Having supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) means that from time to time your heart beats abnormally fast. This fast rhythm is caused by changes in the electrical system of your heart. You may feel a fluttering in your chest (palpitations) and have a fast pulse. When your heart is beating fast, you may feel anxious and light-headed, be short of breath, and feel discomfort in the chest.
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to help slow down your heartbeat. Your doctor may also suggest you try vagal manoeuvres when having an episode of SVT. These are things, like bearing down, that might help slow your heart rate. Bearing down means that you try to breathe out with your stomach muscles but you don't let air out of your nose or mouth. Your doctor can show you how to do vagal manoeuvres. He or she may teach you do them while lying on your back.
In some cases, either cardioversion treatment or a procedure called catheter ablation is done to correct SVT.
Your doctor may ask you to wear a small electronic device for 1 or 2 days to monitor your heart. It is called a Holter monitor.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: September 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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