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What causes paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia?

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Posted on Mon, 11 May 2015
Question: I have experienced palpitations since I was twelve and I have learned to control it by holding my breath .eighteen months ago I experienced a cardiac event ...... A blockage in a secondary artery at the back of my heart. More recently I have experienced ectopic heart beats on a regular basis and low blood pressure. I don't drink and stay off caffeine I realise that it's probably nothing to worry about but I find it very uncomfortable. I am not a worrier but I wonder if there is anything I can do to stop it since it goes on for hours at times and I get very light headed. I am waiting for some test results and to have a echocardiogram what might that show?
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Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (26 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
An arrhythmia that needs to be diagnosed

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

the palpitations you've felt in the past were probably paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and that's why they were stopping with the Valsalva maneuver (holding your breath). This last arrhythmia seems like a different one. This time you had symptoms, which means that your heart could not pump the blood effectively. This is a medical emergency when it happens because a simple lightheadedness could evolve into a black-out or worse.

The 3 day heart monitor is a good test and it is supposed to provide the diagnosis if the arrhythmia occurs during monitoring.
The echocardiogram may provide information about the structural and functional status of your heart, which is important for treatment decisions. The echo might show findings related to your previous cardiac event (parts of the heart that are not moving because they were damaged).

I hope I've helped you understand your situation better.
You can contact me again if you'd like more information.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (7 minutes later)
Is there anything like the valsalva manouever that I can use to stop it when it happens
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (3 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Unfortunately not

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

SVT can be stopped with the Valsalva maneuver due to its nature and the physiology of the cardiovascular system. Arrhythmias of different origin cannot be influenced by this (or other) maneuvers. The arrhythmia has to be identified (the 3 day monitoring should detect it) and treated accordingly. Treatment depends on the involved part of myocardium and diagnosis. The only thing you can do is to visit the emergency room every time you have symptoms...

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (2 minutes later)
Thankyou
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (0 minute later)
Brief Answer:
You're welcome

Detailed Answer:
I'll be glad to help you again in the future, if the need arises.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3764 Questions

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What causes paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia?

Brief Answer: An arrhythmia that needs to be diagnosed Detailed Answer: Hello, the palpitations you've felt in the past were probably paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and that's why they were stopping with the Valsalva maneuver (holding your breath). This last arrhythmia seems like a different one. This time you had symptoms, which means that your heart could not pump the blood effectively. This is a medical emergency when it happens because a simple lightheadedness could evolve into a black-out or worse. The 3 day heart monitor is a good test and it is supposed to provide the diagnosis if the arrhythmia occurs during monitoring. The echocardiogram may provide information about the structural and functional status of your heart, which is important for treatment decisions. The echo might show findings related to your previous cardiac event (parts of the heart that are not moving because they were damaged). I hope I've helped you understand your situation better. You can contact me again if you'd like more information. Kind Regards!