What triggers cause your SVT? How do they affect you?

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Hi, I'm new to this group and delighted to find it.  My story in brief, I'm now 35 and pretty fit - I run a lot and have done for years.  Almost 3 years ago I had my first SVT episode - I've had about 15 or 20 since then, lasting up to 2 or 3 minutes each.  They seem to happen in 'clusters'.  I might get 3 or 4 episodes in a month, then nothing for 6 months, then off we go again.  They always happen when I'm running hard, and I've picked them up on my own garmin heart rate monitor but they have never performed when I've been wearing an ECG monitor.  A few weeks ago I was brought in for an EP study (which was nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be) - again it refused to perform so I couldn't get an ablation.

Anyway during all this my cardiologist has been perfectly happy for me to continue running - it's not dangerous.  But no-one has mentioned triggers to me, so I'm really interested to find out what affects you and how.  Are there any good books or websites that helped you?  For me, every episode has happened when I'm running - but even during a cluster I can have several episode-free runs.  I'd love to be able to figure out if it's just bad luck or if something's setting these clusters off.  I'd really appreciate your thoughts.  Thanks.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    i've found this forum helpful too so I'll try to do my part.

    Like you, my symptoms seem to only happen when exercising; in my case, jogging, hard biking, cross country skiing or while using an elliptical trainer.  I'm in my late 50's and had my first symptoms while in my mid 50's.  I too can go weeks, if not months with no episodes.  They became more frequent for several weeks this past summer/fall and none at all over the past 6 weeks or so.  I thought one of my triggers was caffeine but now am not so sure.  If you look further in this forum or Google SVT triggers, you will find more possibilities.  I know alcohol is another trigger for some people.  On the other hand, I've read other posts where triggers are not known at all or seem to be multiple.  I sometimes think the intensity of the aerobic activity itself is the trigger in my own case as it usually happens when I'm already working hard.  My docs also said my elevated heart rate during the infrequent episodes are not a threat to my short or long term health.  However, I am almost always able to interrupt my elevated heart rate within a minute or two by "bearing down."

    Obviously, you need to consult your own doctors and make your decision on how to proceed accordingly.  But, now you have another perspective/experience to draw upon and I'm sure there will others who came in with their situations.

    Good luck and good health!

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply - really helpful.  Sounds like we're quite similar in how this affects us.  Yes similarly my cardiologist says there's no reason to stop exercising, and I've become rather adept at the Valsalva maneouvre.

      I had cut out caffeine (coffee and cola) a while ago on a whim of my own, and I do think it has helped though obviously still not perfect.  I tried cutting out chocolate but that made no difference.  Alcohol is next on the list........

      Thanks again for your reply and all the best for the future

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    • Posted

      Here we go again . . , so, I cancelled my ablation surgery after not having any symptoms for 7 weeks or so.  Then, about 9 days later, my heart rate elevates beyond normal for me while cross country skiing.  Today, I had to pull out of a 50K classic ski race after only 15k completed as my heart spiked to 202 bmp after a particularly tough hill climb.  I could reduce the heart rate to around 180 or so after trying the usual methods but couldn't get lower and it would start creeping up again and was almost certain going to really elevate again on remaining hills ahead of me.  Didn't seem smart to continue the race under those circumstances.  Very bumming. A rescheduling of the ablation surgery is in the offing! 
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    • Posted

      Ah flip that's frustrating, sounds like an adventure but also stopping your race was the right decision (and a very hard call to make when you're out there having fun).

      When I went for my EP study they would have done the ablation at the same time if they could. I made it very clear to them that exercise was important to me so if they were at all unsure about the ablation (and if they thought I would need a pacemaker depending on where they had to work) then to err on the side of caution. Anyway they couldn't find the node so no ablation. Hope yours is more successful!

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  • Posted

    My episodes are mostly triggered by caffiene, bending over or reaching up high.  I am experimenting with some of the ideas on all of the SVT forums on this site on triggers that stop it.  Today, one that did work for me was - exhaling slowly and holding the end of exhale for a short several seconds.  My heart kicked back in immediately.  I don't know if it will work the next time, but today it did.

     

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    • Posted

      Hi and thanks for your reply.  I didn't realise (until reading this forum) that episodes could be triggered by positional changes so that's very interesting.  To 'reset' my heart rate I find the Valsalva manoeuvre often works - and a bit of patience & time definitely does.  Thanks for your reply and hope you find something that works well for you to stop the episodes.
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    • Posted

      I've had SVTs all my life (and I'm 70 now). Not many, perhaps two or three a year, but they can be quite severe, lasting up to five hours and recently making me light-headed.The triggers for me are occasionally bending over (someone else mentioned that) but usually fear. I've had two or three while waiting for a plane (I'm not scared of flying, just the build-up, getting there, queuing etc). The worst one, I was worrying I'd got the wrong shoes on for a volunteering job and would get told off!!! I ended up in A&E for that one. And stressful things like waiting for plumbers/builders at home, or even getting slightly lost on country walks (I am somewhat agoraphobic). And then sometimes... no apparent reason at all. 
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  • Posted

    Five hours Sue73!? That's a long time..it's not too long to be in svt?
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    • Posted

      I've had two or three lasting four or five hours (usually it's sort of 40 minutes). Twice it stopped by itself; both times I was on airplanes so couldn't do anything other than sit it out! The only time I ended up in A&E was because I felt so lightheaded I had to keep sitting down. I think it's because I'm old enough now that my system couldn't cope. Anyway, it meant I was actually diagnosed mid-SVT which was helpful; and I was given an adenosine injection to restore normal heart rate which was ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE!!! After that the consultant prescribed a drug called flecainide and if I have an SVT lasting longer than an hour I take one pill and over ten minutes it slows down back to normal. I've tried it three times and it's fantastic. He called it the "pill in pocket" and I carry some in my purse so I'm never without.

      I don't know if 5 hours is "too long". No one has told me if it can do you any harm. But I don't think I'd let it go on that long again.

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    • Posted

      I'm 36.  was diagnosed AF last september, last episode which was the 9th AF happened December 21st 2017, but since then I have had 5 tachycardia episodes 4 of them last less than 10 mins, 2 disappear within 2 mins, these short ones only cause me 150-170 pulse rate, but the fifth one went around 210 for a little longer than an hour.  The first 4 times happened after i had dinner and had a strong burp while walking.  The last one were happening after i swallow some supplement capsules and it stocked in the throat for split second then my heart was pounding since.. Note the 5th time before the tachycardia I had quite many uncomfortable PAC/PVCs...  my trigger seems to be vagal and stress related as 90% of them happened with those factors

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  • Posted

    Sue73, I guess being on a plane when it happens (one of my fears) doesn't leave you with many options..I would probably freak out and demand them to land the plane LOL..the adenosine shot is definitely no fun but very helpful..I've never heard of flecainide..I'm going to look into it...I'm on a daily beta blocker..is that what that is??

     

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    • Posted

      Ha! I'm far too polite and English to draw attention to myself... the truth is that the SVT started while we were waiting to board (that horrible hour of anticipation, can't bear it) and I couldn't ruin the holiday by whingeing so I carried on... and actually the noise of the plane's engines masked the pounding heart and I relaxed because we were on board and my heart righted itself without me even noticing.

      No, the flecainide isn't a beta blocker. The cardiologist who prescribed it (a charming professor at my local north London hospital) implied it's a relatively recent idea to take it as a one-off SVT stopper. He checked that I am an organised enough person to carry a couple with me all the time. I am soooo grateful to him.

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  • Posted

    Sue73,

    I'm glad to hear your svt stopped when u relaxed on the plane..so flecainide is fairly new..I will definitely be mentioning this option to my cardiologist : ) ..thx!

     

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  • Posted

    I am 43 now and suffered with palpatations during my early 30s. I was also a runner . I had every test performed by MDs and cardiologists . The problem was an episode never occurred when we were conducting them. I was running at the gym one night and my heart rate got up to about 198 but I didn't feel any different. Suddenly I felt my heart accelerate and it was stuck at a pace where I was short of breath and it wouldn't slow down . I went to the ER and my heart rate was at 268 a minute. They had to stop and restart my heart . Scarriest thing I've ever been through . (When your palpitations start cough or bear down like your going to the bathroom and most of the time it will correct itself .) That night I had a soda before going to the gym . I completely cut out diet cokes, tea or anything with a lot of sugar and caffeine . Pasta is also a trigger . When I go for a run i usually do it on a fairly empty stomach. I will eat a few peanut butter Cracker or a small bowl of cereal . If I run after eating carbs or sugar is when I have problems . I had an ablasion 6 years ago . Even still I have heart flip flops but I know my limits . If it starts, i resort to biking or low cardio Once you have an overactive heart it never really goes away if you maintain an active lifestyle especially if you continue to run .

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    • Posted

      Thanks for sharing your story - reassuring to know you've found a way to control it. I didn't really think about food before running - but definitely will now; thanks for the idea

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