SVT or Anxiety...which is it? Doctors tell me different answers.

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Hello, I am a 24 year old male, average build, average fitness (I play some rec sports and can do physical labour). In 2011 I had my first 'attack' - I was getting ready to go a concert and having some drinks with some friends. Then I felt a lump in my throat and my heart started to race (180-200bpm), this lasted about 20 minutes. Another time that year I was just watching TV.

Half a year later in 2012, during a boxing lesson - I was physically and mentally drained; I decided to throw one last hard combo of punches...once again got the lump in my throat and a racing heart (for 25 minutes).

Everything was good for 2 years, until I was playing basketball in 2014 and this racing happened again when I went to sprint (for 15 minutes). After this 2014 episode I now get anxiety about my heart and health. So if my heart elevates, my anxiety elevates, causing my heart to elevate again from panic. It can be a vicious circle. I tried getting to a ER to catch it, but never could in time. All tests immediately after racing came back clean (EKG, chest x-ray, blood pressure and blood tests).

Fast forward to late 2017 to early 2018. I've had the 'attack' happen 3 times in the last year. First, I met the ambulance and it calmed down right away. Second, I got to an ER, it took them I while to see me and then tend to me once I was in bed so I was all on edge, which doesn't help. It stayed around 180bpm for an hour, EKG was normal rhythm, just fast; they gave me a beta-blocker. Not sure if I came down on my own or the beta did it.

Most recently, last weekend I was sitting down, got that lump in my throat, felt my heart like flip-flop, then the racing started for about 30 min (I half panic when I get the sensation which doesn't help things). Called an ambulance (heart reached 230bpm for a bit during the ride to ER), they took me to ER and managed to get an EKG, blood pressure and blood work during the racing finally (I caught it during!), all came back clean again! So did the chest X-ray right after. The ER doctor gave me 12mg of Adenosine which calmed it down.

Over the years, I received lots of blood work, EKGs, blood pressures, head CT scan, 48-hour monitor, stress test, and echocardiogram. ALL tests came back CLEAN and said I have a very healthy heart. About 4 different GP and ER doctors, plus a cardiologist all told me it was anxiety and a flight or fight response. Also during these 'attacks', my blood work and blood pressure are good, EKG is normal rhythm - just fast; I feel fine, I can walk, talk, breathe and feel normal (other than being scared).

During an average attack, the 180-200bpm lasts about 15-40 minutes. When I mentally calm down so does my heart, or vice-versa...I'm not too sure which calms first.

I got referred to another cardiologist. And I would like to know who else has experienced this, how do you deal with it, and what has been done for you? Thank you all  [smile]

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Dexter

    From what you've described I believe you are having SVT which is Supraventricular Tachycardia. Like you I suffered terribly too which set off horrendous anxiety. I had cardiac ablation last summer and my life is back to normal. I would say give ablation some serious consideration- it has a very high success rate.

    All the best


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  • Posted

    Hi there, 

    I think it sounds like SVT, they gave you adenosine to calm your heart rate but they wouldn’t give that for a panic attack. 

    With SVT you can be in great health, I was when I had it. It won’t harm you though that’s what you need to remember. 

    My heart was caught racing at 240bpm and the paramedic said straight away it was SVT, I was taken to hospital and given adenosine which reset my heart rhythm. I’ve since had the cardiac ablation and I’ve been well for the last year now, just skipped beats now and again. 

    I would be asking why they gave you adenosine because that’s to treat disruption of the hearts rhythm.

    Keep on at them, that’s what I had to do and finally they took me seriously.

    It’s more of an anxiety causing thing SVT and it’s horrible to have to deal with, I hope you get the help you really want. There is a light you just got to keep fighting for what you believe. All the best, Amy. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Amy,

      I was exactly the same. Ablation was the best thing I did. I am 37 and had been suffering on and off for 7 years. But last year they became more frequent and disruptive. Ablation last July in Southampton. All the best.


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  • Posted

    I went to GP in December about something completely different. He checked my heart rate and nearly had a heart attack himself!! He said it was very high raced out of the room came back a minute later with a tablet in one hand and a glass  of water in the other saying "Get this inside you."!!

    It was a tablet called Bisoprolol. I had been on them for ages but had recently been in hospital where they had stopped them because I had low blood pressure.

    So I am now back on them no problems.


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