

    I had an ablation 5 years ago and haven't had even one SVT episode since. If the Cardio says you are suitable then go for it - its a very low risk procedure with a high success rate (and the alternatives are not something to look forward to).

    Best wishes to you

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  • Posted

    Hi Emily,  My attacks could never be caught on a monitor either because they were so random.  Finally the hospital gave me a different type to take away with me and only use when I had an attack of SVT.  I had it for 6 weeks and finally was able to record an episode for them to see.  It might be worth your while to make enquiries about this.

    ?As regards the ablation (which I recommend).  I've had two because the first one was unsuccessful as they were unable to trigger an attack during the procedure and therefore couldn't find the extra pathway to ablate.  It was very disappointing but, thankfully, they made another attempt a few months later which was successful.  You will be awake but sedated and it's a bit uncomfortable but not painful.  They can't put you to sleep because the system closes down and prevents them from triggering the SVT.  Afterwards you will have to lie still for about 4 hours while the cut in your groin stops bleeding but can then go home the same day.

    Good luck with it all.

    Mary x

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  • Posted

    I have two things to offer.  First, you should be talking to an electrophysiologist, who is an cardiologist specializing in the electrical system of the heart. He/she would be the one to do an ablation if you go that route, anyway.  Second, doctors and hospitals have an "event monitor."  Ask for one.  You wear it longer than the 24 hour Holter.  It doesn't do continuous recording but always has the last couple of minutes in memory.  When you feel something, you press a button and it permanently records what has happen in those few minutes. Good luck!

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  • Posted

    Emily it sounds like SVT. Ask the cardiologist to put a 30 day monitor on you. 

    I had the ablation and it resolved my SVT. Afterwards I was tired and a little short of breath for awhile. I live in the US, so here they put you asleep and I didn't feel anything. Had to keep my legs straight for 4 hours. They go through both ground, that's why you have to lay still and the nurses check for bleeding. I had frequent episodes of fast heRt rate, nausea and being lightheaded . Don't let your friends bother you, they wouldn't know unless they felt the fast heart rate. It was even hard for me to explain to my friends and family what I was feeling. The last time I went to the hospital by ambulance , my friend told me that I was just having anxiety , excuse me I wasn't! It was SVT!!!!! See if the cardiologist will put you on a 39 day monitor to try and capture the SVT? 

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  • Posted

    Hey Everyone

    Thanks for your replies. You have all been so wonderful and helpful and made me feel as though it's not all in my head <3

    Just an update, I had an episode on while bending over in the shower and walked (or struggled) across the road to a newly opened medical centre and asked them to take an ECG. The ECG showed a normal sinus rhythm (with camel humps) that was 151bpm and had non specific ST segment depression and an incomplete right bundle branch block. Everyone kept calling it an SVT because it came on suddenly (as they always do) and I was clearly short of breath, dizzy and had a pounding sensation in the neck. It also stopped once I did the valsalva manover. Afterwards the doctor on duty was still concerned and ended up calling an ambulance (despite me insisting that this always happens and I was completely fine). The ambulance took more than 2 hours, then another 6 hours in ED for them to tell me I was fine and to see the cardiologist as planed.

    I went and saw the GP who had done the ECG the day before as he had requested and he gave me a referral to see another cardiologist sooner (but I could only get in 4 days earlier so I'll just see the original one). He also mentioned that he has seen 2 patients in his life like me who ended up having Atrial-septal defects so he has put a bunch of recommendations to the cardiologist and has sent me off for some blood tests. He also suggested that the exercise induced asthma I get may be coming from my heart (echo has previously shown some tricuspid valve leakage) 

    So we will see how that turns out. I'm a quite nervous but excited to be finally getting somewhere with it all. So I guess now my questions are;

    Did anyone else have a similar ECG but be showing all the classical signs of an SVT?

    Does Sinoatrial nodal rentry tacchycardia present a similar ECG

    Does anyone with an atrial-septal defect present with the same symptoms?

    Any more advice or suggestions would be much appreciated.




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  • Posted

    Just a quick update. I saw the electrocardiologist. It's definately SVT and I'll be having an ablation in the near future.  [smile]  

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  • Posted

    I'm not sure how relevant this thread still is, as I am BRAND new, but I have AVNRT SVT and I can relate to a lot. So I'll try to answer your questions from my standpoint.

    1. It absolutely sounds like SVT. People were telling me to get over it, that it was panic attacks (which I have a history of so I know it's not). My mom, who is a nurse, told me to just try to calm down and relax. But then she had to pick me up from work after my heart rate jumped to 170 for no reason (was just sitting) so she took me to an urgent care and they referred me to a cardiologist.

    2. I've worn the 24 hour Holter, with no episodes, but then my cardiologist sent for a 60 day event monitor. My heart lit that thing up like a Christmas tree. I'm actually about to get my second event monitor in the mail in the next couple of days. The ER is not worth it. More than likely, by the time you get admitted and hooked up, your heart will be cooperative. Save yourself the money.

    3. I've had an ablation. It worked for 2 years, I had a successful, uneventful pregnancy. But now I'm experiencing symptoms again (hence the new event monitor).

    4. My ablation, although mildly successful (read: for 2.5 years), was hell. My heart decided it was a good time to cooperate under extreme stress and they pushed my heart rate to 276. I was awake so I was in extreme discomfort. And, unfortunately, my SVT is extreme. So even though 19 points were made, they could've done more but it was too risky to continue. That being said, I would happily do it again for the relief. And I will, after all of my new tests are done. It is worth it. I cannot stress that enough.

    5. Fully submerging my head in an ice bucket with water helps. Sometimes the gagging helps. My cartizem prescription helps a little too.

    My best advice would be to be persistent with your cardiologist. SVT is a tricky thing and rarely shows up on holters unless you're having an episode a day. Keep pushing them. You know something is wrong, make them see it.

    Best of luck. Feel free to ask more! ?

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    • Posted

      Hi Nkrempas. 

      Thank you so much for your answers. I’ve since managed to get an episode caught on an ecg and seen an electrophysiologist who wants me to get an ablation done so hopefully will be sheduling in for that soon. It’s been such a long road with people telling me they were panic attacks so I’m beyond relieved to actually have it diagnosed! 

      I’m quite nervous to get the ablation and I keep changing my mind although I know it’s probably the best thing as I’ve been reading svt tends to get worse with age and pregnancy.  At this stage I only get them once a fortnight and can usually limit them to a few minutes with the val salva but as I have experienced fainting episodes (which at the time thought they were random, but cardiologist confirmed it’s all to do with the svt) they are wanting me to get it done. I just don’t know whether to go now or wait for a few years 😂 so if you have any words of advice here that would be greatly appreciated! 

      Thanks so much again for all your advice. Xx 

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