My Not-So-Crazy Supraventricular Tachycardia Update

Painting of a heart (anatomical, not "hea...
Yesterday’s ablation gave new meaning to the term heart burn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last time I dedicated an entire post to my crazy heart, I explained how I came to be diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT. SVT is a heart condition in which the sufferer experiences sudden onset of rapid heart rate which can reach 200 beats per minute or more. While it is not life threatening, it sure can be scary. I am happy to report that after an often annoying, some times downright frightful ride that began when I was a teenager, I am 95% confident I am now free of SVT!

Let me explain.

I was most likely born with SVT, but it did not become apparent until I was a teenager. During my senior track season, I experienced at least two episodes. I saw a cardiologist, but because the episodes were never caught on a monitor and all my tests came back normal, I was dismissed as having some minor heart quirk and sent on my way.

I carried this attitude through most of my 30’s, believing the episodes of rapid heart rate were just a benign quirk. I even had plans to write a post here about heart palpitations in runners. Little did I know that I was about to finally understand what was going on and that this quirk was something much bigger that I had ever imagined it would be.

After an ER visit with a raging episode of rapid heart beat while I was six months pregnant, I was finally diagnosed with SVT. My electrophysiologist (a specialist in the electrical pathways of the heart) suggested I go in for a non-surgical procedure to correct the abnormality causing the SVT soon after I delivered the baby. However, I went through the final three months with no additional SVT episodes, and delivered my healthy baby girl exactly 3 months after the episode that sent me to the ER.

I diagram of one form of SVT as compared to a normal heart.

After I had the baby, I told my electrophysiologist that I wanted to wait a year before having the procedure. That way, my daughter wouldn’t be so dependent on me to nurse, and my body would be back to normal. This seemed like a great plan until I caught that stupid norovirus stomach bug that was going around, became severely dehydrated and experienced dozens of short, but intense SVT episodes over the course of a week. It was so annoying and frankly, scary that with the support of my husband, I decided enough was enough. I called my doctor and scheduled the procedure for January 30th.

The procedure is called a catheter ablation. What it is, is the doctor makes an incision into the groin and places catheters up a vein into the heart. Then, the doctor induces an SVT episode to find where the abnormality, an extra electrical pathway, is. Once located, the doctor ablates it, or burn it. This destroys the extra electrical pathway, thus curing the SVT.

Yeah, this scared the bejeezus out of me. I’m not going to lie! I was petrified. I was worried it would interfere with my ability to continue nursing my baby. I was worried about horrible complications, particularly something preventing me from training at a high level. Particularly, if I had the type of SVT they thought I had, I ran a 3% risk of needing a pacemaker when all was said and done. Eek! I also googled the procedure and let’s just say it was a bad idea! I had a couple of freak-out moments when I wanted to back out, but every time I came to the same conclusion: the SVT was not going to get better, only worse and the procedure will never be easier. So, I put my fears out of my mind and bravely went ahead with the planned procedure.

Because I am exclusively nursing the baby, I made arrangements with my electrophysiologist, the hospital and my husband to keep the baby with me during my overnight stay at the hospital. I pumped like a mad woman in the two weeks leading up to the procedure and then because the baby was with me, was able to nurse her right before receiving anesthesia.

The hospital staff were all amazingly wonderful. My doctor’s partner explained all the possible locations of the abnormal extra pathway and the risks of ablating each. The one they thought I most likely had was easy to reach with the catheter, but ran the high-ish risk of needing a pacemaker. It turned out that was exactly the kind I had. After going under I woke up to the doctors working to induce the SVT. I was groggy, but awake enough to see the catheters in my heart on the monitor and to be able to tell them when I felt the episode. They had my hear rate up above 230 bpm! They reassured me over and over that it was ok and everything was going according to plan. Once they induced the SVT, they put me back under and I awoke to learn they found the spot and ablated it with a 95% chance it was completely destroyed. Because of it’s location and the risk of causing a block which would require a pacemaker they were conservative in the amount of tissue they destroyed, which I completely appreciated!

I am so thankful I didn’t end up with one of these!

By the late afternoon I was able to walk a little bit. Only the incision site hurt a bit. It felt like a bad bruise. I was groggy and tired, but it wasn’t bad. ย I had to pump one time and dump the milk to flush any residual medication out of the milk and was then able to continue nursing the baby by 5:00 p.m. My husband fed her two and a half bottles in between my last 9:00 a.m. feeding and 5:00 p.m. Everything went off without a hitch.

Right now I’m about 30 hours post procedure and feeling good. I have to be careful not to lift anything bigger than the baby for a week so I do not start bleeding from the incision site. Otherwise, I have no restrictions. I am allowed to start running again next week, but must ease back into it, more to protect my vein where the catheters went in. As far as my heart is concerned I have zero restrictions! I am as good, if not better than new!

I am so excited to finally have this behind me and now I can really look forward to staging my comeback. Look out world!

If you’re an athlete or a pregnant woman with SVT, feel free to contact me with any questions; the best way is in the comments below, where your questions can help others. I was so scared about the condition and the ablation and it would have helped me tremendously to have someone like me to talk to.

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. hi salty, I have just read, your blog. dates 2012/13 it is now 2017. i’m wondering how you are? not sure if you will get this.

        I have suffered SVt periodically in my life and have been frightened of it and restricted things in my life because of it. 53 now. going through pre menopause and had a full blown attack last week my heart raced at approx 270 bpm . resting now but tired of this . want to get on with my life and will be referred to cardiologist soon. i am thinking this time i should have ablation last ime ten years ago it was recommended but i backed out as it was not happening frequently enough. and was put on cardicore instead.. live was great no issues at all until last april. bit of stress, virus from swimming pool and had a mini episode which sorted itself out , but going through peri menopause also brought on anxiety. do overall 2016 was shit. then christmas had minor virus heart was raised a little . then last week.. bam! anxious all the time at the moment. it happened when walking dog. have been tired so haven’t been out for a few days. will start going out again tomorrow. bit by bit. what to do! c=if you are around contact me on the email below .

        Again i hope all is well with you now . would like to hear from you T

        1. I’m great! The ablation was successful for me. I’d recommend going to see an electrophysiologist for a consultation to see if it’s right for you now.

  1. I’m glad this went well for you, Salty. My mom had the same procedure 15 years ago (albeit not nursing a newborn at the same time) and no recurrence. Good health and running to you!

  2. Glad it went well! My husband had his 4 years ago and it seems to have worked. Funny the difference in hospital procedures – they kept him up for the whole thing, and I don’t think he’d have minded being knocked out. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  3. Hi Salty,

    I am a runner as well and about to turn 49 in May. I’ve had episodes of afib and SVT over the past several years. I was not officially diagnosed until November when I almost passed out while running and went to the ER. I decided to go the catheter ablation route since heart rate was too low for meds. Finally had the procedure on March 3rd and doctor was able to successfully ablate all 4 pulmonary nodes. I have had a few aftershocks but nothing major so I am hoping it worked. The hardest part for me is having to be on the blood thinners (Xarelto) for the last few months. Did your cardiologist prescribe blood thinners for you? I resumed working out a week later but do not have the stamina I am used to. I seem to tire way more easily. (I have done spinning, Insanity, elliptical trainer; and swimming.) I am hoping to resume running tomorrow on the treadmill but I will not push too hard. I normally run 8 to 830 minute miles on the treadmill but am a little slower outside. It is refreshing to see your posts and encourages me to keep on pushing and not be too nervous about running again! I hope all continues to go well with your heart!

    1. Hi Kathy! Sorry I’m just responding now. I’d love to get an update on how you’re doing if you see this. To answer your question – no, I was put on zero meds after the procedure. I’d assume you were because of the afib rather than the SVT, but I’m not a doctor so maybe not ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, hope you’re doing well! Thanks for sharing!!!

      1. Hi Salty, Thanks for getting back to me. Unfortunately, since that last email, I have been having episodes of fast heartbeat again. I wore a holter monitor a few weeks ago and my electrophysiologist determined that I have atrial tachycardia. Apparently one of the four pulmonary nodes healed instead of forming scar tissue, which is causing the short circuit. It is not a life threatening as SVT and Afib, but it may eventually start causing afib again. Right now he put me on Cardizem, (an antiarrythmic drug and also to control my BP which has been high lately). If it gets worse, I may have to have another ablation. Unfortunately, they did tell me after the first one, sometimes people need another touch up. So, for the time being, I am on the meds, which luckily I have no side effects and has not affected my running and working out. (So glad I have my exercise to keep me sane). You are SO lucky your doctor did not put you on bloodthinners – my doctor had me on them 4 weeks before the procedure and 8 weeks afterwards. (Apparently because of risk of stroke?) Anyway, I am glad yours was a success. Thanks for getting back to me!

        1. Just to clarify, SVT is not life threatening, but the afib could be if not treated, and that’s the reason for the blood thinners, not the SVT.

    1. It’s been a year and a half and no more SVT episodes! I’m running and training at a high level and almost back to my peak fitness. I’m feeling great and really glad I made the decision to get the ablation!

  4. Hi! Loved reading your post – I was also diagnosed with SVT about a year ago and this past September I had the ablation done. I am happy to say I haven’t had any other episodes since! However, I have experienced the odd heavy heart beat/skip/palpitation – I’m not sure what to call it. What was your experience in the months following your ablation? A few nights ago I was woken up by what felt like two palpitations or something to that effect. Also, I have been running again since the procedure but I find sometimes if I stop my physical activity suddenly, I will have a couple really ‘heavy’ heart beats, almost like skips or flutters. Did you experience anything like this?

    1. Every once in a while I get bouts of bad palpitations. I have mostly given up alcohol and chocolate and that has helped. this is as recent as 2 months ago. I and the ablation on 1/30/13. I will occasionally feel a “thunk” when running, but from what my ep said, it’s my heart trying to go into the old rhythm, but failing and not something to worry about, easier said than done, I know!

  5. I have experienced the same episodes for the last few years. My last half marathon, this past Sunday, I experienced it. It lasted about 30 seconds (heart rate was 255) and then it ended, and I finished the run. Unfortunately, we’re never able to catch it while I am on a monitor. Did the doctors tell you there would be issues if they wouldn’t have been able to catch it? From your story it sounds like it got progressively worse. Is that true?

    1. Yes. It got much worse when I was pregnant with my third child. Before it was caught on a monitor I was basically blown off that whatever it was was a “benign quirk.” This was consistent every time a cardiologist checked me out until the Er visit when it was caught on the EKG.

  6. It’s so comforting to read this post. I work as a personal trainer and yoga teacher and have experienced exercise induced SVT’s for 3 years now. Like you – all the tests didn’t pick up anything until I was admitted to the hospital and wheeled into the resuscitation room in September after a hike. I was put on beta blockers and felt dreadful and after seeing the EP he took me off of them and now I’m scheduled for the ablation on Dec. 31st. I’m totally second guessing myself, and full of fear of the procedure and hoping I’m doing the right thing.

    1. You are! It is certainly a serious measure, but the overwhelming likelihood is the ablation will cure your SVT and you can go about your life without fear of an episode coming on out of nowhere. If you have any questions or concerns you’d like to discuss, you can email me at saltyrunning at gmail. It’s been almost 2 years since my ablation now and I’m very glad I did it.

      1. Was searching on line for info on heartbeat going up to 240 while running when I came across your website. I am a 54 year old male who has always been involved in sport.I have been getting all the similar episodes that you have spoken about, have been for the tests worn the holter monitor and like you nothing seem to show up. So much so that at times I begin to wonder if its in my head. I was training for triathlon last year and while I was swimming I got an episode which was similar to yours on the side of the road, I also had to calm myself which was not easy as I was alone and a distance from the shore . When I got out of the water I drove to my doctor who send me by ambulance to hospital did the tests but again everything had settled down.I was with my cardiologist before Christmas and he told me I was fine and come back in 12 months. So not feeling great since New year on medication but he appears not to want to go the ablation route. So I am just taking this opportunity to talk to someone who understands what it feels like.Thanks in advance .

        1. When it happens in the open water that is life-threatening! That’s so annoying they are dismissing you. I’d make an appointment with a specialized cardiologist called an electrophysiologist and talk to him/her specifically about SVT or other irregular heartbeat conditions. They can do tests. They aren’t cheap and might be semi-invasive, but it’s better than not being able to swim anymore for fear of an episode and drowning!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m in the middle of trying to get a diagnosis for recurrent but infrequent heart palpitations that sound a lot like what you’ve gone through. I’m also a runner and am planning to start a family in the next few years. I don’t know yet if I have SVT, but it sounds like it is the most likely diagnosis at this point. Your posts have been very reassuring for me.

  8. Going in 2/27/15 svt ablation! N-e-r-v-o-u-s! Salty, in the time since your ablation, have you noticed an improvement in your running, or just no more episides of rapid heart?

  9. Good luck to you. My story/experience is very similar. but, after four ablations I can tell you they are not foolproof,nor forever. Although the “apparent” immediate success rate is quite good, what they fail to tell you is that in the longer run, about 40% turn out to be unsuccessful. So, hope you’re in the 60%. I’m desperate to find drugs that help (not cure). Best wishes from Australia. Bob

  10. Hi Salty, I am a 52 year (young) woman who was just diagnosed with SVT, and a borderline (for my age) Mitral Valve Prolapse. I too, have experienced the “crazy” heart since young adulthood, but just passed it off as an athletic heart. I workout 4X a week (cardio, weights), and with a husband, four children and a business to run, am rarely in neutral. To further complicate matters, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism a decade ago, with my thyroid functioning at only 1/4 of what a normal person’s does. I take Armour Thyroid (120 mil), so of course, taking a beta blocker would not be for me. Reading your post, and the comments from others with SVT makes me feel less alone. I was told that my SVT’s are becoming more frequent due to hormones, and that, more or less I am just going to have to deal with them and convince myself that they are not life threatening…yet! I am wondering if any other women out there have been diagnosed with hormone related SVT’s and if there are any holistic measures I could look into. Yams? I stopped drinking coffee months ago, and have been drinking organic Awake tea…but now I fear that even that has too much caffeine! (With the hypo., it’s difficult to get the motor going first thing in the morning…) I am feeling quite down. I just saw my cardiologist on Tuesday, so it’s taking me a bit to wrap my head around my “new normal”. Thanks for sharing your story.
    ~ Jeanette

    1. Jeanette, I have no thyroid and take Synthroid, and they said I could take a beta blocker. Did they explain why you can’t take one? Is it the difference between the Armour and the synthetic thyroid replacement? That being said, I really don’t want to take the beta blocker and am declining to so far. I did get it filled in case I get my gumption up to take it. I’ve dared to drink a small amount of decaf coffee (which still has a bit of caffeine in it) a couple of times, and I think it may actually be too much for me sometimes! Chocolate also has caffeine and a stimulant, so I am having to limit that, which I hate more than limiting coffee, but I hate the no coffee thing, too. I go through a lot of days in a bit of a sleepy fog, so I really don’t want a medication that will potentially make me more tired (beta blocker), plus my resting heart rate is around 60-65 and sometimes as low as 55. Three doctors have told me metoprolol can’t make my heart rate go too low, but I’ve seen comments from people who said it made theirs go very low (20s), so as usual I don’t know what to believe. One thing that can help if you’re feeling tired is to drink water. Don’t go overboard and drink gallons, but I have read that being a little dehydrated can make you tired, and it can also contribute to tachycardia, so I try to drink a big glass of water first thing every morning and to stay hydrated through the day. I don’t get enough sleep, so that’s of course a factor in my sleepiness, so I’m trying to take a catch-up nap when needed, as often as possible. Best wishes. I find that smelling my husband’s coffee helps a bit in a weird way. It feels like getting a fix and maybe fools my brain into alertness. Maybe other smells could help you, too, such as peppermint. I’d have to read up on how that helps, to make sure it doesn’t somehow stimulate the heart rate the same as caffeine would, but it seems like it would only be a brain thing and not literally work on the heart.

  11. Hi! Your blog really speaks to me! I am 29 and became an avid runner about 3 years ago. I would love to email you but it looks like it might be easier to get in touch with you here. When I was pregnant with my first son at 24 (and in the 3rd trimester) I started to have the episodes of a rapid heartbeat….from just sitting down or simply bending over to pick something up. So weird! My nurses and midwives didn’t really seemed concerned at all. That was that. When my first son turned 16 months I decided to get off my lazy butt and start getting into shape. I never ran up until then. I really hadn’t done anything since HIGH SCHOOL! So super out of shape. I decided to get into running. The first few months I had a few episodes of the very rapid heart beat. It literally felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. I went to see a doc and he said I just needed to get back into shape. I will say that once I got into good shape I RARELY had it. I even ran a half marathon and almost felt it coming on towards the very end but slowed down a bit…which helped. Some times it will hit me if I do something with high intensity like jumping up and down, burpees, things like that. Once I got into shape it didn’t really concern me anymore. THEN I got pregnant again. So now I’m 27, pregnant, and still running. I got to about 5-6 months when the rapid beats started up again from simple things (standing up quickly, bending over). I also had an irregular heart beat. I say that was stress induced but of course I have no idea. I actually went to the ER on my own (27 weeks pregnant) because I had an abnormal EKG at a patient first. I had to sit and wait for 4 hours. I was shocked that they had me sit there for that long. Anyways, they ruled out blood clots and said it could be hormones or the way baby is laying. Basically, I got no answers. I had another normal delivery and that was that.

    My cardiologist finally figured out that I have characteristics of WPW but did not diagnose me with it. He sent me to an electrophysiologist who I saw a few months after I had my second child. He had me wear a monitor (I feel like this was my 10th holter monitor!). I was wearing it one day when I sprinted with my husky pup (i’m was back to being out of shape since I was a few months post partum) and my heart rate was SUPER FAST! When I went back to see the doc he said it shot up to 220. Still, he said that he just wants to watch me since I don’t have severe symptoms and it doesn’t happen too often. I’ve got an abnormal pathway somewhere in there. He said I can continue running too but obviously watch myself. That has left me extremely hesitate to run and even work out. I bought myself a heart rate monitor for working out but it almost makes me more paranoid. I can easily get my HR up to 170-180 by just jogging. I’m hoping by getting back in shape it will go down but still! I did a spin class last week and it quickly shot up to 230 but then went back down after I slowed. I scheduled an appointment with a new doctor in a few weeks. I just want to feel confident that I can run and race again. I like pushing myself a little but I’m scared too right now. I miss running so much! I also just want a definite answer to what is going on.

    1. Go to another electrophysiologist and get another opinion. Explain how the condition is negatively impacting your life and ask whether there are treatment options which make sense for you. You can email me any time at saltyrunning at gmail. Good luck and keep me posted!

  12. Hi salty, I just wanted to say how inspired layout blog is. My son (5years old) is diagnosed with svt. I was a little shock since he was a healthy and no health issue all the while. However, after complaining his heart beating very fast, we were able to catch it on ecg. I was suggested by doctor that ablation procedure can help him as he might be constrained to some activities in the future and going to school later on like any other normal kids. Actually I am a little scard right now.

    May I know how often did u get svt prior to ablation? (My son got around 4 times already since July last year) each settle by itself after sometime (10mins – 1hr)
    So I wonder will it get more severe as the goes by?

    Actually there many questions that I wanted to ask but I sure do not want to write a whole long first email to trouble u.

    Really appreciate if you can reply my mail as it is comforting to talk to someone that experience it. (Even my son can’t exactly tell me how it felt when it come)

    Thank you so much again.

  13. My son had an episode right at birth and hasn’t had one since (he’s 11 now) the cardiologist told me after he was 6 months old that it could possibly come back in his teenage years. I googled running and SVT and came across your article. I love to run and my 3 children love to run with me when they can. I was nervous about my son running with me because of his known condition at infancy but he hasn’t had an issue since. Now my worries are a little eased because I know it can be treated and it’s not life threatening (Just scary as all get out!!). Thank you so much for posting and I’m happy I ran across your blog. Take care..

  14. just reading your article. I have suffered from this for years. Just recently it has gotten worse with many episodes a day leaving me exhausted and scared. The medicines are not stopping these breakthroughs so I have scheduled to have the ablation done. I can’t wait till this is over so I can live again!! So glad to read this ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Hi there I found your blog really helpful. I am in my 3rd trimester of my 3rd pregnancy and was diagnosed with svt at around 5 months pregnant. I have had 3 svt episodes in the last couple of weeks which have resulted in me going to hospital and one really bad episode when I was 18 weeks pregnant which led to me being referred to a cardiologist and getting the svt diagnosis. I too since my teenage years have experienced heart palpitations that just seemed to come out of no where and not on excretion mostly when I’m resting. They were never caught on a ecg until this pregnancy. The cardiologist has said if I feel the svt is becoming trouble some after pregnancy we could look at treatment. The episodes during this pregnancy have been really severe and scare me Im hoping that once I have the baby they will settle and I will feel more like myself. I am not a runner but am very active and before pregnancy hill walked a lot and excercised. However the scary thing for me has been that I experienced heart palpitations often when resting and could wake up to my heart beating out of my chest. I really hope I can get this resolved and not have any more scary episodes. It’s reassuring to here a story like yours.

  16. I know this is really old but was curious how u are doing now? I’m a 36 yr old female with SVT. I had an ablation in May of 2015 but the SVT returned this summer just a little over a year after the ablation. I’ve had 2 episodes since the ablation, 1 only lasted about 20 mins but the 2nd episode, which was 7 weeks ago, lasted over an hour with heart rate of 249 and ended in the ER. So now I’m facing possibly having another ablation.

    1. I have had no SVT episodes since my ablation in January of 2013. I experience skipped beats and palpitations, that feeling I’d get right before an episode, but no full-on episodes. It is a common issue – the ablation not working 100%. You might consider seeing another electrophysiologist to discuss your options and why the first one didn’t work as well as you’d hoped. I wish you lots of luck! SVT can be so scary!

  17. I know I’ve read your heart posts before, so pardon me if I’ve already commented. Although I don’t think I have! I have a similar, if not the same condition. When I was fifteen I began to notice moments of “heart palpitations” as well. As a teenager, I couldn’t accurately describe the feeling. I actually thought my heart was skipping beats. It sounds poetic haha, but you know very well it’s not. This all started when I asked my mom if her heart ever skips a beat. Freaking out she shouted, “NO!” I also went through the protocol with the Holter monitor. I did have some small episodes, but mine seem a lot shorter compared to yours. I had EKGs and stress tests, and it was concluded that I have an arrhythmia and as long as the episodes are under 15 seconds, then I am “fine.” However, it looks like yours worsened over time, especially with pregnancy. Is this how yours started? I don’t notice dizziness or faintness while I’m having mine, which is why I feel okay about it. When I was marathon training I noticed it a bit more with extra mileage, but never during. Always after. I also notice it worsens with caffeine and stress.

    1. I had a few very brief episodes in high school that all went away as far as I know after. In high school they were all related to running – like during a track workout or a race when I’d stop and start back up. I only can remember one episode distinctly, but I know I had at least 2 or 3 because the one I remember I told my coach I was having another one. But anyway, I didn’t have any through all of my 20s. The next one I remember is the one I had in Central Park when I was almost 31. And then from there, over time they started happening more frequently, particularly after I started having kids and going through pregnancies. My EP said caffeine is cool. It’s really (strangely) alcohol that is more of an issue! If it is SVT, it’s not life threatening for the most part (the big danger is passing out and driving, etc. but the episodes would be progressively way worse than what you’re experiencing before that happened). You can get an EP study done, but it’s invasive and probably expensive and really not worth it unless it’s really messing with your life. I’d just hang tight and keep a log of issues for now and if you experience more episodes of a racing heart for short periods of time, go tell your doctor. Try to figure out if it’s just a missed or skipped beat, or if it’s sustained and unexplainable rapid heart rate (when it happens check your pulse if you remember). If I would have told a doctor that my heart was racing and had an idea what my pulse was they probably would have figured it out earlier. I just assumed it was a palpitation and had no idea what that even meant! Anyway, ask questions any time ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Hi! I have been a runner for quite some time and, until the last year or so, have been able to train at a fairly high intensity for anywhere from a 5K up to half marathons. Then a little over a year ago I noticed that I was “out of oxygen” so I started wearing my HR monitor just out of curiosity. On my long, slow runs I used to have a HR around 125-130 but then when I started having what I felt like was a lack of oxygen and started using my monitor again, my HR was 155-175 at a super slow pace. So then if I kicked the pace up for any kind of a speed workout, I could easily get the HR up over 190 without even really trying. My max HR is 171! Then I noticed a “flutter” occasionally and my monitor would show anywhere from 200 up to 230 bpm. I have never felt faint or anything and when I stop, my HR will drop back to normal. I recover very quickly after exercising back to 48-50 bpm which is my resting HR. I have had a treadmill test and EKG but the doctor says everything is normal. Did you ever feel that you were oxygen deprived with your SVT? I can’t get it through any of the doctor’s heads about the oxygen debt feeling. They just look at my resting HR and Blood pressure and tell me I am a perfect specimen for an athlete! Drives me insane. I know I am getting older (49) but I know a lot of women older than me who have not had this problem. And, by the way, I went from running a 7:30 mile to about a 10:30 mile nearly overnight!

    1. Most doctors are looking for markers of health or disease and not concerned with your athletic performance. I am not sure about your hr issues, but I’d recommend maybe talking to a primary care doc and getting a blood panel. Could be low iron or something else causing the lack of oxygen feeling and the seemingly random slow-down. Good luck!

    2. I know this post is extremely old but it caught my eye when I was searching ‘what an athlete should expect after SVT ablation’….I experienced the same symptoms you are describing…one day during a hill workout, just totally felt I couldn’t get enough air….I struggled with the idea that maybe I was just out of shape. Well, I did a tempo run the next day and same thing, couldnt catch my breath and my heart felt like it was racing. I didn’t have a HR monitor at the time but it just didnt feel right. I continued to run but my normal 630-7min/mile pace was down to 830 at best. 3 months later and cardiac MRI’s, stress tests and echocardiogram, they decide that an EP study and possible ablation was next. I had my ablation for SVT last week and started running a few days ago. Curious if you found an answer to your symptoms…

  19. Hi, I suspect I may have SVT. On four occasions After hard races or a long training run (20k plus) I get a sudden breathlessness , a weak feeling spreads through my body and my heart starts to pound, it lasts a minute or two eases off but could happen 3-4 times in the next hour . After the first episode I ended up in the E.R , had an EKG , bloods, chest x ray and sent to a cardiologist for an echo and a CT scan of the heart. Nothing was found on anything and I was discharged. It’s so frustrating As it only happens post race by the time I get to the doctors for an ekg my heart is back to normal and he just thinks I’m mad! I’ve ran for 12 years and love it but this has scared me so much I feel I may need to stop racing and just take it easy. Is there any other way of diagnosing SVT other than catching it on a EKG?

    1. You can try seeing seeing an electrophysiologist. Perhaps go to your PCP and tell them your concerns about SVT and see if they will refer you. The condition itself is usually not life threatening, but can get worse over time where it may impact your life so severely that you need to treat it (that’s what happened to me). But if you go to a doctor and ask specifically about SVT see where that goes. I never knew about it when I went in with my concerns and as I wrote only discovered it when the paramedics came over and caught it on the EKG. Good luck!

  20. I know this is an old post, but I’m a 57 year old female runner that was just diagnosed with SVT. The heart ablation was delayed while sorting out some other health issues first. I am still running in meantime, but told to keep my runs under 10 miles. I had an episode this morning on a 5 mile run and just wondering if your SVT’s stopped after ablation, if the ablation altered your pace or stamina and how long after ablation before you felt 100%.

    1. Hi Karen, I just read your post at salty running. did you have an ablation? Was it successful. I had one in 2016 but it was unsuccessful due to proximity to the sinus node. I live near Philly and am thinking about a 2nd opinion. Just interested in your story.

  21. Thank you for sharing your story! I too have SVT, had my third ER visit yesterday, HR 195, reallly scary. Time for the surgery. Hearing your story makes me feel more confident about the survey. Thank you for that.

  22. Hi Salty,
    I loved reading your story. I too experienced Svt attacks with my sons. I always had a bit of racing heart but it would stop with holding my breath. I am currently struggling with whether I should go forward with ablation. The past ten years since the birth of my sons, I get attacks that last hours. I take beta blockers so I never feel like I’m going to pass out just tired and racing heart. Typically my heart rate would go up to 120 bpm but sometimes it gets as high as 140 and then it begins to scare me. Do you continue to not have Svt after ablation? Are you glad that you did it,
    Alyssa f.

  23. I just came across your story! I am 2 weeks post ablation for SVT. I am a runner (not very good) and that was the biggest thing I missed when being diagnosed. I have been hesitant to get back out there. Still just walking with a few jogs mixed in.

  24. I literaly bumped into this page almost a year ago, right after my cardologist told me it was time for me to get the procedure. Your words kept me from freaking out till the finish line. Thank you for sharing your journey through svt.
    Aurora, Italy

  25. Have to have this done soon. Scared. This relieved lots of concerns. Thx. My son insists and I am going to Columbia University Medical Center heart center. Thx

  26. Hi, I just had my first major episode of SVT on Monday. I had no idea I had it so it was pretty scary. Had to go to a&e and then kept in over night. I’ve been put on betablockers but these seem to be giving me side affects of having a tight chest. I also have some chest pain which I’ve read might just be due to the sheer exertion my heart went through. How did you feel after attacks? I just thought/ hoped I’d be feeling more normal now it’s 4 days later. Thanks

  27. Hello Salty, so glad you are cured from your SVT. I am 32 and after 6 years in the Army and loads of stress and anxiety on the body and no symptoms. If I did have symptoms of SVT, I was never aware before 32, which became present when I was pregnant with my second child. I am now exclusively breastfeeding her and I really struggling to express hardly anything. I have my cardiology appointment in 14 days and due to me having episodes daily and during my sleep I feel the cardiac abrasion will be the option for me. I always been physically active and love running and I ran the great north run 8 weeks post c-section. But I didnโ€™t have any episode then and I cant live with them anymore, my health anxiety is through the roof, which triggers my SVT. But my main concern is the breast feeding. I understand this feed, was years ago so you possibly wonโ€™t reply. But I just would love some help and advice on what you think is my best option. To wait till I can stop feeding etc. Your story has really helped me already. Many thanks Angela x