My Crazy Heart: Supraventricular Tachycardia

My heart is definitely a piece of work. Image via

I wanted to write a state of my pregnancy address for Labor Day. (Get it? Labor. Har.) But, something rather interesting has come up that I wanted to share with you instead.

Since high school, I’ve experienced an occasional freaky thing with my heart. Every once in a while, out of the blue and usually related to a run, but not always, my heart will start beating like crazy. It feels like it’s going to beat right out of my chest! When it first happened I went to see a cardiologist. He had me wear a thing called a Holter Monitor which recorded my heartbeat for about 48 hours. Of course, I didn’t have one of these incidencts while wearing the monitor, my EKG (measure of my heartrate and rhythms) came back clean and my basic exam showed me to be completely normal. The freaky heart thing, which I always referred to as a heart palpitation, would come on suddenly, leave quickly and once it was gone I felt like nothing ever happened. So the thought was that this was just a quirk and there was no need to worry about it.

Oh to be young and naive again!

Through the years it’s happened again, but these episodes of crazy heart rate started happening more frequently when I began my adult running career.  I just assumed it was something that other runners commonly encountered. The first time I remember it happening as an adult, I was doing an interval workout around the Central Park reservoir and in between reps felt one come on. I sat on a rock and waited for it to pass. It freaked me out, but once it was gone I felt totally fine and continued on with the workout! This is pretty typical for the episodes I have experienced over the last 7 years.

My view of these heart palpitation episodes changed a few weeks ago. It was a Saturday morning and I ran super early to get home in time for a busy day ahead. At the half-way of my 5 mile out and back I stopped to pee and felt a heart palpitation come on. But this one was different then the earlier ones that went away on their own after a few minutes and were just minor annoyances.  I’ve never had one from running during any of my pregnancies. I’ve had them early in the pregnancy for a few seconds after bending down or something, but those quickly disappear. This one lingered.

I was on an isolated stretch of road and sat on a split rail fence waiting for it to dissipate. But it didn’t. And then I started to feel anxious, nauseous and then I felt like I was going to faint! Since I ran from home and only ran short I didn’t bring my phone (I was kicking myself!) There was a house about 200 meters up the road. I got up to try to walk there, but I felt too woozy. I thought about trying to crawl – not kidding! I was so scared to lose consciousness by myself, pregnant, alone along the side road! I sat in the dirt next to the road and wished for a car. Any car. Anyone. Someone. Nothing. I was willing myself to stay with it and then I WILLED myself to relax. I needed to get that palpitation to stop. So glad I had some wits about me! It worked. My heart slowed down and regained its rhythm and I stood up and took a short walk to test everything out. And then I jogged slowly home.

And this is the crazy part. I still felt like it wasn’t that big of a deal! I swore then and there I’d always bring my phone with me and of course my husband was frantic and worried about me. But based on what I thought was going on, heart palpitations, I wasn’t worried about it. When you google “heart palpitations” the information is far from alarming. It sounds like they’re totally common especially when exercising, stressed and pregnant! Well, bingo

At my midwife appointment 2 weeks later I told my midwife what happened and she didn’t look so unworried. In fact, she made me schedule an emergency appointment with a cardiologist. At that appointment, I had an EKG which was totally normal and my exam was totally normal. Based on what I described and what he observed he concluded it was probably just a “benign quirk” and not to worry about it. Cool!

Or so I thought.

One week and one day after my cardiologist appointment, on a Saturday again (coincidence?), after my shower and before I had any coffee, I reached down to pick up some cat fur off the carpet and BAM! My babysitter was over playing with the kids as I was getting ready to leave for the farmers market. I excused myself and went and laid down to wait it out. I got up to go get my cell phone and couldn’t without feeling like I was going to faint. AGAIN! Well, at least this time I wasn’t on the side of the road! I laid there and watched the clock. 15 minutes passed and no change. I wrestled with the idea in my head for a good 5 minutes, but ultimately I did what I had to do. I called 911. Within 2 minutes the paramedics were dodging toys in my living room and hooking me up to an EKG. My heart rate was between 180 and 200 – steady! Yikes! They were not too keen on this and loaded me on the gurney. I made like I was having the time of my life so as not to freak out the kids and off we went. Sirens and everything! The whole time my heart rate stayed insanely high.

We made it to the ER and I was wheeled straight into a room. I was immediately plugged into the hospitals EKG machine and the doctor was in super fast (note: when going to the ER you get awesome treatment when you’re a pregnant lady with a heart problem!) He looked at the EKG and started spouting off all kinds of stuff about electrical pathways that made no sense. He got the name of my cardiologist and left him a message. Then he proceeded to treat me. The first thing he did was have me try a Vagel Maneuver which is just like a push during labor. That supposedly gets the heart to go back to normal, but it didn’t for me. So, after a few tries with that it was on to the next trick to get my heart to get back to normal and this was a bit. well, insane.

The doctor warned me I was in for 8-10 seconds of incredible discomfort. Have you ever seen Pulp Fiction? You know the part when Uma Thurman od’s on heroine and John Travolta has to inject her heart with epinephrin? Well, that came to mind as I saw the nurse and her giant syringe. And then it was made worse when she asked the doctor if his syringe was ready. THE HELL?! I was seriously petrified. And then they counted to 3 and the nurse injected hers (into my IV and not my heart, thank goodness!) and then the doctor counted to 3 and did his and then HOLY HELL! I felt like someone was sitting on my head. I couldn’t breathe and felt immense pressure all over. I was crying and freaking out and then it was over. They gave me medicine that stopped my heart and then more or less reset it. And it was over! Phew! The looooooong hard tempo run heart rate without the actual running part was over. It lasted about an hour total.

So glad the doctor didn’t do this to me!

After my heart went back to normal the paramedics left (they were SO AMAZING! They waited to make sure I was ok before leaving me there. Thanks guys!!!) The doctor left. The nurses made sure I was ok and they left and I was there all alone, until my husband finally made it. I was so happy to see him! We waited about an hour and then the ER doc came back. He told me I have been experiencing something called supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). He said he talked to my cardiologist and he wants to see me Tuesday to start the process of determining what’s causing it. It’s most commonly caused by something called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW), but that is usually diagnosed on an EKG even without an episode of SVT occurring and my EKGs never had the tell-tale pattern for WPW.

The good news:

– It’s not life-threatening.

– I now have this phenomenon recorded and observed by doctors so we can get to the bottom of it.

– There are treatment options that aren’t totally awful.

– I can keep running as long as I always have a way to get help if I need it (carry my phone, tell people where I’ll be, stay in populated areas, etc).

– Baby Boo-Boo is A-OK!

The bad news:

– If it happens again (well, at least until my cardiologist comes up with a new plan) I have to go straight to the ER, which means I might have to call 911 if I don’t have someone to drive me there. UGH. Not a fan of the drama of riding out on a gurney to an ambulance!

– I am allowed ZERO caffeine. ZERO. Oh! The headaches! I LOVE coffee so this is really hard, but I’m 2 days cold turkey so I’m on my way to quitting for good. (Never EVER thought I’d be saying that.)

Bye bye coffee. Somehow I will need to intrinsically motivate myself to get out of bed and muster up the energy to GET.SHIT.DONE! Ouch. The headache!!!! Image via wikipedia.

So this is where I am right now. This happened just yesterday as I write this and I haven’t totally processed it all. I’m scared, but hopeful. It’s funny how something I thought was no big deal and probably something semi-normal in other athletes, turned out to be a totally and freaky thing pretty much confined to a select lucky few. If you’re someone who’s experienced SVT, please let me know how you cope!

♥ To read Part II of my Supraventricular Tachycardia journey, go here! ♥

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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  1. Holy cow Salty – I am so glad you are okay! And I am so glad you called 911. Matters of the heart are not to be messed with, so please continue to be careful. I would definitely take the week off from running and switch to easy walks instead. No need to push it until you have a better handle on what is going on.

    1. The ER doc and the cardiologist do not think that running is making it worse – case in point, this episode happened from picking up fuzz off the carpet! I’m allowed to run as long as I have an exit strategy to get to the ER. It sounds nuts, I realize 🙂 I am not running without a phone, in desolate areas or where no one knows I am. I quit coffee, have been sleeping more and keeping the running easy. Today I slept until 9:00! And now it’s on the warm side so I’ll probably just take it easy and maybe walk with the family this evening or something. THANK YOU so much for being a supportive friend!!!

      1. Hi Salty,
        I’ve been living with SVT the past 8 years. I had my first episode when i was riding my bike (Training for a triathlon). Didnt think much of it at the time but i did have to stop because the feeling was indeed strange. My HR was over 200 beats per minute! Went to my cardiologist who did every test under the sun but couldn’t come up with a diagnosis. I was only experiencing attacks 1 or 2 times a year so it really wasn’t alarming at the time. Fast forward, i’m going out of rhythm closer to a dozen times a year. I’ve seen 3 different cardiologist and finally the last appointment i had, the doctor gave me the diagnosis (even though nobody has been able to catch the event in person or on a monitoring device). I’ve gone to NYC rhythm laboratory and what they told me was that they wouldn’t do the ablation procedure at this time. Because my episodes only last for 30-45 seconds and only happen several times a year, it’s not worth the risk.

        Question – how often were you experiencing SVT attacks? Do you have an email you can send me to discuss this in more detail offline? I would greatly appreciate your advice!

        1. Hi Adam. I’d be happy to discuss this more. Give me an email @ saltyrunning at gmail. For others’ reference, my attacks were about as frequent, but were much more persistent lasting up to an hour or more, but usually in the 10-15 minute range. That is, until my 3rd pregnancy when they became really bad. I detail what brought me to my diagnosis and decision to have the ablation in my posts about SVT.

          1. hello salty, my name is samantha miller and im 18yrs old i just recently got dignosed svt and it is a terrible thing to go through. my HR was about 299 every other day, until one day i got up started walking to my parents room not even a foot away from the living room where i was and BAM i passed out didnt know what was going on until i get this medicine in me that the amulance driver had givin me to slow it down that medicine was the worst thing i have ever had it felt like i was having a heart attack then all of a sudden my heart slowed down for about a sec then it ran up again. well anyways about a month ago i had heart surgery, its been better but its every blue moon it starts to speed up to 198 and it feels like my left side of my heart aint pumping what could that be should i be conceren and why does it have a big pain like someone is squeezing it.

          2. Hi Samantha! SVT is crazy, isn’t it and it’s so great to finally get a diagnosis and treatment. Based on what you describe I encourage you to contact your cardiologist or electrophysiologist. It might be nothing but it’s more than worth checking it out to be sure. Your doctor can give you a monitor to record the episodes and from that they can determine if these new episodes are of concern. Good luck and keep me posted!

  2. i make it my duty to drink coffee for you and i will find others to help in this feat. ;^)

    glad it is not more dangerous. our hearts are pretty important when it comes to getting our miles in. egads!

    1. While I joke the coffee part is the worst, and it DOES suck! It’s easy to deal with a minor headache for three days when it means I can keep running and enjoying life!

        1. I linked to my follow up post (at the end of this one). In that post i say that my electro physiologist told me that caffeine is fine in moderation so I can drink coffee no problem. He said the no coffee thing is voodoo. I believe it. Coffee never bothered me, but alcohol is a big problem. I hardly every drink anymore because (even though I had the ablation – see that follow up post) it causes me very irritating palpitations for days afterwards!

  3. First, glad you’re okay!

    My husband has/had PSVT. 4 years ago, his heart rate was recorded at 248, at the end of an episode. When he was in high school and playing football, it was recorded in the 290s. He did give up caffeine, and was on medication through high school. He started it again after college while playing broomball; sprinting on ice when its 20 below is hard on anyone’s heart. We had been in to see a cardiologist who mentioned ablation surgery, but it wasn’t happening often enough to justify the risks. He wasn’t allowed to drive to broomball, since if the episode lasted long enough he would lose vision and it was just dangerous in general to be driving. He had a friend that would drive and help him in the house if necessary. 4 years ago, he started having the episodes while playing softball (not exerting himself). We got into the ER to catch part of it on the monitor, as mentioned above. The cardiologist at that time felt we should talk more about the ablation. He had it done that year, and we lucked out that they were able to locate the extra pathway and it was in a place that could be ablated. He hasn’t really had any episodes since.

    When I met him in college, I knew he had a heart “thing.” He described it as his heart beating fast, which I thought wasn’t a big deal. The first time I saw it, it freaked me out.

    1. Wow! I’m glad your husband is ok! Those are some INSANE heart rates! Did your husband have WPW or something else? I’ve heard good things about the ablation procedure. What was his recovery like? Can I contact you via email to discuss more after I see my cardiologist tomorrow?

      1. It wasn’t WPW, but was caused by an accessory pathway around the AV node. His stress tests, etc always looked great unless he was having an episode. The cardiologist gave us a good analogy of a snake chasing its tail. The episodes came about when instead of running through the normal pathways, it would end up in the accessory pathway. When he was younger the “snake” would run into its “tail” quickly, so the episodes would end shortly. As he got older, it took longer for that to happen so the episodes lasted a lot longer. His recovery from the procedure was really smooth, he was up and about the next day, only worrying about breaking open a scab. Shoot me an e-mail if you have other questions or want to know more: runner78 (at) gmail (dot) com.

        In addition to caffeine, he was also told to avoid chocolate due to the theobromine.

  4. OMG Salty! What a stressful Saturday! I am glad to hear you and the baby are ok. Isn’t it crazy how we rationalize things in our minds– such as “I’m sure all runners feel this way…” Ugh! Thanks for sharing your story and being a wake up call to all of us who think our pain/ailment/heart flutters are just “normal.” Sometimes they aren’t!

    1. I promise not to be this much of a drama queen when we run together this week 🙂 And yes. It is so crazy how we rationalize things. I look back and cannot believe I blew it off as I did!

  5. Oh my! Glad you are okay. That is even scarier than passing out with 2 pulmonary embolisms. At least we are still alive to share the stories with others so they know what to do. I am so glad you were able to get help. You can stop the competing for the scariest moment now!! You win! Seriously glad you and baby are okay!

    1. Dude, you SOOOO win this contest! I even said to Mike in the ER, at least it’s not pulmonary embolisms! It’s nice to know I have someone to share ambulance ride and ER stories with 🙂 Hope you’re feeling better!!!

  6. Aaack! Scary stuff! So glad you and Boo-Boo are okay! Wow, that might be too much excitement for one weekend, even for you. I love your attitude though–that “even though I have to give up caffeine, I DON’T have to give up running, so it’s all good!” So I guess the biggest prescription now is MORE SLEEP, eh? Hang in there, my friend. Soooo very glad you’re getting to the bottom of what’s going on!

  7. Oh my word this is such a scary story, especially when pregnant. I would be so scared. Glad you’re okay, kind of amazed they’re letting you continue running. Maybe try and get running buddies whenever possible?

    I’m also a runner with a heart condition so I know a little of balancing the sport that we love with being sensible and careful especially now I’m a mother. Hope your cardiologist gets a plan in place quickly.

  8. Freaky incident, a good reminder for us to let people know where we are, carry ID (you do have a RoadID with this info on it, right?), and have a way to keep in touch if needed. I’m sloppy about that but will now be less so. Thanks for the reminder and glad that everything but the coffee issue is OK.

  9. Hello. I am a runner with medicated SVT. I drink coffee! Actually, it helps kick start my heart since I take meds at night. I usually run early in the mornings and average 20-30 miles a week depending upon what race I have on my calendar. I found this post while looking for any info on SVT and running and hypothermia. For example, running early this morning in 20 degree weather, I ended up covered in frost- my pony tail was literally frozen! Because I always have a hard time regaining normal body temperature following a cold run, and prolonged hot baths screw with my SVT, I usually cannot even crank my car after a long run in the cold because my hands are frozen in a curled position- even with ski mittens on- I took a thermometer to see what my temp was. Due to technical difficulties, I could not take my temp until I got home, after riding in the heated car, about 20 minutes later. At that point my body temp measured 95.5. I am seeing a new cardiologist this coming week and am curious to learn more. I would love to email or such because I have not met many people who are very active with SVT.

    1. Hi Alicia. Thanks for writing. I never knew there was a link btw SVT and hypothermia. I’ve actually been hypothermic after two of my marathons. Otherwise, have been ok. I am not on meds. My EP isn’t too keen on them for me because I have low blood pressure. He wants to do an ablation. I am actually now waiting to hear back from him about scheduling it. Feel free to email me at saltyrunning at gmail about it any time. I’d love to talk about it more!

  10. Hi. Like some others who have replied to your story, I too had SPVT. It started after I took up running and my accounts would be very familiar to you. Yours certainly were to me. At first, I didn’t understand what it was, but after several episodes my running friends pushed me into seeing a doctor. I was given a Holter monitor to wear and it did catch an episode I had after a run. This led to a cardiologist and more tests and the diagnosis of SPVT. Same story…not life threatning..etc…etc. Because I didn’t have medical coverage at the time my options were pretty limited so armed with that information and Vagal maneuvers I continued to run. My episodes would stop happening for periods of time but then out of the blue I would have repeat problems. Nothing seemed to stop the arrhythmias until they were “ready” to stop and some episodes could last for a quite a while. I managed to run 10 marathons with this condition, including one where I had a short episode during the marathon. In spite of the number of “attacks” I had and trying to trust that they weren’t life threatning – they never failed to scare the heck out of me. Every time. Eventually I got some insurance and was able to get help. First they tried Medication with little (no) succcess and finally decided to do an electrophysiology study. My case was complicated by a previously unknown rand are heart defect but it was determined that ablasion would help. I did have that procedure done and it has worked so far in that I haven’t had a single SPVT episode since. It (the proceedures) were not the most pleasant things, but all in all not too bad and I’m guessing they pale in comparison to childbirth. Good Luck with your running and everything from someone who has been there and can relate and sympathize. Mark (Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.)

  11. Hang in there – It sucks but you get used to it after some time. Stay clear of caffeine in any form, salt and steer really clear of dark chocolates esp the high quality kind. My episode was exactly the same as yours. hang in there. remember the chocolate warning!


    1. My cardiologist and ep both said caffeine in moderation is fine with SVT – it has nothing to do with it. Also, I had the catheter ablation done 5 weeks ago now and while I have had frequent palpitations, I have not had an SVT episode since. The palpitations seem worse when I’m stressed (which is often with 3 small children!) and after drinking alcohol. I hardly drink, but if I even have 1 small glass of wine, it worsens the palpitations for a full day afterward. I do eat chocolate some times. I’ll have to pay attention to whether it seems to be making it worse and I’ll talk to my ep about it at my follow-up in a few days. THANKS! And good luck to you!!!

    2. Oh, and salt? My ep told me to be sure to eat salted foods to maintain hydration and electrolyte levels, because dehydration. more specifically low potassium, is another thing that can trigger episodes. Man, SVT is no fun!

  12. Glad to find your post. I’m a severe asthmatic who was recently diagnosed with SVT, and I’m a runner. I am not running much these days, only about 20-25 miles a week, and am trying to improve. (Still haven’t gotten back to where I was before my daughter was born.) I’ve been getting frustrated, though, because my heart rate will quickly spike to 180+ while running, and since I’ve been diagnosed I get nervous about it and stop and walk/jog. I’m also not medicated for the SVT. Dr says running is fine, as long as I’m cautious about it, but I’m curious to know how others are coping with this. In the past, I’d always just run through these episodes as best I could, though in retrospect, I think that wasn’t always a good idea. I would love to know more about your/others experiences and how you cope with this.

    1. I never tracked my heart rate in training. Looking back,I often had spells during longer runs and races when I would feel a tightness in the back of my throat and feel like I couldn’t breathe so easily. I’m guessing that was an episode. Before I was pregnant this last time, I’d get episodes and stop running until they went away. It would usually just take a few minutes and then I’d be fine to continue on. SVT is almost never life threatening. I wouldn’t run while you’re experiencing an episode, though. I’d wait for it to go away if you can. I’d also look into having the ablation since it seems to really be impacting your life. I had it done. You can read about my experience with the ablation here: It’s been 6 weeks since the procedure and I am now considered cured! It’s so exciting to think that I won’t have this interrupting my training or the rest of my life any more!!!

      1. Thanks! I’ve been reading more and more about ablation. Sounds scary as hell, but it also sounds like it might be a really good option for me at some point.

        1. I was very scared to do it, but I was more scared of the SVT getting worse and happening while I was driving or trying to take care of my kids. The doctor said it would only get worse as I got older. I have to say, 6 weeks post-procedure and I am better than ever. Find a good electrophysiologist and go for it!

  13. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m 27 now but I developed SVT when I was 12 and got the ablation done at 14. The episodes would happen all of the time, even with medication, and it was horrible as a teenager to constantly need to leave school to go to the emergency room. I was also told by the cardiologist to give up the caffeine but I couldn’t give up my sports! The episodes always happened for me when I jumped around but they would never break unless I got the adenosine (aka the heartstopper). I’m so grateful for the experience. The SVT is why I became a pharmacist and my experience has helped me connect with my patients on a whole new level. Post-ablation, I do get some occasional PVCs but nothing that has made me end up in the ER again.

    For anyone who wants details on my ablation procedure, I will be more than happy to share! In a nutshell, it was very painful getting the catheters inserted/removed, I woke up while they burned the nerves (very strange sensation when it’s happening), and I was unsteady walking for about a week or so after the surgery. I got my procedure done at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (since I was still a kid at the time). All in all, I’m glad I did it. I feel like I got my life back!

  14. I am a sophomore in college and I have had SVT since I was in 8th grade. I had the ablation surgery during my senior year in high school, but it didn’t work and my episodes started up again 6 months later. I am also a long distance runner, so this causes difficulties. It usually gets up to 240 or above, but today it happened and it was 250 or 260 (it was racing too fast so I was having trouble counting the beats in my head). I am running a half marathon in a week and I am worried it will happen then, because I don’t know if I should stop for good if it happens, or just take a break and then start up again. To cope, I usually just lay down on my back right away. It keeps beating fast for 30 to 45 seconds and then stops beating for a second, and then starts up again at about resting heart rate.

    1. Hi Heather! I would highly recommend that you go see another electrophysiologist and discuss the failed ablation. I’ve heard of it taking more than one try to get rid of the extra pathway. It would be worth it. Such high HRs are no joke and I know how awful it can feel! I can tell you from personal experience that SVT gets worse, not better as you age. It would be well worth your time to seek out the most experienced electrophysiologist who specializes in ablations in your area. Please keep me posted on how you’re doing and what a doctor says if you go to see one. THANKS for sharing your story!

  15. Hi,

    Had an ablation in 2004. I had previously seen 3 cardiologists but none of them could ever “catch” the SVT when it was kicking in. They all said I was stressed and drinking too much coffee (I was drinking 1 cup a day!!!) Had to have surgery for endometriosis and the morning of surgery they hooked me up to the machine and gave me valium. As they were talking to me my heart rate started climbing (as per usual) and they kept telling me to “calm down”…….I explained to them that they had given me valium and I couldn’t BE anymore calm!!! With heart rate still elevated they wheeled me into surgery. woke up to be told they had to cancel the surgery because “you have a heart condition”. FINALLY!!!! They were finally able to catch the SVT on an EKG!!! Ended up having the ablation the following month. It’s been 9 years and so far so good. I’m about to start running though so I’m worried about that. Any suggestions? I”m taking it slow. I’ve never been a sporty person and I’ve used my “heart problem” as my excuse not to exercise!!!

    Glad to hear you’re doing OK. Any running advice for a fellow SVT’er?!?!?!? 😉

  16. Aww….so sorry! I’ve had SVT for 17 yrs…don’t like it much, but am not yet to the point of doing an ablation, although my cardiologist has offered! I used to lay down and wait for it to pass…I had a longer episode in the clinic where I work (I am an RN), and we put a monitor on me and my heart was going 248 bpm…the other RN said, “Noooo…that can’t be your heart!!” I tried valsava’s and it brought it down to 188…eventually it went away…but yeah, it scares me to exercise sometimes as I am a single mom now to my 3 kids and I can’t have anything happen to me.. And you are SO brave to be cardioconverted…I am scared for that day if it comes for me. I remember hearing horror stories in nursing school about it!!

    1. Rachel — Your comment is so encouraging to me! I was diagnosed with SVT last fall, and was told a few months (and many silly tests) later that I’m not a candidate for ablation, and because of where the excess tissue in my heart is located, will likely never be. The next step would be a pace maker… Which doesn’t sound like much fun at all — even less fun than ablation! So far, I have been able to slow my own heart rate by lying down and/or compression breathing. There’s always a little fear in the back of my head for the day these things don’t work to slow down my heart rate. The fact that you have been doing the same for 17 years is encouraging! For awhile, the doc told me not to exercise until they knew better exactly what was going on, and that pretty much got me out of the habit. I have been cleared to exercise for a couple of months now; just can’t seem to get my butt off the couch… but I’m working on it!

      1. I’m so sorry, Lauren! Have they talked to you about medication? The medication was a no-go for me because of the risk of depression (already predisposed) and being a high-level athlete, the forced lower heart rate wouldn’t work. But if you can handle those side-effects, it seems like it would be worth a try to avoid a pacemaker.

        The other thing is that maybe talk to your doctor about making an exercise plan in case an episode happens. When I was pregnant, my electrophysiologist and I came up with the plan that I would always run where EMTs would have easy access to me – neighborhoods or treadmill, basically. I was to have my phone with me at all times. If I had an episode I was to lie down immediately and call 911 and have the squad take me to the ER. It sounds dramatic, and I never had to actually do any of this!, but having a plan helped me overcome my fear.

        GOOD LUCK!!! Please keep us updated on how things go.

        1. The exercise plan is a good idea. I’m going to do that. As far as meds, I’m kind of SOL, because I have relatively severe asthma. (In fact, when this all started, I thought it was an asthma thing.) I guess the beta blockers they would give me for SVT don’t play well with symbicort or albuterol. Basically right now, I try to “live like a heart patient” as far as what I eat, etc. Doc told me to go ahead and exercise, but don’t go all out… He basically said to do 80% of what I want to do when I work out. (I’m a little competitive, so I guess that makes sense.) Mostly just learning to live with it. Glad I know what’s happeneing when it does happen, so at least I can (hopefully) explain a bit to medics if I ever get in real trouble. I have a valve thing going on, too, but basically they are just kind of watching all of it for now.

    2. Rachel,

      The ablation was seriously the best thing I have done. I didn’t run for 4 days. I did 40+ miles the week after it!

      Ha! As for the adenosine, I didn’t have a choice 🙂 It was scary as hell, but having a 200+ bpm for over an hour while pregnant is also scary as hell! Ha! I’m glad this is behind me. It’s been 7 months since the ablation and I would never ever know I ever had SVT or a major invasive heart procedure so recently! If you ever want to talk more about whether to do it, you know where to find me. I’d be happy to help 🙂

      Good luck!

  17. I have gotten this for years. I am 53, got lyme disease (had low level for years, many deer tick bites before with no treatment)
    had two heart episodes-high inflammatory rate and enzymes

    Anyway, my running has been doing great, usually win age group and have better times than women your age twenties and thirties and forties

    Did boston several years, ago and back to marathon running

    What seems to help is no sugar, no refined sugar
    I actually run better after a fasting state, and after maybe 13 or 14, start to have food

    Even eating a banana (fructose) can make the heart papitations-tachcardia.
    So, very limited diet. I don’t eat anything except the way god made it
    no gluten, no baked goods, fruits vigetables, yogurt

    Sugar I decided will bring it on, even from fruit. An apple may b OK versus a bannana
    before long distance running.

    My times became much faster, becuase I was not stoppedin my tracks, made to slow down when I got the similar heart thing…impossible to run with it, one time tried years ago, and muscles failed, and fell.

    So, I know it sounds bad, but running with no food, works for me.
    When I did a marathon (did finish-first in five years after lyme) I stupidly ate a bannana
    and a half and a whole cliff bar whichis loaded with refined organicsugar. Running was horrible, with heart thing happeneing four to five times. thefirst five miles. Then it kicked out when I drank water, to dilute the sugar and not gatorade,and was great for the next ten miles, upping my speed.

    I am going to experiment with eating two to threehours before, a bannana, and see what happens on my run. But runninginthe fasting state, morning with no food, is ideal and races where I had minimal to eat for atleast six hours before, I run the best.

    So the fuel concept, does not work for everyone. Some people have different bodies.
    Maybe stone age, needed people (not everyone) that could run just as effectively if not better (away from predators or to catch prey for dinner) with no food for several days

    1. Decaf has a tiny bit of caffeine in it, and even decaf sometimes triggers my SVT, so it depends on each individual and how their body reacts to caffeine. Chocolate has caffeine and a stimulant, too, and should be avoided if a person is hypersensitive to caffeine.

  18. HI Salty, I find your blog very helpful. I experienced the same thing about that resetting the heart and all. I was also brought to the ER, and then they gave me ADENOSINE thru IV also. Believe me, it freaked me out also. They even warned me that I will feel a little hard on the chest.

    I felt the same thing, I was like paralyzed for 5-10 seconds and I can’t explain it exactly. It was like something heavy is placed in my body pushing me down.

    The doctor said my heart stopped for a while they had it recorded in a mobile video cam. The goal is to really stop the heart to restart its beating rhythm. And then my heart beats normal again.

  19. Hi Salty, I have just been diagnosed with SVT…. And oh Boy, I do not really know what to think of it. I suffered similar symptoms as your with the difference that mine would wake me in the middle of the night – and thank goodness not as severe as yours! I have never been admitted and on an EKG while my heart was acting out. For me, if usually happens on days that I don’t run. really weird! I am reading that low potassium levels might be a contributing factor? Its been a couple years since your post – maybe they have came up with a treatment for you that I can discus with my md. Although he prescribed Verapamil, I do not want to start or do anything new at this point – I have a race coming up in less than 3 weeks….

    1. Did you tell your doctor (hopefully an electrhysiologist) that you are an athlete? Medication was not for me because of that and because I am at high risk for depression. I had an ablation. If you click on the supra ventricular tag on this post you’ll find a link to my post about the ablation. I don’t have a lot of time now, but email me if you need more info., saltyrunning at gmail. Good luck!

  20. I just found your blog. My son was diagnosed with SVT when he was 3 weeks old. He was medicated his first year and then it appeared to go away. It came back when he was around 5. It would usually require ER visits to bring him out of it so we opted for the ablation. That was 9 years ago. Last night he was at lacrosse practice (it’s conditioning week so intense workouts) and he had a 10 minute episode. First one in 9 years. He runs XC and has played lacrosse for all those years with no incidence. I have a call in to his cardiologist (whom I haven’t seen in 9 years) but I’m also wondering if the caffeine, dehydration, and lack of sleep from a sleepover may have contributed. I am trying not to get worked up but I so don’t want to do down this road again. 🙁

  21. After a very scary episode of what had been assumed to be anxiety attacks I just, at age 58, was diagnosed with SVT. For years, since high school, I have had various symptoms of SVT that have impacted the way I live my life. Now my fear is it happening again. I too had the pulp fiction treatment and a cardio-catheterization which showed an otherwise healthy heart.

    I am interested in reading the responses from runners like you who continue to run and get the heart pumping. I’m still not clear, being just days out of the hospital, whether or not it is okay to do so.

    My nine year old grandson has had some similar incidents making us wonder whether or not this is an hereditary condition.

    Thanks for the blog Salty

  22. Hi-I was pleasantly surprised to come across this blog. I am 31 and was just diagnosed with SPV. Ive had symptoms for years but was convinced they were normal. For the past few months the episodes have gotten more frequent. According to a halter monitor I had 4 episodes in a 24 hr period. I was only aware of one instance which tells me I am so used to it occurring that I don’t realize it. I am going for a second opinion but the first electophysiologist recommended ablation. Not sure how I feel about this since I have not needed to be hospitalized for an episode. I am typically able to use maneuvers to get my heart rate back to normal. I am also not a runner so this hasn’t affected me in that way. Is it guaranteed to become worse? I have cut out caffeine. Any suggestions?

  23. I was diagnosed about 6 weeks ago with SVT and spent a few days in hospital while they tested me to work out the most appropriate for of treatment. I’m taking meds that have so far controlled the episodes, but I’d like to start exercising more often and am concerned perhaps even medicated, this could trigger an attack.
    I’d rather not be on meds forever if i can avoid it, so hoping in the near future to look into the ablation option and whether i’m a suitable candidate.
    I have been told though, that if the meds are controlling the condition adequately, an ablation is not something that would be offered to me.

    Fortunately the meds I’m on are working to date, and I have no side effects of them, BUT, I’d really rather not be medicated. Any advice on both the exercising on meds and experience from others on managing SVT long term with meds?

    1. All I can tell you is what my EP told me: the meds were beta blockers and I was not a good candidate for medication because I’m an athlete who also happens to be prone to depression. Beta blockers keep your heart rate low and that’s no fun for athletes and they put you at an elevated risk for depression, from what I understand. My episodes were fairly benign until my last pregnancy and then after the episodes were viscous, so I’d probably get the ablation anyway. The ablation itself was not too bad. It was expensive (I’m in the states, so make of that what you will), but the recovery time was quick – I couldn’t run for 4 days and then I had palpitations for about 4 months after. Good luck! Keep us posted on what you decide!

  24. Thanks for your feedback! I am also not a candidate for meds because I already have low blood pressure. I’m anxious to see what happens when I’m hooked up to a 2 week monitor soon. I will also be seeing the new EP at the end of the month. I am glad the ablation went well for you. Ive had two c sections so I feel like i can handle surgery but I don’t particularly care for the way the its done. Did insurance not cover you?

    1. Thankfully we had insurance – it was an $85,000 procedure! We had a small portion of that out of pocket, but it was still substantial. What is it about the way it’s do e that bothers you? Maybe I can help you feel more at ease about it if you need to,or want to go that route. At a minimum, keep me posted on how things go! Good luck!

  25. I am 19 years old and had an SVT episode at the age of 14 my heart beat per minutes was ranging from 220 -240. One thing I usually do and works really well for me is getting a bucket of water and put ice in it and once the water is really cold you put your head in the water for 10 seconds holding your breath if that does not work try it again it works really good with me. I have had about 5 episodes in my life in which 2 out of the 5 episodes I went to the E.R and got administered Adenosine. TRY THE ICE WATER out it might work .:)

    1. I randomly just heard of this trick over the weekend! Sounds like it’s definitely worth a try for those having an SVT episode. THANKS!

  26. Hey Salty. Readings through all these posts today. My quick story – I started experiencing the SVT episodes about 3 years ago; first one when I was bending over to pick something up off the floor. During the ensuing couple of months, I would get them when bending over, but then also they would start for no apparent reason. Scary. Heart rate got up to 250+. Saw a cardio who put me on a monitor. They caught it, diagnosed as PSVT, and recommended an ablation. Had it done in NYC at Mt. Sinai 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve experienced a few SVT-like episodes. But, also have had very frequent PVCs since the day I left the hospital, something I never had before the ablation. So it’s been 2+ years now of trying to figure out and remedy these PVCs, which I’m told are not life threatening, but certainly don’t make me feel well through the day. Happy to discuss with you or anyone else on this thread who has experienced the same issues, as I’m continuously looking for answers. Certainly lots of the same information online about these things, so it can be tough to filer out the credible info! Hope you’re well.

    1. Hi! Thanks for sharing this!!! I experience funny feeling “palpitations” from time to time. My EP told me I would and said it was my heart beat trying to go into the old SVT pathway. It feels like I’m about to have a SVT episode, but then goes away. I was monitored for 2 months after my ablation and everything was normal – and I experienced a lot of these episodes post-ablation. SO I try not to worry about it too much. I find I have these sensations most often when I’m dehydrated or stressed. After the ablation I’d have them the worst every morning after I loaded my three kids in the car to head to school – the most stressful time of my day! Keep us posted if you find out what’s going on or how to remedy your issue!

  27. Thanks Salty. It certainly has not been a fun two years since the ablation, in that regard. I had hoped the ablation would cure the SVT, but it seems to have potentially created a problem while trying to remedy that. Very frustrating. My EPs and Cardios have all said that I’m just more aware of my heart now, and that I should just ignore the PVCs. However, I had a monitor prior to my ablation which showed less than 100 PVCs in a 24hr period. Two weeks after my ablation, I wore another 24hr monitor, which showed 2000+ PVCs. I now have anywhere from 2000 – 5000 per day, all post-ablation. Docs want to do another ablation, or have recommended numerous anti-arrythmic drugs – both options are not palatable to me at all. In trying to accept my doctors’ advice and believe that these PVCs have had nothing to do with my ablation, I’ve tried magnesium/calcium/potassium/CoQ10, limiting caffeine, chocolate, wine, cheese, carbs, acupuncture, etc., – but nothing has worked. Really stinks too because prior to all this heart stuff, I was boxing and running and in great shape, with no other major health issues, and never thought about heart beats. Haven’t done much exercising since, given the instilled fear of heart issues now. No matter what, my Cardio and EPs (all top, well-respected NYC docs) swear up and down that the ablation had nothing to do with my PVCs, but it’s hard to agree with that given my experience pre and post-ablation. Sorry to drone on. I do hope you’re getting better each and every day, and that you’re able to run safely post ablation. If you ever want to catch up offline, happy to. Thanks for posting this blog. Always helpful to hear and share knowledge about these things!

  28. So glad you shared your story.

    I could relate!

    As a mom to 3 avoiding stress is near impossible. I am on beta blockers, for a year now but I have been a bit down. I’m frightened of the ablation but soon I might have to do it.

    I take Xanax to combat my anxiety about it. Which I hat taking!!

    I’m so glad it is not life threatening but it has greatly impacted my quality of life.

    I look forward to reading your ablation story.

  29. You got it Lindsay! Happy to share, and so you know you’re not alone with all this stuff. And most thanks to Salty, for creating this great blog about these matters. If you are considering the ablation, you should definitely inquire from your EP/Cardio about possible post-ablation effects, like increased PVCs. I personally would be curious what your docs say, since mine never ever mentioned anything of the sort. They too prescribed beta blockers post my ablation, but those made me quite lethargic, so I got off them within a week. I’ve since avoided anti-arhythmic (sp?) meds, but have definitely thought about anti-anxiety meds like Xanax. But that just makes me more frustrated that I might have to get on those things all because of this SVT ablation. So, I’m “drug free” right now. Just make sure you really quiz your docs and understand the precise details of the procedure. I think it helps lots of people for this condition – it is the medical community’s prescribed choice for this – but just be aware of potential after effects.

  30. Hello
    So glad i found you
    I have had pvc’s for years and i am on metoporal for past 3 years and it has helped
    In jan I had my first tacacardia 200 bpm and had to be given the medicine…wow I think i sorta passed out
    Dr thought he was gonna have to use paddles!
    I saw rythem Dr and we discussed ablation but with only one episode i hesitate i hear it is a pretty rough procedure
    Big problem now is I am strugging with anxiety big time thinking it will happen again
    Every time i feel the pvc’s which is most every day i panic
    Can u pls email me so we can talk more?
    Thank you

  31. Similar to you, I experienced these episodes for about 7 years, then I finally had enough. They were happening more frequently and it was getting harder to calm my heart down. About 4 years ago I had a procedure called a Catheter Ablation, where the entered my artery through my groin and essentially deadened my extra electrical pathway. I haven’t had an episode since! I can now run in peace, not fearing for my life. I would definitely recommend the survey. The recovery time was only a couple of weeks and the surgery itself only took about an hour.

  32. Great post! I’m 25 and have been experiencing attacks since I was 18 or so, but the one that made me get an ablation lasted an hour and sent me to the ER. I got the ablation done four days ago and feel mostly normal. How long did it take you to get back into running? I’m a runner too and am feeling anxious to start back up again!

  33. I was just discharged from critical care yesterday for an SVT attack. I have been having, what doctors have called “anxiety” attacks since I was 18. So as usual, I thought I was having another mini anxiety attack. They tend to be worse when I’m getting out of the shower. All the others are quick flutters, which go away with a deep breath. This one didn’t. I took a half of a Xanax, waited 15 minutes. Nothing. Took another half. 20 minutes later, my chest was visibly pumping. I went to the bathroom for water and realized I was pasty white and covered in sweat. I immediately got myself to the hospital where they hooked me up to the EKG machine and my heart rate was at 260 bpm. I was instructed to do the vagal maneuver which instantly dropped my heart rate to 107. Whew. I have had 2 small episodes since coming home yesterday. I have spoken with a cardiologist office and am waiting to hear back about when I can be seen. I have been prescribed Metoprolol to take if my heart rate is over 60 in the morning. This post and all the comments have actually put me at ease. I was so scared and uneasy feeling inside. I wish you all the best of luck.

  34. Oh my goodness!!! I am so glad I found your blog, these heart episodes are exactly what was happening to me when I bend over sometimes…usually the day after I exercise, or I am stressed!

    Maybe this has already been mentioned, as I haven’t read all of the comments, but I have found something that WORKS for me to make it go away within minutes if you do it right away….(well, at least it works for me)…and it seems to work EVERY time so far. So as soon as I feel that familiar first palpitation/flip flop, I know it’s going to happen, so I immediately get to a location like a sofa or bed to lie down (luckily I’ve not been in a place where I couldn’t do this yet, but I have no pride when it comes to this and I would lay down on anything to stop it)…but the key is to ELEVATE your feet up above your head. Then breathe deep and calm down (which is easy for me to say now, because I always freak out) and I am not kidding, these have always gone away within a minute or so…no medication, no anything. Hope this helps somebody…blessings, and thank you for the info!

  35. Thanks for this post!!! It’s been 15 years that I am looking for someone or something like your blog! It seems we share the same condition!

    I am 30 years old and I had my first “attack” when I was 15. Cardiologist told me it’s nothing to worry about, but later I noticed that they tend to do that when they see someone so young complaining about their heart 🙂

    When I was 20 I started doing lots of sport (again) and my attacks were more often and more expected. By more expected I mean is that now I know when to expect it: if I do a long distance run and control my breathing and pulse it’s not as often as when I do sprints, boxing or any type of rapid/uncontrolled exercise…

    It usually lasts for 2 minutes with heart rate around 200> that goes back to normal if I stop with the exercises. It also “fires” sometimes when I bend or do some weird movement, but these are really short…
    I went again when I was 22, 28 and after the holter, EKG etc. they spotted nothing rare…

    I did have a few episodes that complicated a bit in a sense that they went on for 10-15 minutes and when I panicked a bit they went worse, but since I’ve been living with this for 15 years now I don’t easily panic anymore 🙂

    I’ve just come back from my 4th cardiologist 🙂 and finally we caught the attack on the HOLTER so now at least they can’t ignore it… He’s sending me to a tachycardia specialist to perform further analysis 😉 I’ll keep you posted 🙂

    Thank you so much for this post!

    1. I had a very similar response from cardiologists until the paramedics caught it on EKG – finally after all those years! And yes, we do get desensitized to it especially after several doctors tell us it’s nothing. In fact, I just thought my SVT episodes were harmless palpitations that many runners must experience and I was working on a post about it when I had that big episode that sent me to the Er! In the end I’m glad to finally find out what it is and to have it fixed. Mine was random, rare and manageable until I was 37 and then suddenly it got way worse – more frequent and severe. So keep that in mind and I hope your specialist (an electro physiologist I presume) is a good one! When it comes to the ablation do your homework and talk to as many doctors as you need to to feel comfortable with it. Good luck!

      1. Well, thank you so much and I hope you are all coming back with the good news 🙂 You know what, the only disturbing thing I found in your post was – no more coffee – 🙂 I’m gonna wait my electro physiologist to confirm SVT and tell me face to face: “Luka, no more coffee!!!”
        Thank you so much for sharing this and calming a lot of around there with this condition…
        I am sure many marathons are yet to come 🙂

  36. Salty-I left a comment a few months ago about my svt. I got hooked up to a 2 week monitor and they found that I was having multiple issues daily, some of which I was not even aware. I had an ablation done about a week and a half ago. It wasn’t such a bad experience and my doctor thinks he was able to fix the problem. He doesn’t think I’ll need another ablation done. Hopefully, I’ll feel the effects in a couple months. I have some weird beats going on every now and then but this is to be expected. Anyone contemplating an ablation should ask a lot of questions, but I am glad I went through with it. I was worried my issues would get worse the older I get. Thanks for your blog and sharing your story!

    1. Thanks for keeping me updated! I’m glad your ablation went well. I had a lot of palpitations for about 5 months and then they got better. I still have times when I have a lot, but usually I don’t any more. Good luck with your recovery!

  37. Hey Salty and everyone. I’m curious about your experience post-ablation with PVCs. I’d been diagnosed with SVT/AVNRT, and had an ablation over 2 years ago to fix this. The day after the ablation, I started experiencing PVCs on a daily basis (2000+), something I had not had before. After years of searching for answers, I’ve come to the informed conclusion that the ablation caused a new focus from the scarring, which resulted in the new arrhythmia (that’s a tough word to spell!). Also, after years of trying to avoid them, I’m now on light meds for the PVCs, which so far aren’t really helping all too much unfortunately. Salty, I see that you had PVCs after your ablation. How frequent were they? Did they just go away altogether, or did you take any meds post ablation? Anyone else with a similar story, and hopefully with a happier ending than mine? Thanks for the insights!

    1. My ep had me monitor my palpitation episodes after the ablation for a couple of months and we discussed the resulTs oF the monitor, which reassured me a lot. He said everything was normal. Have you worn a holster monitor or other type of monitor to record these incidents for an ep?

      1. Hey. Yes, I’ve worn way too many Holters and other types of monitors since. I have been reassured by my EP and Cardio that the PVCs, as frequent as they are (every day, all day, all night!), are benign. Still, it’s not a great feeling, and there are times when the episodes feel quite disturbing. This is why I’ve finally ceded to trying medication to control them. But, did you have any PVCs pre-ablation? Or did they all start post-ablation? And how frequent were they? And most importantly, did they just subside on their own? Thanks!

        1. I noticed a marked decrease in palpitations about 4-5 months after the ablation. Now I feel tem occasionally when lying down or running hard. My understanding is they are caused by your heart rhythm wanting to go into the old SVT pathway but not getting in because it’s blocked. I have some days when it’s worse than others. I have a cold right now and I noticed it a lot yesterday. I would think based on that that anything that triggers your SVT might trigger these issues. I know you’re frustrated, but I think you should find an electro physiologist to talk to that will listen to you. Maybe you need a full ep study and not just a monitor? I don’t know. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for! Please keep me posted.

      2. Thanks Salty. If anything, mine have been quite consistent, literally starting the day after my ablation. My EPs (I sought a second opinion) have both sworn up and down that there is zero causal relation between the ablation and the PVCs. Only recently did my Cardio (also a second opinion) indicate that the PVCs could be caused by a focus created from the scarring caused by the ablation. I’m not a doctor, but I can say that given no other factors, it is quite an odd coincidence indeed that these started the day after my ablation (res ipsa loquitor!). I’ve also done research and spoken with others similarly situated, who have received the same advice from their EPs, and continue to suffer these PVCs. Life threatening, perhaps not. But truly game-changers in terms of quality of life, as many on this thread may know. Glad to hear yours subsided. Mine used to spike more when I felt run down or about to get sick. But the past couple of months, they’ve been thumping around tirelessly. I’ve heard from others that it could take up to a year for them to completely subside post-ablation, but as it’s been over 2 years for me, well, there’s been no end to these yet. For anyone considering an ablation, I’d be sure to vet all this with your EP and Cardio. It really hasn’t been pleasant on the other side of the procedure. Seems to have solved one thing, but created something potentially worse. If I do find some magical elixir, I’ll let y’all know!

        1. This won’t help you now, but anyone considering getting ablation should talk to at least 2 eps and research their credentials. I went with one that wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, but he taught about ablations at an excellent medical school and wrote several papers on the procedure. I also talked to another ep that so friends with a fa,ily member and he had nothing but great things to say about my doctors expertise. It gave me a lot of comfort.

          It frustrates me that some doctors think as long as it’s not life threatening that it’s acceptable to live with a miserable condition. I hope you find a solution and short of that I hope you can at least find some peace with your situation. And please please please let me know how things go for you. Thanks for sharing your experience!

          1. Thanks Salty, appreciate your kind words. What I’ve learned from this new world of cardiology that I’ve found myself in is that it’s all good until it isn’t, and unfortunately, that’s not all too settling. I think EPs and Cardios consider PVCs in particular to be like “headaches of the heart”, or akin to hiccups. If benign (and again, that’s what I’m told, but there are times…), there’s not much to do to cure them, only to try and improve quality of life via medication, ablation, or just ignore ’em. What’s been most frustrating is the constant refusal in the medical community to accept that there is a link between ablations and PVCs (despite studies and testimonials from many), and so I can’t caution people enough to really look into all this before having an ablation. As for my EPs, the one who performed the procedure had a solid reputation and practices in a top-notch hospital. And for my second opinion EP, he is one of the top EP docs in NYC. Nonetheless, here I am! Anyhow, again, thanks for the forum here. Will certainly keep you posted.

  38. The ER docs said no coffee, but them my electro physiologist (the expert) said caffeine causing SVT episodes was a myth and to go ahead and drink it in moderation 🙂

  39. Hi Salty,
    I’m so glad I came across your blog! I literally googled “SVT and exercise” and your post came up. Your story is almost identical to mine….which I found crazy! I am 28 years old and had been dealing with SVT since I was 13…but didn’t know it. I would see the cartiologist and wear the heart monitor for a couple days but everything came back normal. I was officially diagnosed with SVT about 6 years ago in the ER while pregnant. I was taken by ambulance to the ER with a HR of 220. They also gave me adenosine to restart my heart. You are right…It was amazing to see the response from doctors when a pregnant woman has a heart problem! The only difference in my story was that I wasn’t exercising. I get anxiety when my heart rate gets high. I had an ablation done a few years ago and it has helped tremendously. I still get little heart flutteres but nothing like before. Now after having 2 kids….I’m wanting to get into an exercise routine but have that fear still in my head that my heart will start racing. After reading your post and the comments I am encouraged that I can do it….thank you!

    1. My experience with heart palpitations and a heart rate that goes 198 or higher happen when I am low in iron, just wonder how many other woman have low iron as I also had my heart checked which was fine but after some research where I found out low iron causes palpitation I went for Iron infusions when iron levels up no palpitations after several heavy periods iron dropped and they started again, time for more iron. Just a thought for anyone who may not know low iron can be one of the causes

  40. Such a great post. I too have SVT episodes. I had my first one when I was 18. I had several over the years, but nothing that ever caused any major alarm. I continued with my normal exercise routine, eating habits, etc.. I complained to my GP a few times and because they were never able to “catch” them on an EKG and my heart looked normal and healthy there was nothing they could do. When I was 28 I was pregnant with my 2nd child and had a pretty intense episode. My husband who worked right next door to me, took a walk with me to calm everything down.. It soon passed after about 20 minutes. I went to the doctor again to be told I was probably anxious. Which I knew was crazy at that time. I then started having many episodes. I went to a cardiologist again to be told I need anti-anxiety medication.. I of course took nothing for it. I just dealt with it. I continued on, and had 1 more child. After the birth of my 3rd child, I would have times that would be unbearable. I was a stay at home mom and was alone the majority of the time. I began to get scared to venture out at this time.. As I was fearful of passing out while alone with the kids. So, I began to limit my time going out alone.. I would go to the store, rush through the shopping and rush back home. It was terrible. Soon the SVT episodes not being diagnosed became over whelming and I think made my husband question my sanity. I was the only person in the world that thought I had a problem. Because they couldn’t “catch” it. Well I eventually stopped driving, developed a full blown fear of being a lone and have since lost many years of my life sitting in the house and fearing an episode in public. FEB. 6, 2013 my husband and I went to the grocery together. After shopping we walked across the parking lot and my heart began to do it’s thing. I told him it was acting up and I wanted to go home and not to make any more stops. We got to our van and loaded up all the groceries. I grabbed the cart and returned it to the cart collector bin. Walked back over and climbed into the passenger seat. The rush was too much to handle.. I told him I need to walk around so I could try and calm myself down and get this thing to stop. Well that didn;t work. So, he drove us over to the Urgent Care place, which was not open. So I then said well I think I need to go to the hospital. New to this area we had no idea where the hospital was, so he pulled into a car lot and had them call 911 for us. The ambulance picked me up and rushed me to the ER. I explained to the ER doctor that I was sorry that I was so anxious, but needed his help calming me down. He looked me in the face and said this is not anxiety. Your experiencing an episode of SVT. Has this happened before? I told him yes, it has many times over the past 16 years. But the cardiologist said I was just too anxious. he then told me to find a new cardiologist. He gave me 3 different medications to slow my heart rate, as I was not wanting to be shocked with the defibrillator to restart my heart. I was scared it wouldn’t start back. Comes to find out I have a few issues with my potassium and now take a supplement daily. I am slowly now accepting the fact that I have had this issue for 16 years. I am learning that it is not uncommon with people like me, that were always active and ran. I used to run about 5 miles a day 4 to 5 days a week and would do a quick 2 mile run on the off days. my resting heart rate was always high for a runner, which was weird, but the great care I took of my heart conditioned it to be able to handle the 250+ for over an hour without having any major issues. I am currently trying to get myself back into an exercise routine as I have gained weight from the medication I am on daily to help “prevent” it from happening again.. I still wake up every morning with an elevated rate and have small bouts with it throughout the day. But feel so much better when I read stories like yours and see that even though it did stop my life for years.. I can now at 35 start over with a clean slate, and perhaps someday be back to my old exercise junkie self.. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story. I know it is so hard to open up about these moments of not having control of your body. You’ve been a great encouragement to me, and I am sure others.

  41. I felt like I was reading a chapter out of my book! 27 weeks pregnant, bent over to get a washcloth out of the tip and bam. Paramedics came and by the time they got to my house it had corrected itself and they told me I was having a panic attack. Few weeks later it happene again and I had my husband take me to the ER. Telling myself I was being silly, I had him drive me over 45 minutes to the hospital and was at 220 when I got there. They told me to bear down and after that not working they gave me the wonderful adenosine. Had my ablation last spring. Dr said it was so bad he couldn’t ablate because my heart was so sensitive Everytime he went to ablate, I would go into svt. Thankfully it’s been a year and haven’t had an issue since. Only problem now is that if was so traumatized (how helpless you feel and realize you are when things like that happen) and now have a bit of anxiety being alone which really sucks. Used to LOVE being alone and now I hate it 🙁 thanks for sharing your story!!

  42. Hello all. Glad to see that I am not alone in dealing with this crappy problem and others also have much anxiety about the issue. (Dr.s told me as a teen it was “anxiety” as well). I am a distance runner as well and I can usually avoid SVT if it’s not too warm, but if my body temp heats up too much- bam- here it comes. I also have difficulty at times with episodes occurring during interval training. I have tried to incorporate these workouts into my training cycle in hopes of getting a little faster to achieve a certain time goal in the marathon distance. But, it’s darn scary not knowing if the episode will dissapate on it’s own or if you must seek medical intervention. Yea- absolutely no caffeine for me as even a small amount from a cup of green tea will likely induce an episode. I currently take a small dose of beta blocker which blunts episodes a little, but as a runner I also have issues with very low BP (like 86/60) that makes me so sleepy! Can’t win here. Anyways, I am in my early 40’s and as others have mentioned Dr. said it will only get worse as you get older… So most likely ablation for me next spring though I am TERRIFIED and have major anxiety issues in addition to the SVT related variety. I just hope for relief for myself and others with this condition !

  43. Thank you so much to Salty Running for writing this post & to all the amazing, brave commenters! I was just diagnosed with SVT this Monday (Labor Day) after, like so many of you, a very scary visit to the ER where I had to be given intrevenious medicine to get my heart rate back to normal after over an hour of a 200 bpm rate episode. My goodness, did the medicine feel straight out of a sci-fi movie! I think the scariest part for me was having defibrillators placed on my chest just in case the medicine didn’t work. It was such a surreal feeling! However, I’m very grateful to know what I have & to be able to see a cardiologist to get support on managing my symptoms. It’s been 12yrs without a diagnosis (I had my first episode at 18 & went mis-diagnosed as having panic attacks for many years though I kept explaining it felt as if it was clearly happening from my heart). It means so much to know there are others living active lives with the condition. I’ve been an endurance athlete my whole life & had just raced a half marathon two days before, feeling great afterwards. I even did a fun lifting workout the morning of the day my episode took place & felt awesome at the time. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for sharing your life experiences so others such as myself could feel hopeful, safe, & strong. Thank you! Receiving this diagnosis at the start of the first week of pursuing my PhD has been a lot to take in & hearing your words has meant the world! Truly <3

    1. It feels so good to finally figure it out, right?! Are you thinking of getting an ablation? If you have any questions feel free to post them here or email me at saltyrunning at gmail. Thanks for sharing YOUR story!!! And congrats on the half 🙂

  44. Hi All
    It appears I am lucky and have SVT and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome – supposedly unheard of. My heart rate is bizarre, but I won’t go into the details. I have had two adenosine shot occasions – one @ 220 bpm requiring 2 @ 6mg, the other @ 230bpm required 3 @ 6mg. THIS IS USEFUL – Each time we went through the vagal manoeuvres with no success. On my 3rd visit the Dr told me to do the vagal stuff and I thought what’s the point and reluctantly went through the motions. He told me to keep blowing into the syringe, “keep blowing, keep blowing”. I felt like I was about to pass out (and I don’t experience dizziness, faintness or shortness of breath from 230+ bpm SVTs) and then suddenly my heart rate dropped! I had some success at home with this, but one day things were “sticky” and I had eight incidents with the eighth not responding – it would go down and go up again. So, off to the ER after about an hour. This time I offered to have one last try at the vagal. My heart was “only” 183 (low for me during an SVT). So, I blew and kept blowing – my heart rate shot up to 230 and the machine started beeping. The Dr and Nurse urgently told me to stop, but I gestured to say “hold on” and kept going for another 10 or 20 seconds and suddenly the rate dropped. So, I would only suggest you do this lying down, but it gives me confidence that I can stop SVT without a visit to ER. It works for me and I am not suggesting it will work for everyone – we are all different. I was sceptical of the vagal manoeuvres, but was lucky to run into a Dr who pushed me that bit further – which I resented at the time until it worked. I have used a pen and even my finger to blow on, so it doesn’t need to be a syringe which is a bit embarrassing to carry around. Anyway it is not a long term solution but handy.

    Also, I have been on 180 mg Verapamil (Calcium Channel Blocker) sustained release after a beta blocker caused me to put on 8 kilos in a month and I still had several incidents a day. Calcium Channel Blockers are less prone to aggravate depression, but it does happen and there are other side effects. It has been 1.5 months and, while I initially thought it was doing nothing, suddenly I am getting less SVT incidents (still having POTS up to 160 BPM sustained just from standing up though). Suddenly I am getting days without incident or only one short incident. My weight has been stable. I know this isn’t great, but it is an improvement – hope it may improve more. Eventually I guess I will have an ablation – will help SVT but not POTS.

  45. I have the same exact thing this year i turn 13 and I was diagnosed with wow when I was 10 days old but this year I was escorted out school by and ambulance and taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with svt I have to take meds I don’t want an ablation

  46. Hello,

    Have you ever figured out how to control these episodes? What you describe sound an awful lot like what I have experienced. I have had it happen twice during exercise. Both times I was at the end of a pretty intense workout. I was wearing a heart monitor and it was around 140-150 and I was waiting for it to drop down before I started another set and instead of slowly dropping it increases like crazy. 150, 160, 175… that’s about when I start feeling really terrible and I rip of my monitor and walk over to the training staff encase I pass out. It took 5-10 minutes to feel good enough to even drive home and I felt crappy for another hour or so after that, EKG normal, the doc wants me to wear a heart monitor for 30 days and encourages me to work out but I’m afraid to. He thinks it may be a panic attack. Because I do feel similar at times but my heart rate is not as high. ..Maybe that’s what a panic attack feels like when you’re already at 140 BPM… Mine goes to 120 or so when I get one while at a desk for instance. SO both are a 40 beat increase… Who knows

  47. Hello,
    I have Wolf Parkinson White syndrome too!!! It got bad when I was 15. It’s very rare and it took a while for doctors to diagnose it, luckily my family could pay for me to go private and they gave me a heart monitor for a week instead of a day so they were more likely to find it. Then they offered for me to have a heart ‘ablation’ to stop it. I had it done and I’m so glad I did! I am now 19 & training in musical theatre&dance and it would have been annoying to keep stopping everytime I had a palpitation. It was a painless procedure, they put a catheter through the top of my legs and got to the heart that way and closed the little hole which was causing the pulse to go round in circles. Have you been offered to have an ablation?
    a doctor could explain a bit better than I have but hope this has helped..

  48. Wow! I JUST got diagnosed with SVT after over 10 years of not knowing and not thinking much of it! I too am a runner. I have become good at using the Vagal maneuvers to break my rhythm! However I may have to look into other ways of treating it if they continue! It’s weird to have lived with it for so long not knowing, as you did!! How often do you have the rhythms??

  49. I was diagnosed with SVT at 8 years old and am now 52! It has never stopped me from doing or eating anything. If an attack comes on I will constrict all the muscles in my body which usually stops it. I tried beta blockers once but they made me so tired I stopped. I find the episodes kick up if I am very tired or stressed out. I drink about 2 cups of coffee of day, then green tea after lunch. A few beers or glasses of wine on the weekend. Everything in moderation works for me!! I do find I cannot take any type of cold medicine at night or I do not sleep, but I rarely have the cold or flue, so that is no big deal!

    1. Interesting! That was pretty much my experience until my 3rd pregnancy. Curious if you’ve ever been pregnant and if pregnancy affected your svt at all.

  50. So I’m 20 and I’ve had a very similar case, they diagnosed me with reentrant tachycardia which is extremely similar to what you explained. I’ve had this since I was 10 and they said its stress induced… multiple medications later, and it’s still not going away. they went in to do an EP study to check out the Electronic Pulses in my heart but didn’t see anything. then an ablation, but they couldn’t “mock” the heart rhythm that they had seen multiple times on my heart monitor that I wore for months. I honestly am giving up hope on ever being normal again and not having to tone down my daily routine, which includes school full time and a full time job. l am torn in between just letting my heart be, even though it’s freaking out all the time, or to go to a more intensive unit for heart care… please help 🙁 or if anyone has a similar case, reach out!

    1. I’d find a new electrophysiologist and get a new study done. Don’t give up!!! This can be a tricky condition to nail down and it takes the right doctors, doing the right things at the right time. I didn’t figure out what was going on with me until I was 37! But then all the circumstances were right, the docs finally figured it out (nope, not actually a crazy hypochondriac afterall) and we were able to fix it. Keep the faith!!!

  51. Hello
    I’m a mother of a twenty-two year old girl who has supraventricular tachycardia since eleven. She had two episodes at twelve and then after eleven years she had a third episode ( December 2014) and a fourth ( May 2015) when she had to take adenosine. At that time,the doctors in the public hospital said she should have an electrophysiologic study and an ablation but a private cardiologist said she shouldn’t worry and should not have the ablation, at least so early. She has never taken any medicine for the condition and she’s not willing to take them in the future. I’m writing to you because I came across your blog and as you had an ablation, I’d like to know if everything went well and if it cured your condition. I’d like to ask you to e-mail me if you can. Thanks for your help.

  52. Hi Salty, I have experienced short episodes of rapid heart beat about seven or eight times in the past four years. It has lasted sometimes for a minute to about three or four minutes sometimes. It has come randomly with no predisposing onset, and it has come while I was doing a weightlifting workout at the gym. And yes, apart from the first two times it happened to me, I do exactly what you mentioned, just sit down and try to wait patiently for it to go away. And I hate it when people tell me it’s a panic attack, I know what’s a panic attack and this is not it because it comes without me even thinking about anything worrying. It’s funny because I just graduated from medical school so I know what it is, but yeah it does suck to have it. And it still irritates me when people try to convince me I’m having a panic attack lol
    I haven’t had it as frequently as you have, and I what you are referring to as you probably know already is Adenosine, it literally blocks the heart, and you feel like you are dead. In med school they taught us that we should always explain to the patients that the drug will make them feel almost as if they are at the brink of death but it is only temporary and it should solve the problem.
    Well, just wanted to share my thoughts, hope all is well with your kids and family 🙂

    1. Yes, it was adenosine and that’s almost verbatim what the docs said to me about it 🙂 My episodes were very sporadic until that third pregnancy and then they became pretty relentless and unbearable, so I really had no choice but get the ablation. If SVT is annoying you, do it! I have zero regrets. Also, agreed on the panic attack. People thought I was crazy – even cardiologists who I explained it to.

  53. Hi Salty,

    Just read your blog with interest, and wanted to thank you for sharing your experience. I am a 40-year-old mom of three, as well. My youngest is 2 years old now, and every since that pregnancy something in me has changed with my heart – I get these weird “episodes” that feel like rapid fluttering, for lack of a better word. I also get a lot of pounding, sometimes up to 160 BPM, but after about 15 minutes it stops. After reading your experience, I wonder if this is SVT.

    I have worn holter monitors and a 30-day event monitor, what came up was PVCs, PACs, atrial couplets, and sinus tachycardia during the pounding episodes. What I have not been able to catch on any monitor are these weird “fluttering” episodes that happen so randomly, only last for maybe 5-45 seconds, and then stop (occasionally leaving me dizzy and short of breath, and scared). There appears to be no rhyme or reason to it, and the cardiologists don’t seem to take me seriously, and say it’s just anxiety. but I am not anxious when it happens. It does, however, cause anxiety afterward! The last two times it happened were once when I first woke up and bent over to pick up my phone, which had fallen into the floor….rapid/flutters for about 10-20 seconds then stopped. That was a month ago. It happened again yesterday when my 2-year-old woke up at night and I saw with her on the couch to console her. Again just sat down while carrying her, and the fluttering sensation took off again for 5-10 seconds. IT feels almost like the atrial couplets did, but lasts longer…

    I am wondering if any of your SVT episodes felt like rapid fluttering. Not so much pounding, but a weird fluttering sensation. I have gone through so many tests with multiple cardiologists, and have had no luck, except being prescribed beta blockers, which doesn’t stop these fluttering episodes. The cardiologists seem to not give a damn, roll their eyes, and say it’s anxiety. I don’t feel like I am being taken seriously. One offered to do an implantable monitor (similar to an event monitor, but lasts 2 years inside your body). Another said to take flecanide.

    This is starting to make me phobic about driving with my kids, and my husband travels a lot for work, and I am often alone with them.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience.


  54. HI all- i have likely had psvt since I was born and remember episodes from about age 6 on. I am generally able to control them with the vagal manuver though they worsened in frequency and intensity while pregnant each time with my wonderful children. I am 34 now and getting more into running and continuing to have episodes- 3-5 /mo generally for 2-3 minutes to 15-20 mins. I have a heart rate app on my phone and despite wearing a variety of monitors several times they have never “caught” an episode. I have thankfully been able to document my episodes ranging from 220-250 on my phone now multiple times. I have an appointment with my general physician in a couple of weeks and hope to get a referral to the cardiologist again. I am seriously considering the ablation procedure. I met with an EP a couple of years ago and was scared off by the procedure but am contemplating now after being encouraged by all of these hopeful stories and recoveries! Thanks for having this blog- I have never known anyone else with this condition- let a lone a whole community of folks. Hoping this works for me too!

    1. Hi Emma. This is my first time reading this article and I’m not sure, as it has been a few months, if you’ve already had your procedure. I just wanted to say that I highly recommend ablation surgery (for these matters anyway). There are 2 different types, for anyone reading and interested. One is a bit more risky, but if your doctor really believe in “first do no harm” you should be fine. Radio frequency ablation goes in through the inner thigh/groin area and burns those extra electrical pathways causing the problem. If (like in my case) one is too close to the AV node, your doctor may likely back out and leave it. I had 3. They got rid of 2. I now really only deal with PVCs (pre-ventricular contractions) occasionally, but I’m also on meds to keep those episodes infrequent. Will be going back soon to receive cryo ablation (the less risky option). Like radio frequency they go in through the thigh, but they use a nitrogen cooled tip to freeze the pathway to oblivion instead. This affords them the ability of accidentally hitting the av node without doing irreparable damage and they can slowly cool down an area to make sure they’re getting the desired result. If not, they back off, no harm done. If so, they freeze until they’ve freeze “burned” the pathway into oblivion. Can’t wait to have this procedure, as I’m currently on fecanide and metoprolol twice a day and it keeps my resting hr around 60-65 and my blood pressure quite low. This sucks bc I’m exercising regularly and trying to keep my hr at at least 100 is a bitch to do, compared to others anyway. So, that’s my opinion of the procedures in case you were interested or hadn’t yet had them done.

  55. Hi,
    I was recently diagnosed with SVT but have been experiencing it for years. Same story, all tests would come back perfectly normal. After the holidays I began having this recurring dream where I was choking and I would wake gasping for air. Didn’t think much of it since I have weird dreams all the time. On my way to work one day I felt like I had heartburn and planned to get to work and pop a tums. A few minutes later, my heart began racing and I felt lightheaded and short of breath. For a very scary moment I didn’t think I would make it to work (I work in a hospital) without calling an ambulance. I forced myself to relax and when that didn’t work I called my dad and had him talk to me for comfort. Finally it subsided. These episodes started happening just about every day, some times a stretch of 3 days would go by before it happened again. It was interrupting my life at work and at home. After an event monitor (30 day monitoring) they found SVT and I have been on medicine which luckily has stopped them. I do notice shortness of breath and nausea when I have forgotten to take the medicine the day before. After reading up on what exactly SVT is (and comparing it to my heart monitor) I realize the “dream” was my heart racing and my breathing trying to catch up. I am thankful the medicine is working and hope it continues to! It does make me feel better to read other people’s stories.

  56. I have experienced what feels like a hiccup in my heart it happens infrequently maybe 1 a month give or take. Only once was it so strong I had to take a moment. My dad, his mom, and maybe my lil sister now, all have SVT my dad had surgery the zap your heart thing. He also takes pills, and has a
    gallstone 4mm in diameter that gives him heck. I’m 18 and I don’t think what I have is life threatening at the moment so I don’t want to make a big deal of it especially with all the crazy stuff already going on.

    1. Even if I do schedule an appointment I’ll just get a heart monitor thing to wear and they won’t see anything because they’re so infrequent

  57. I have this, and it’s getting more frequent. I’m not sure if that’s totally age related or if extra weight is also a factor, but mine used to be around 140 beats per minute when it happened every few years, and now it’s always around 210, which feels like a drum roll, and happened after 9 months, then 16 months, then 6 months, then 3 months. I’m lucky that the adenosine isn’t nearly as bad for me as it seems to be for others, but I sure wouldn’t do it for fun. I get neck and upper back pain/pressure….more like if you had the granddaddy of all burps needing to come out, and my legs hurt some too, but not my chest or head. The vagal (or Valsalva) maneuvers don’t seem to work for me. I try coughing, bearing down hard, breathing as if blowing into a straw, and ice water on my face if it’s handy. The coughing does work from time to time if it feels like something might be trying to start up, but so far never when it actually has started. I know you posted this a few years ago. I hope you’re doing well.

  58. I’m 15 and I’ve experienced the same things you have for about 2 years now. I had always been curious why my chest would feel like butterflies and my breathing would get heavy even if I was resting! It was quite a scary ordeal if I’m being completely honest! I’ve had to wear a month long heart monitor before so we could catch one of my “episodes” and after that we went to talk with the doctors to get their input on what we should do. They gave me the options to either do nothing, take medication for the rest of my life, or have a catheter ablation surgery. I chose to have the surgery because I don’t want to have to worry about having to take medication every day, or have to worry about stopping my next softball game just so I can sit in the outfield until it passes every time! I had my first surgery in April of 2016, which proceeded to not work. The doctors told me that it was pretty rare for it to not work the first time but I still had the option to have another procedure. I had decided, and for the same reasons, to have another surgery. This was around the end of October 2016 (they actually had me stay awake for this surgery and I can remember practically all of it!) I am now hoping and praying that this one will work out! They also told me that if this one doesn’t work, I will have the option to do a 3rd surgery but this will be my final one because if they get too close and freeze my main node in my heart then they will have to insert a pacemaker. It was great hearing your story and I hope that everything went well! Thank you for sharing!

  59. I’m 15 & experience the exact same thing you just described, except a couple times every other month. The ER doctor said usually once it happens, it will more than likely happen again. The medicine they injected is more than likely, adenosine. I’m curious, did the medicine work properly or did it do the exact opposite of what it was suppose to do? The first time I experienced this, they gave me that. But that medicine did not do the appropriate thing! Instead it trippled my heart rate. My cardiologist readjusted my medicine, but it’s back to doing what it was doing before. They’re suggesting we move on with a cardiac ablation. If your cardiologist hasn’t recommended this already, I would recommend laying off the coffee. Try caffeine free things, they’re just as good. Hope you the best of luck with your heart & pregnancy.

  60. My first SVT episode (that I knew something was actually wrong) happened when I was 28weeks pregnant with my first child. I was actually in the waiting room of my OB waiting for my appointment when I suddenly felt out of breath. My mother was sitting next to me and asked if she should get the nurse because the necklace I was wearing was bouncing off my chest with every heartbeat. They attempted to count the beats on my wrist and could not. The used the fetal doppler to pick it up and my heart rate was in the low 200s. They sent me straight to the hospital where they hooked me up to what felt like every machine available. When nothing would bring my heart rate back down, I remember them pulling out that dreader needle that you mentioned. They explained to me the best they could what was happening and what the medicine would do. But, nothing can prepare you for those 10 seconds. It felt like I was suffocating but still able to fill my lungs with air. When it was over I felt relief. My heart rate went back to normal. That was my first episode. I have little episodes here and there. However, the episodes that don’t resolve themselves have all happened during during my pregnancies. I just recently gave birth to my second and now am seeing a cardiologist to discuss an SVT ablation. They have put me on beta blockers for now which has made a huge difference in my life. Running was hard because i felt so out of shape and out of breath all the time. I always thought that going to sleep to the sound of my heart thumping in my ears, was normal. Now that I am taking the beta blockers, the thumping stopped. The silence is deafening. I can walk up the stairs and nothe feel like I have just ran a marathon. I’m super excited (and nervous) about the ablation.

  61. Hi there,

    I wss just recently diagnoised with SVT im 19 years old female.

    I had constant episodes of just sinus Tach until one time I bent down to pick up my kitten and Bamn. My heart thumped and then went off like a race horse and nothing slowed it down. Called 911 and was given adenosine as the manoeuvres didnt work, and was brought to the hospital and monitored for a while until i was reassured that Everything settled down.

    Did you find any triggers?
    How are you now? Is the ablation currently still successful?
    I have soo many questions, please get back to me


    1. Bending down was a trigger for me too. Had the ablation 4 years ago and no episodes since. Just occasionally feel like one might start, but never does. Good luck!

  62. Hi,

    My names Emily and I am 16, and have also dealt with SVT. I began to feel my tachycardia when I was in the 5th grade while exercising, and told my mother who blew it off because of course my heart was going to beat fast when I ran. I had them occasionally until I my softball season had started. I was standing out in the field during a practice and felt one come on no different than the rest. My mom pulled up shortly after and I gathered my stuff and headed out to go to my AAU (basketball) practice. I had my mom take my pulse which was a steady 190 and lasted around 10-15 minutes. The events became more frequent and soon I found myself in the children’s hospital trying to figure out what was wrong. The EKG was fine, I also had to wear the 48 hour monitor which of course had no luck. By my 9th grade basketball season I was playing on 3 teams at once and fighting my way on the court with my brand new 30 day monitor. They recorded close to 10 events all around 210-280 BPM. At this point my doctor had told me I had SVT and prescribed me the beta-blocker “Atenolol”. I had lost my appetite completely on this medicine and lost close to 50 pounds in a span and was having headrushes every time i stood up and many more uncomfortable side effects. After still having events on Atenolol my parents decided it was time I took up my doctors offer on ablation. So in november of 2016 I walked into Boston Children’s Hospital for my Pre-Op and the next day for my procedure. Normally people only have 1 extra electrical pathway with SVT, I had 3. Little did they know I was highly sensitive to anesthesics and had to be kept overnight in ICU because I was so dehydrated and naseous. They always tell you that shortly after the prodcure you’ll have ghost events, and that the success rate is a high 98%. Lucky for me i was the 2%. In December 2016 my events restarted and I was put back onto an event monitor in March which didn’t catch any events because a week after taking off the monitor I was hit with 3 more events in 2 days. My doctors offered to bring me back to Boston and see if they could trigger another event, if they could they’d have me put into another procedure. If not I would be woken up and they’d go from there. Of course they were hesitant to believe me that out of a procedure with a 98% success rate somehow they had missed something, but I knew I still had SVT. So in June of 2017 I walked back into the revolving doors of BCH for another pre-op and the next day i was in a hospital bed waiting to be taken to the procedure room. I woke up and was told they missed something my last visit, and it was almost too close to my AV node to use heat ablation. It’s been over two months since my procedure and so far I’ve been tachycardia free.

  63. Hey there. Ive had SVT for the last 15 years. It can be incredibly annoying! I used to have an episode once a week at it’s worst and then once a month. The last 2 year’s Ive been seeing an acupuncturist regularly and doing NAET ( allergy treatments for different food sensitity) every time I had an episode I would journal everything I ate that day as well as what I came I’m contact with ( animals, plants, fabrics etc) long story short my heart almost NEVER races anymore. She explained to me tachycardia can often be a way the body’s way of telling you to avoid something (think of it like getting hives) the acupuncture ive received has focused on teaching my body to react to particular things (two huge ones for me: coffee and chocolate) I’m not sure if this could be true for you but I thought I would share. It has truly made my quality of life so much better. Having your heart race out of your chest unexpectedly is so stressful and disruptive to life!!

  64. Thank you for your story. I’ve experienced the same issue since I was around the age of 12. I’m currently 34. I was put on atenolol, it did absolutely nothing. Mine kicks in randomly at times but mostly during any sort of cardio. My father was diagnosed with atrial fibulation and I’m concerned that this will turn into that.

  65. I had heart start racing and going out of rythum They stopped my heart too and restarted it,Was the worse thing ive ever felt in my life on .They have me on verapamil 200 mg daily.i hate this stuff but keep my heart in check.Good luck with this condition.

  66. Hi,

    I’m 18 years old, turning 19 in a couple of weeks. Female.
    About a year ago, I was diagnosed with SVT. My first episode was back when, (ironically) I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to breathe, which never happened to me before, so a typical body response was to freak out, which made the whole thing 10x worse. Rushing to my mother’s room, almost fainting and waking them up in fear, we ended up calling an ambulance. They hooked me up into a machine that monitors your heart rate, and I was a lot calmer when they did, of course, they didn’t see what was wrong, which turned out to be a nocturnal panic attack, (I was also diagnosed with anxiety and was also the first panic attack i had) They suggested for me to go with the ambulance to the hospital for further test in which i agreed on. I went along with the two paramedics by myself as my parents follow behind the ambulance. As we were making our way to the hospital, she asked me if i was still feeling nauseous which i was, so she hooked me up into an I.V. and gave me anti-nausea through it, as I sat with her, a minute after, I started to feel hot everywhere, extremely light headed, blurred vision and my heart was beating so quickly, like it was going to escape from my chest.One of the most scariest feeling ever. Feeling all this, the paramedic i was having conversation with immediately freaked out cuz she said im loosing color on my face, she asked me to lay down, and she started freaking out and calling out to another paramedic (who was driving) so we had to stop the ambulance and it almost seem like I couldnt hear very well, but i heard her freak out saying that she mightve put me in a wrong dosage. So we continued our way to the hospital, still feeling the same way. As we got there, first episode stopped, as I was waiting I started to feel the same feeling again, not knowing what was happening I started crying and freaking out, this happened 3 short times in 15 mins. They taught me vagal maneuver. As I was laying there with nurses and doctors around me, I couldnt stop shaking, and I felt like a vegetable, they gave me pills to make me fall asleep, which didn’t help (mind you, this was around 2am) It was one of the worse experience ever,

    A month after, the hospital called us in and explained that that was SVT. Explained that if it happens often then I should consider an operation (freeze it). They found one extra (not sure what its called, he said it was a “messenger” vein) in my heart.
    They asked me to stay away from any caffeinated drinks or anything that can raise my heart rate. Quiet sucks when you have anxiety and panic attacks.

    When i do get an episode, it wasnt as bad as the first one. I normally would find a way to sit and try to relax, otherwise if its not working, then vagal, and if not, they suggested for me to call emergency right away.

    Thanks for reading, I hope everyone’s doing just fine. 🙂

  67. I’m 45. And I have been suffering from SVT. Since I was little . but then it was just heart flutters . I never thought anything of it. About 3 and half years ago why getting ready for work and doing my hair. I felt this horrible thing in my chest . like someone just punched through my chest and craved my heart. Worst felling ever . then it stopped and o was thinking to myself . omg what was that . then I went on to doing my hair . it done it again and this time brought me to floor. I could littetlt see and feel my pulse beating out of my neck so fast I couldn’t even keep up with the beats . couldn’t hardly breath and chest in so much pain and feeling like I was going to die and pass out. I started to call my mom . but something told me to call 911. So I did and they got the fast . got me in the ambulance and hooked me up. My heart was at 280 and rising . they had to give me the medicine to stop and restart my heArt 2 different times . since then I’m in and out of the ER all the time . 3 surgerys and still having them and now about to go to the heart institute of America . one med they put me on has caused bloating . pain
    Wait gain and very very bad depression to wear I thought and almost took my own life . metoprolol is what they have me on and now they r going to have to find another med to put me on . I feel bad for anyone who has to go through this. My family don’t understand whT I’m going through and so tired of getting the calls from the ER everytime I end up in thr. The last time my family just don’t come and check on me anymore. I go through all my surgerys buy myself now cause I feel like I burden them . no one understands what this heart condition does to us. I’m svarecto take my road trips any more with the fear ill get out on the highway and have one .

    1. ugh. I totally sympathize with you Amy. I have been on Metoprolol for over 7 years and I am still getting flutters and have gained lots of weight. I am considering the Ablation this fall, but am also not convinced abut that.This just sucks.

  68. I’m 46 and have SVT, started when I was pregnant with my first. I just do Vagel maneuvers and it stops, or I just let it ride for a while and calm myself. Once when on Dayquil (whoops! Never doing that again!) I had trouble stopping it, but went to the bathroom (TMI sorry) and it stopped. I’m always so tired after – I caught one on an EKG early on and clocked 230 – talk about working out! Glad it isn’t life threatening and only inconvenient.

  69. I have tachycardia to and I have had to call paramedics four times and I have irregular heart beats I have ended up at eirmac once got a bunch of tests ran had a bunch of heart problems at home for two years now its been going on for two augusts now I have had two ekgs two heart monitors blooddraw bloodgas bag of fluid 4 baby aspirin chest exray thyroid test immune disease test and a bunch of other tests ran two figure out whats going on with my heart figured out the electrical wires were screwed up cause I got volunterely tazed at the police department I see my cardiologist every six months once you have a heart problem it never goes away

  70. My heart has been at 130 230 and ive had dizziness headeaches blurrivision nausea sore arms and legs trolly horses chest pain and palpitations sore back and neck high blood pressure 100 over 96 and im 20 years old

  71. Hey, reading this helps to calm me a little bit. I am 27 and last year I had my first episode of SVT. I bent down to pick something up and as soon as I came up. BAM my heart started RACING! I went to the ER and they diagnosed it with SVT. I followed up with a cardiologist and my heart looked healthy and no episodes were noted on the holler. Fast forward over a year later I have had 2 episodes. One episode I was able to completely breathe and it went away. The second time I completely panicked and called 911. I came out of it by the time the paramedics arrived. But my heart rate was still like 140 from the anxiety. 3 days after I am feeling depressed. I keep reading online about people say its not life-threatening and its no big deal. But for me it is a big deal… I know I am totally pouring my soul into this post but I don’t know anyone with this. Like I am absolutely terrified of it happening again. Does it ever get you down? Or are you always able to look at the bright side of things? I would love to hear from you.

  72. Have it too! Was told for years I had anxiety attacks. Till it happened when I was 17 weeks pregnant and called 911, or was beating 260 bpm! Also had low potassium. Hadnt had 1 in 10 months, until last night! Cardiologist wants me to do the ablation…

  73. Hi,
    I am wondering anyone has tried acupuncture? I have had multiple workups for PSVT. I had been on PRN metoprolol tartrate, but the tachycardia was coming multiple times a day, and my cardiologist/electrophysiologist agreed I should try regularly taking the longer acting form- metoprolol succinate. It reduced the PSVT a bit, but not enough. I research everything and asked him if he could order some adrenal tests, discovering this could be hormonal,too. He said he would be more comfortable if I saw an endocrinologist. My mother has late onset SVT [ age 95],and her endocrinologist did not have a clue. I experienced ovarian failure in my 30’s and have been on hormone replacement therapy [HRT], trying to wean myself to as low a dose as possible. That is when the PSVT began. I consulted my ob-gyn, who said that tachycardia was another manifestation of the mechanism that triggers hot flashes, which I began to notice occasionally as I lowered the HRT. Under his supervision I increased the dose of HRT over several months time, finally hitting a target where the PSVT disappeared totally on metoprolol succinate, confirmed by a halter monitor study. Then I began to reduce the dose of metoprolol…That has been trickier, but am now on half the dose-I was on. It has been a bit like trying to thread a needle in the dark, but I am feeling much better. Since our hormones fluctuate from puberty through menopause, this is not a static situation, so I think this needs to be managed constantly. After the cardiologist saw how I reacted to increasing the HRT[ inthe form of Biest 50/50 with 60 mg. progesterone per ml], he did not think I was a candidate for ablation, even if the PSVT returned. Online there are encouraging studies with acupuncture, and would like to know if anyone has tried this and what the outcome was.

  74. Hi – wondering if anyone has had an ablation and had difficulty getting back to their pre-ablation shape/perfomance leveL? I just hit my third month of recovery and I am running a minute per mile slower than I ever did. I feel like I am working extra hard and feel terrible! I am hoping someone else can shed some light on the recovery process and training. I feel like I am the only one who is struggling.

    Besides the struggle getting my performance back, I am really happy to no longer experience the scary episodes while running!

  75. Hi. I have experienced SVT now four times with episodes lasting 10-20 minutes with heart rates at 170-220. In the last year and half I’ve had it more frequently being 3 times and I’ve noticed that it happened bending over except this last time. I was wandering if I could reach out to you to talk about your experience with doctors, medications and ablations. The doctors think I’m crazy when i tell them it happens when I bend over. I appreciate any advice or information you can give me. Thanks Melinda.

  76. Salty…I just read your post. It is all the way back in 2012. I hope you have kept up your running over the past 8 years. I have had an almost identical experience with what the experts think is SVT. My chest flutters/pain/pressure/etc. began years ago (probably 1999 or so) while running a marathon. I thought I was having a heart attack. The onset was sudden and startling. It occurred at mile 14 in the LA marathon. I thought I was going to die right there. I slowed down, walked a bit – the sensation passed; I finished the race. Afterward I saw a cardiologist, had a stress test, then a nuclear MRI or whatever its called – all to no conclusion. I was told my heart is great. I have kept running and now have finished 73 marathons – my age.
    During the past several years, the episodes have gotten quite frequent; I cannot take a run without chest tightening, shortness of breath, sometimes dizziness, etc. I have tried to explain to my GP and various heart specialists what is happening, have gone through all the tests, including another set of tread mill EKGs, nuclear MRIs, and finally heart artery arthroscopy…only to be told I have a great heart and the arteries of a 30 year old. I kept pushing until finally I was given a two week heart monitor test. The monitor was glued to my chest; it had a button on it which I had to push when I was running and had an occurance of the heart sensation. Oh…I forgot to mention, the incidents occur only when running and usually when I slow or stop for water or a street light, but not always. The test also required that I log the symptoms either on an app or later after my run. Anyhow…FINALLY I was diagnosed with SVT. But…only after I had to argue with the cardiologist about the results and she was forced to re-examine the logs – what a hassle. She did look at the logs and came up with SVT. She has prescribed Metroprolol tartrate. I have tried the drug now on several runs. I find that my heart is behaving quite differently than it ever has. My pulse now is 15-20 BPM lower, from about 135-140 down to 115-120 in mid run. I do feel the abnormal beats occuring, but they are squelched, lasting only a few seconds, and never going the several minutes as in the past, and never causing me to stop running. I don’t know how this all will turn out when I next train seriously for the winter marathons here out west, but am looking forward to training without fear of falling over dead every time I head out for a run. Best regards, Fred H