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PSVT


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I have been using an event recorder for the past few weeks. I have had some PVC's and PAC"s nothing too different than ususual. Tonight I felt my heart racing and apparently I had an episode of PSVT, Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia.

Is this serious? Or does it just sound worse than it is?

GayleP

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Dear GayleP,

As I understand it this is not really bad, just mostly uncomfortable. Like most PVC's/PAC's, etc, it can often only be "dangerous" if there is some other heart trouble. I too, have had this on eeg's, I was told to cough if they return, or hold my breath and lightly "push down" like you need to have a bm. They can last a few minutes to hours (yuck).

Take care,

Blackwolf

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Thanks so much you guys for your responses.

I think the name "superaventricular " freaked me out a little. Also the incident, it felt kind of scary. But then so do PVC's. It only lasted for about 10 seconds, I can't imagine it lasting for a minute.

I guess it's not too serious because when I called my cardiologist they hadn't even seen the reading yet.

I used to only get PAC's, then came PVC's then I got PAT's and now PSVT's can be added to the list. As long as they are benign and don't get worse I can handle them.

GayleP

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gayle, superventicular means, "above the the venticles" that means it's an arrythmia in the atrial part or the beginning of your heart beat. the upper chambers. this is actually good, as venticular rhythyms are much more serious if sustained. it is also callled pat or paroxymal atrial tach. starts suddenly and then stops suddenly. it is actually pretty common. valsalva maneuvers as mentioned above can be very helpful in stopping it. such as coughing hard, sitting and leaning over, like people sometimes do when they feel faint, bearing down like you are having a nice big baby or poop. these are all things we taught to people that had lots of problems with it. it is pretty benign, however if it is sustained for quite awhile, which is long enough for you to become lightheaded or nauseated or anything, you need to get it checked out. in rare instances it can comprimise the system if sustained for long periods. if the heart beats too fast for too long it will have a hard time getting an adequate blood supply to the body. so don't stand around if you are having it. at least sit down. but as i said it's a whole lot safer than runs of ventricular rhythms. please excuse my spelling, brains a little slow today. i have them a lot and for some peculiar reason i feel single beats more than runs. weird. hope that helps. morgan

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Thanks again everyone.

It helps to know exactly what "supraventricular "means. I didn't hear back from my cardiologist so getting your explanations really helped. I appreciate it.

Morgan,

Thanks for explaining it in terms of a PAT. I've had several of those and didn't realize the two were the same thing. For some reason I thought I was having ventricular tachycardia.

Some times knowing a little information is harmful.

GayleP

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gayle, it's so unfortuanate that docs don't take the time to explain these things. it's very sad that people walk out of an office terrified. sometimes it is not comforting to just hear, oh it's not worrisome. easy to say when you are not the one having it. i am not a nice person, because i have wished some of these things on people that are arrogant, because they'd change their tune in a heartbeat if they had to experience it. (so to speak) just think of supra as "above" and paroxymal is as stated. comes and goes typically suddenly. knowing this doesn't make it feel better physically, but hopefully it will help emotionally. hopefully no more episodes of it either! morgan

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  • 3 months later...
gayle,  superventicular means, "above the the venticles"  that means it's an arrythmia in the atrial part or the beginning of your heart beat.  the upper chambers.  this is actually good, as venticular rhythyms are much more serious if sustained.  it is also callled pat  or paroxymal atrial tach.  starts suddenly and then stops suddenly.  it is actually pretty common.  valsalva maneuvers as mentioned above can be very helpful in stopping it.  such as coughing hard, sitting and leaning over, like people sometimes do when they feel faint, bearing down like you are having a nice big baby or poop.  these are all things we taught to people that had lots of problems with it.  it is pretty benign, however if it is sustained for quite awhile, which is long enough for you to become lightheaded or nauseated or anything, you need to get it checked out.  in rare instances it can comprimise the system if sustained for long periods.  if the heart beats too fast for too long it will have a hard time getting an adequate blood supply to the body.  so don't stand around if you are having it.  at least sit down.  but as i said it's a whole lot safer than runs of ventricular rhythms.  please excuse my spelling, brains a little slow today.  i have them a lot and for some peculiar reason i feel single beats more than runs.  weird.  hope that helps.  morgan

Hi Morgan, I realize this is a very old post but was wondering if you (or anyone else) could answer a question. I have frequent episodes of tachcardia accompanied by lightheadedness, shortness of breath and the feeling of pulsing in my head. I always assumed that was just part of having POTS and was of no concern. Today I received a copy of past medical records. My event monitor showed instances of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia and also sinus bradycardia. EKG report showed Right Bundle Branch Block. Stress Echo report says the LV End sysolic dimension is 9 (normal is 23-40), LV Posterior wall thickness is 25 (normal is 7-12mm) . I also have Mitral Valve Prolapse but no regurg. Should I be concerned with any of this?

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Gayle,

I know this is an old post, but my husband has PSVT and thought I'd respond.

Overall, no, this isn't dangerous. Scary? Yes, but dangerous, probably not. He has had several episodes over his lifetime of heart rates well over 200. Once, during an episode, a co-worker rushed him to the ER, where they stopped and restarted his heart -- sort of rebooting it. The ER docs dont' like seeing heart rates that high, but unless it's REALLY prolonged - like for several hours, which it usually isn't - it's not a major problem. The only worry with it lasting a long time is that it might wear out the heart muscle.

The issue is simply one of an electrical pathway problem. Sometimes it short circuits and starts beating too fast and can't stop for a while. His docs gave him a few tricks to stop an episode, and they seem to work quite well.

Trick #1: Splash your face with very cold ice water. This triggers the diving reflex and tends to reboot your heart on its own.

Trick #2: Try the Valsalva maneuver: Holding your breath, bear down as if you are trying to pass a difficult bowel movement. Hold for 10-20 seconds, and then let go. You will be very lightheaded afterward -- warning! So do this while seated.

His episodes have never lasted longer than 15-20 minutes. If you just bear all of this in mind next time you have an episode, you should be just fine.

Good luck!

Janet

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Does this event feel like fluttering in the chest? This is what I have experienced from time to time, and it is scary. Sometimes when I get this I feel a bit faint and very slightly sick to my stomach, too. It is never sustained for longer than 5 to 10 seconds in my case. I have described this to my cardiologist and he wasn't concerned (I also responded to this post up above). Anyway, I had another event last Friday, and it again really scared me.

Katherine

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Gayle,

I know this is an old post, but my husband has PSVT and thought I'd respond.

Overall, no, this isn't dangerous.  Scary? Yes, but dangerous, probably not.  He has had several episodes over his lifetime of heart rates well over 200.  Once, during an episode, a co-worker rushed him to the ER, where they stopped and restarted his heart -- sort of rebooting it.  The ER docs dont' like seeing heart rates that high, but unless it's REALLY prolonged - like for several hours, which it usually isn't - it's not a major problem.  The only worry with it lasting a long time is that it might wear out the heart muscle.

The issue is simply one of an electrical pathway problem. Sometimes it short circuits and starts beating too fast and can't stop for a while.  His docs gave him a few tricks to stop an episode, and they seem to work quite well.

Trick #1:  Splash your face with very cold ice water.  This triggers the diving reflex and tends to reboot your heart on its own.

Trick #2: Try the Valsalva maneuver: Holding your breath, bear down as if you are trying to pass a difficult bowel movement. Hold for 10-20 seconds, and then let go. You will be very lightheaded afterward -- warning!  So do this while seated.

His episodes have never lasted longer than 15-20 minutes.  If you just bear all of this in mind next time you have an episode, you should be just fine.

Good luck!

Janet

Hi Janet,

Good to hear from you. Haven't seen you around for a while. I hope you've been feeling OK.

Anyhow. thanks for the information and the tips. So far my incidents have only lasted a few minutes at the most. I can't imagine 15 - 20 minutes but I'm prepared that it could happen. But it's good have some things to do instead of just sitting there. I tend to freeze in place but next time I'll try some of those recommendations.

Hope you husband doesn't get too many of these.

GayleP

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Katherine,

Yes, you described it perfectly. It's usually a fluttering feeling. Although I think I had a few episodes show up on my event recorder that felt more like PVC's. So I didn't feel the fast rate fluttering a few of the times.

When I first had these things I was convinced it was an afib. I was really relieved that I had some episodes during the month I used the event reorder so I could see exactly what was happening and that it was not an afib.

Have you used the event recorder before?

GayleP

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Lisa, Hi. Right bundle branch blocks are very frequent in in healthy people. It just means that when the electrical current that controls the heart beat is not quite symmetrical, so one side responds a little slower than the other. It makes your EKG look a little funny, but if it were serious, such as one caused by a heart attack, there would be very obvious signs on your EKG. So it sounds like you just have a little variant there that's no cause for alarm. As far as your echo, it means your left ventricle wall is a little thickened. It may say borderline or mild hypertrophy on the results. This can or can't be normal. Most athletic people have it to some degree, simply because their hearts have to compensate for all the exercise they do. My hubby is a letter carrier and has it just from walking all day long. It can be caused by having constant tachycardia, because it's the same response of the heart to compensate for the faster beat. I have it, probably as do most of us that have problems with tachycardia. What did it say your ejection fraction was? It would be the initials EF. And a % sign. It should be above 50 and below 80. Also, if you do not have constant and I mean sustained hypertension, it never goes down, then it's usually of no concern. If a person has a very high ejection fraction and very high BP, then this can become a problem. That being said, I have tachycardia and have had sustained malignant hypertension for over 4 years now and still have only borderline hypertrophy. So they probably looked at all the factors and decided it was a benign condition. I would assume you will follow up on a regular basis and have echoes periodically, so they will keep track of it. So they would be looking at your BP, heart rates, ejection fraction and lots of other things before they would be very concerned about it, which is why they probably told you it was normal. Prolapse is not even usually mentioned in echoes, unless it is very severe. Hope that helps. morgan

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Gayle

I was once given an event recorder, but nothing happened to record, other than some odd PVCs. I get this flutter event very rarely. Last time before last Friday was a year and a half ago. If it happens again soon, I am going to ask my doctor if I can try another event recorder--just for peace of mind, I guess.

Thanks, Katherine

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DH's episodes are quite more than a fluttering feeling. He gets cold and clammy, pale, short of breath and his chest hurts. Sometimes even his right arm hurts. For him, it has all the symptoms of a heart attack but his enzymes are always negative. He usually has pretty elevated BP during an episode, too. A few times, it scared me enough to go to the ER with him, and the ER docs write it off as chest wall spasms because by the time we get to the ER, it's usually been 10 minutes or so and the HR is down quite a bit but his BP is still high.

Katherine,

Yes, you described it perfectly. It's usually a fluttering feeling. Although I think I had a few episodes show up on my event recorder that felt more like PVC's. So I didn't feel the fast rate fluttering a few of the times.

When I first had these things I was convinced it was an afib.  I was really relieved that I had some episodes during the month I used the event reorder so I could see exactly what was happening and that it was not an afib.

Have you used the event recorder before?

GayleP

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TexasGrrl

I also SOMETIMES feel clammy afterwards, like you describe your husband feeling. Also, like I said, it can make me feel faint and slightly nauseous. So, it sounds like he hasn't had this diagnosed, exactly? I know how scary it is--you feel like you might be dying -- for a few seconds, at least. ugh, I hate it. It would be helpful to know for sure that it is benign.

Katherine

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Thanks for the info Morgan. I just got out of the hospital again today, they did another stress echo so I will be interested to see those results to see if there has been much change in the past two years. I am still amazed at the number of doctors that look at you like you are crazy when you try to explain why your heart rate is so screwy and bp is so low.

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Gayle

I was once given an event recorder, but nothing happened to record, other than some odd PVCs.  I get this flutter event very rarely. Last time before last Friday was a year and a half ago.  If it happens again soon, I am going to ask my doctor if I can try another event recorder--just for peace of mind, I guess.

Thanks, Katherine

Katherine,

I would definitely do the event recorder again. And pray you have an episode that they can catch. I was really lucky that I did. I can go months without anything other than PVC's so I feel fortunate that I had a PSVT during the month I had the event recorder.

Good luck.

Gayle

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Merrill,

I replied to your post on the pillow. Thanks so much for the info. I appreciate it.

As for the PSVT's, I guzzle Gatorade when I get them. Like that's going to do anything. That's my cure for everything. It's like comfort food. Lightheaded, I drink Gatorade. Heart stuff, I drink Gatorade. Fatigue, I drink Gatorade.

GayleP

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