Symptomatic tachycardia... causes?

Posted , 4 users are following.


I am a 20yr old female, for the last 6 months I have been experiencing high heart rate with symptoms of palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, tunnel vision (when my hr is really fast), tiredness (after tachycardia resolves) I have had several episodes where I thought I was going to pass out, had to sit down on the spot.

So the symptoms seem to be brought on by simple things, towel drying my hair, walking up stairs, carrying things whilst walking... the symptoms normally last 2-3 mins and resolve on their own once I've sat down and stopped moving.

Recently I have been carrying round a finger sp02 monitor, which when symptoms are present shows a HR ranging between 120-180 just with minimal exertion. My resting heart rate it around 75-85.

I have been to the GP who did bloods, ruled out anemia, thyroid and any lesser causes. I had several ECG's all at rest so did not show any tachycardia. I had an echo which was fine too. I was referred to cardiology who said they will arrange an urgent 24 hour monitor and that I may need to have an ablation.

I was just wondering if anybody knows any causes of heart rates like this just on minimal exertion.

I do not smoke, I don't take any regular medication, I do not take any illicit drugs, I don't drink caffeine and I am not acutely stressed in any way.

My mum had heart problems from birth, bicuspid aortic valve, coarctation of aorta. Heart murmur.

Any ideas would be much appreciated.

0 likes, 8 replies

Report / Delete

8 Replies

  • Posted

    Do some reading on inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST) and see how the symptoms match up. With IST physical exertion will cause the heart rate to rise rapidly but it will drop quickly when the activity ends. I have something similar and the drug ivabradine stops my heart from doing that rapid heart rate increase so I'm not exhausted all the time anymore. There are some good videos on YouTube explaining (IST).

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Shannon.

    Others here might have had different experiences, but my SVT was not brought on by physical exertion, mild or strenuous. The most common triggers for me were caffeine, sudden movement like picking up something dropped, mental or emotional stress or, most commonly, nothing whatsoever I could identify - an episode would just start of its own accord while I was sitting down relaxing.

    Hopefully, they will get what they need to know from the heart monitor.

    Don't worry if you need an ablation. I had one about 5 years ago and it cured my SVT completely. The procedure was no worse than just a single SVT episode of the same duration, and they give you stuff that chills you out  smile

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      IST is a form of SVT.

      I had SVT from my teenage years. I also had IST like symptoms occur in concurrence with SVT during menopause. The IST like symptoms began right after a prolonged SVT attack where my heart rate went to 248. A stress test before my ablation showed my heart rate rapidly rising to 180 within minutes of the test beginning and dropping to the low 70s within minutes of the test ending. This is while I was on Metoprolol. Prior to my last SVT attack I used to have to exercise very hard to even get to a consistent 120 heart rate.

      My ablation resolved the true SVT episodes but did not resolve the underlying IST like symptoms. My electrocardiologist says he believes I have autonomic dysfunction where my body responds inappropriately to adrenaline. Adrenaline prepares your muscles for physical activity among other things so having high heart rate anytime during physical activity is tough to handle.

      IST symptoms are very similar to what Shannon1096 is experiencing and is very debilitating because unlike typical SVT it occurs anytime there is physical activity. After three exhausting years of dealing with high heart rate and after multiple tests I was finally given ivabradine. I am in my 4th month of taking ivabradine and it has been like a miracle drug in terms of stopping the rapid heart rate during activity. I can now go for fast walks and have my heart rate stay in the 70s and low 80s. Even walking uphill, which made me breathless and weak before, is a breeze now.

      Good luck with your diagnosis.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you. I feel like a different person than I did in August 2016. It took a while for me to talk my electrocardiologist into giving me a prescription for ivabradine. I'm in the USA and that drug was just approved a year ago so not many doctors prescribe it. I understand now why many people who take ivabradine refuse to stop taking it.

      Hope you all have a great holiday and New Year.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Thank you everybody for your replies.

    At the moment it really is debilitating, my job is proving difficult to carry out.

    Does anybody know what a normal rise in heart rate should be on minimal exertion? Maybe a short jog.

    I took a jog of about 10 steps and it went above 175.

    Walking up stairs, well over 140, if carrying something 150+, drying my hair too vigorously 135+....

    After the symptoms have gone away I feel so tired it's unbelievable.

    I really appreciate your replies, have a lovely Christmas

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      You will feel tired. It's like your body is running a marathon every time you do something physical. Normal it's different for everyone but when my body was behaving itself a short jog wouldn't have pushed me past 100.

      You want to get that holter monitor sooner rather than later. In the meantime if you can afford one, get a blood pressure cuff which checks both heart rate and blood pressure. You want to make sure your heart is in normal rhythm because high heart rate with normal rhythm is not dangerous, it's just extremely debilitating. I missed work on my worst days which I hated doing because it affected my income.

      High heart rate with abnormal rhythm is life threatening. If your heart rhythm is normal ask for a treadmill stress test as it will measure your blood pressure, oxygen rate and heart rate as well as check your heart rhythm during the test.

      Blood pressure is very important because the heart rate and blood pressure can go in opposite directions to compensate. It's something I still have to watch for as when I occasionally get dizzy it's because my blood pressure is too low. I have to keep salt tablets with me or drink a sports drink to raise my blood pressure.

      The last thing I would recommend is for you to ask that your doctor prescribe a beta blocker or calcium blocker in the meantime to help control the heart rate. Be aware though that these drugs can also make you tired and dizzy. It's a matter of trial and error. For example Metoprolol, which is a beta blocker made me sluggish and dizzy all the time and didn't do a very good job of controlling my heart rate but Cardizem, a calcium channel blocker worked reasonably well for a while. Everyone reacts differently to these drugs so sometimes you'll have try a few before finding one that doesn't cause debilitating side effects.

      Just as a note my heart rate also used to accelerate when my arms were above my head washing, drying or just doing my hair. I have long hair so I used to have to take breaks when washing my hair.

      Good luck Shannon1096

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    As others have said, definitely ask the questions about inappropriate sinus tachycardia. I was diagnosed two years ago and have been on ivabradine ever since. In my experience, it has really been a "wonder drug" and has reduced my heart rate to almost normal levels. Ivabradine does come with many side effects (headaches and visual disturbances) in the initial stages but if you persevere they all seem to disappear relatively quickly.

    I am 21 and like you, had difficulty working. I was just so tired all of the time. Just know that, provided you have a doctor and cardiologist that understands and acknowledges your condition (it sounds like they are making the right noises with the holder monitor), there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    IST can also be a cause of heat intolerance so be careful in saunas (I struggle with hot showers) and in the heat generally. It is also possible to have IST and SVT together (notwithstanding that IST is a type of SVT).

    So you may also have some overlap between symptoms. If that is the case, no doubt your cardiologist will work out a treatment plan specific to your needs.

    If you ever wanted to compare notes feel free to let me know.

    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up