Living With SVT Can Be A Scary Thing….

Many of you don’t know that I have SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia).   It haunts me every day.   I never know when an episode will happen.  One minute I’m fine and the next my heart is beating out of my skin and VERY fast.

Typically when this happens for me, I could be doing nothing or maybe just my normal things.  Then all of a sudden my heart starts pounding.  Not like you just ran a marathon kind of pounding but a very hard pound.  Like its working really hard.  You run out of breath cause its working triple time.  You also panic.

I’m 40 years old. I eat healthy, have cut down on my caffeine intake and very seldom do I drink.  I however don’t exercise.  I’m not over weight and I have vitamins but I forget to take them.  LOL

The average episode for a person with SVT, the heart will go from normal to 140-300 (bpm).  Normal rate is 60-100.  It can also end fast as well or last awhile…  thats when you need to be concerned and for most of us that suffer from this we head to the ER.


Things to do on your own to try to stop it/slow it down:

  • Bearing Down:  Using your stomach muscles almost like your taking a poo.  If you have too sit on the toilet and just push.
  • Dunk Head In Ice Bath:   Shocking your system is another way by holding your breathe in cold ice water.
  • Hold Breath:  Holding breath for about 20-60 seconds
  • Cough:  Cough a few times and repeat.  It’s using stomach muscles much like bearing down.


If you can’t stop it then you need to head to ER:

If all else fails then heading the the hospital is the way to go.  They have a couple different treatments to slow down the heart for you.  First one that they’ll try is giving you an IV with some medicine in it…  Adenosine is the most common one used or Verapamil.  It’s a weird sensation but sometimes they have to use more then one dose depending on how bad it is.

If that doesn’t work then next step would be electric shock therapy.  I haven’t tried that yet and hoping I don’t have to.


What Causes SVT?

They say that most of the time it’s caused by faulty electrical connections in the heart.  This could also run in the family or be caused by certain medications that you are taking like medications with high levels digoxin (for the heart) or theophylline (for the lungs) medicines.

If you only get them maybe every 5-10 years then I wouldn’t worry too much about it.  People that get them more frequently have options.  They can have surgery to fix it.  For most it has worked.  There’s also a medication you can take  and some will work and some might not.  There’s side effects too.

Older people and ones with heart conditions need to be more careful and be watched.  Their hearts can’t take the high heart rate as easily has a younger person.



Each one is different.  Sometimes the next day I can be fine.  But one of them it took me months before I was better.  I felt like one of my lungs had collapsed.  I kept going to doctors cause I didn’t know what was wrong.  I was in total panic mode.  They couldn’t find anything but I had a feeling my heart just got a serious work out that one day.



Some of My Stories:

My first episode was of course my hardest cause I had no idea what was happening to me.  I was walking up stairs and about half way there I remember thinking this is strange.  I must be really out of shape (I’m pretty skinny but don’t work out).  Went to the bathroom and my heart was racing but wouldn’t slow down.  I walked back downstairs and laid on couch.  I told my husband to come over and I said “There’s something strange going on…  feel my heart”.   I remember the look on his face.  So we decided to go to the ER.

We get there but I remember the short drive there I had hard time breathing.  Go through the doors and I’m trying to tell the lady at the desk my problem.  I guess the minute you say you’re having problems with your heart they take notice (room was FULL with people).  So she took my pulse before getting me back (read at 192).  All of a sudden I was whisked away faster then lightening!   I had every doctor and nurse in there.  I had the IV done.  They said they were giving me the medicine that they give to someone who’s about to under go heart surgery.  That was not comforting.  The first one didn’t work so they gave it to me again.  Then it started to slowly go down.   I was eventually sent home.


Another time I had my 2 year old son in car with me and we were heading to pick up my daughter at preschool.  I heard this pop sound in my chest and then it happened.  I knew.  I was bearing down in the car…  breathing… moving around…  But I knew I shouldn’t be driving.  So I went to closest place I could think of which was the fire station.  I knew that they could take care of me and my son.

They took care of everything.  Called my husband and the school.  They took my son so my husband could pick him up there.  They whisked me away in ambulance to hospital. But of course as I’m in ambulance I wasn’t breathing (holding my breath) cause I was nervous and worried about my son that I think by not breathing I caused it to slow down.  They still had to take me to hospital though.  Everything was fine but it still scares me when it happens.  Something about not having control of your body…  and you never know when it will happen.

About Leslie Pleasants

Leslie Pleasants is the founder of Today's Every Mom. Inspired by her own busy life with kiddos she set out to create a spot where Moms of any stage or age could find relevant and resourceful advice.


  1. Hi – I am 41 and a mom of three small kids (ages 3-7) and I too suffer from SVT. It’s terrifying when it happens and living with it is living in anxiety every day bc it’s so unpredictable. Am curious how have you treated it? I would love to get in touch and discuss this with another mom who is going through it. Thank you for sharing your story.