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Sudden Supraventricular Tachycardia Attacks

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Hi everyone! Since about 1 year and a half into my illness, I've been getting these sudden attacks of what looks like supraventricular tachycardia. I can't say for sure as I haven't seen a cardiologist but contrary to what the doctors claim, they definitelly arn't panic attacks.

These 'attacks' seem to happen anytime although generally when I'm in a relaxed state. They have happened most often when I've been in bed, either waking me up during the night or when I'm about to nod off. First of all, I get a sudden hot flush. Then my heart will start thumping forcefully and quickly increase in speed, generally to about 170-200bpm before slowing down and returning to normal.

They usually last about 5 minutes, but one time my heart remained in this state for nearly 2 hours during a viral onset, which led to me calling an ambulance and being kept in hospital. The doctors however focused all their attention on the infection I had and disregarded anything said about the SVT episode that made me call the anbulance, just making trivialising statements like 'palpitations are normal with an infection'.

I know that many here with ME/CFS have been experiencing palpitations but haven't heard much about SVT and it doesn't seem like it's a common CFS symptom. Has anyone here experienced SVT or have any ideas on what would cause a symptom like this? Thanks again!
 

nandixon

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I know that many here with ME/CFS have been experiencing palpitations but haven't heard much about SVT and it doesn't seem like it's a common CFS symptom. Has anyone here experienced SVT or have any ideas on what would cause a symptom like this?
Yes, you'd want to see a cardiologist and confirm that's what it is, by wearing a 24-hour Holter monitor, for example.

In my case the SVTs, which were quite bothersome and interfered with falling asleep, were treatable with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). They were initially kept at bay with 150 mg which I had to gradually increase to 300 mg (200 morning, 100 night) over the years (always taken with an oil/ fat).

My CoQ10 levels measured at half the lowest minimum value. Unfortunately, the CoQ10 does nothing in my case for the ME/CFS fatigue (energy impairment) and I actually feel worse if I take too much.

You may also be experiencing atrial flutter or some other similar phenomenon rather than SVTs (or in addition to) and so would have to check with the cardiologist.
 

Sushi

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I agree. Going to a cardiologist—particularly an electrophysiologist—seems the best way to find out what is going on and how to treat it. Since electrophysiologists specialize in heart rhythms, they are a better bet than a general cardiologist for something that seems like SVT.
 

Dan_USAAZ

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Until this thread, I had not heard of others with SVT. I get SVT, but for a much shorter duration (5 – 10 seconds). My heart rate jumps from resting rate of 55 – 60 to 190 – 200. Similar to you, my SVT occurs when I am relaxed and sitting or reclining. It’s possible it happens at other times and I don’t notice because I am active, but think this is unlikely.

I agree with the other posters recommending engagement with a cardiologist/electrophysiologist. I had in-office evaluations as well as 24 hour monitor and 30 day event monitor.

I do not know what triggers it, but I do have low aldosterone. This can cause cardio, hydration, electrolyte, etc., issues. When I add salt to my diet, I get some improvement in other heart related issues and may reduce the occurrence of my SVT. I have low blood pressure, so doctor said not to worry about higher salt intake.

As for treatment (in US), often an oblation procedure is performed.
 
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@nandixon I agree, I'll see about getting a cardiologist/electrophysiologist. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long as it was almost 8 months last time to see a neurologist and I heard cardiologists are an even longer wait with the NHS where I live.

I've tried CoQ10 several times, both ubiquinone and ubiquinol at 200mg but they didn't have any effect on any of my symptoms, my heart issues included. I'm glad to hear though that you managed to treat your SVT with this.

I'm not quite sure if it would be atrial flutter but they are definitelly attacks of something along the lines of SVT. The first time one happened, I thought I was going to have a heart attack and called an ambullance. And I'm not sure if a 24 hour monitor of my heart would do much good as these attacks only come on ocasionally, like once a month at the most. But I also get bigeminy episodes (triggered by intense emotions like fear, anxiety or excitement) much more often on a daily basis so maybe that could help here.

@Dan_USAAZ Outside of these attacks I've been getting, I have noticed my heart can sometimes jump from 60-90 to 170-200 for a couple of beats then go back to normal, although I think these could be PVCs.

The SVTs you get though are much different from mine though and I wonder I'm using the correct term for what I've been experiencing. These attacks come on suddenly and it feels just like you are going to have a heart attack. I start sweating and get chest pain and tightness as my heart starts thumping and speeding up. But as I said, they definitelly arn't panic attacks. I'm wondering myself if these could be caused by an electrolyte imbalance or something along those lines.
 

PatJ

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I'm wondering myself if these could be caused by an electrolyte imbalance or something along those lines.
People with ME/CFS are often low in magnesium and sometimes potassium. Too little of either can cause heart problems (so can too much though so a person should be aware of the signs of excess when supplementing).

I used to get curious episodes where my heart rate would suddenly start pounding, and other times when it would skip a beat or two and I would suddenly feel like I would pass out. Supplementing magnesium helped significantly but I would still have the occasional episode.

After a couple of months of taking 1/2 teaspoon of hot cayenne (at least 40,000HU; 90,000 HU is better) 3 times per day to help increase my blood pressure I realized my little heart episodes had finally disappeared. Cayenne is known to be very helpful for heart health and circulation. It also balances blood pressure by lowering high BP or increasing low BP. I started at 1/8 teaspoon and worked up by 1/8 every few days to let my body slowly adjust.
 
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@nandixon The SVTs you get though are much different from mine though and I wonder I'm using the correct term for what I've been experiencing. These attacks come on suddenly and it feels just like you are going to have a heart attack. I start sweating and get chest pain and tightness as my heart starts thumping and speeding up. But as I said, they definitelly arn't panic attacks. I'm wondering myself if these could be caused by an electrolyte imbalance or something along those lines.
The attacks you get sound spookily like what I’ve been getting since May. They come from nowhere, especially when I’m sitting in bed at night, or wake me up from sleeping. I usually wake up wondering why I’ve suddenly woken up and start to get very hot and sweat, then my heart starts to beat fast, but not so fast now because I’m on beta blockers. Unfortunately this makes me panic so everything gets worse.

Mine tend to last a bit longer though, can go on for 4 or 5 hours sometimes and it feels like it comes in waves in terms of the chest tightness.

I was in hospital just over a week ago because I had a particularly bad episode, but everything looked normal.

However because I get a lot of palpitations the hospital referred me to have a 24 hour holt monitor (not until the 24th though). Not sure if that will be long enough to pick anything up like you said earlier.

It’s interesting to hear someone having a similar problem, I’ll let you know if I find anything useful out from the hospital after they look at my results.

For now, finding that Magnesium seems to help (using one that you spray on your skin) and taking 1 or 2 electrolyte drinks each day to try and make sure I’m properly hydrated 😃
 

Sushi

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Outside of these attacks I've been getting, I have noticed my heart can sometimes jump from 60-90 to 170-200 for a couple of beats then go back to normal, although I think these could be PVCs.
HR monitors average beats so are not accurate for recognizing arrhythmias. I have a KardiaMobile (https://store.alivecor.com/products..._7iw94yn-Ldwc6enWkRoCfWMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds) which takes a medical grade EKG which you can email to your doctor it you catch an event. It has been really worth the $99 for me. A jump like you describe could easily be a premature beat that is added to another normal beat making it look like a spike of 180. PACs are more common than PVCs but an electrophysiologist would usually use a monitor for a few weeks rather than 24 hours if a new patient presented with a history like you describe. With that data he/she could evaluate what is happening.
 
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@PatJ When I tried magnesium (300mg daily), there was no difference in any of my symptoms and still had these fake heart attacks whilst I was taking it. I'm glad to hear though that you managed to make your heart episodes subside by taking magnesium and cayenne pepper.

@Chrisjr19 Yep, this sounds just like what I've been experiencing. I can't bare to imagine having this for 4-5 hours though, I really hope you manage to get to the bottom of these heart episodes soon and manage to find something that helps or treats them, best of luck my friend.

One of my doctors tried me on beta-blockers (propranolol) once but after just taking two tablets (at 20mg) I took a really bad reaction to them and ended up with all sorts of palpitations and heart arrhythmias which lasted for about 2 months. And a few months after subsiding, some of these arrhythmias came back for unexplained reasons and have remained ever since, like my anxiety/excitement-induced bigeminy for example.

And yep, I'm sure a 24 hour monitor isn't going to be much use unless you happen to have one of these episodes during those 24 hours. Having a 30 day monitor done by an electrophysiologist sounds like a better idea if you want to catch one and record it.

@Sushi This could be worth investing in with my situation with my heart. If it does record accurate, medical grade EKG then I could catch some of these heart arrhithmias and especially those SVT attacks I've been getting. I'm not sure yet if I'm getting PVCs or PACS but I have noticed that when my heart goes into bigeminy, my whole heart seems to jolt hard on each 1st beat, followed quickly by a tiny 2nd beat felt at the bottom area of my heart, suggesting that these particular episodes are ventricular. Getting one of these little EKG monitors sound like a great idea for recording these events when they happen and I might even be able to prove to my doctors once and for all that I'm not just having panic attacks.
 
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I've been getting these sudden attacks of what looks like supraventricular tachycardia. I can't say for sure as I haven't seen a cardiologist but contrary to what the doctors claim, they definitelly arn't panic attacks.
I started getting new symptoms last summer when I was extra run down. Something along these lines started happening...it felt like my heart would start racing and was also flopping around (as if the blood that should be in there, wasn't)....feels very strange and NOTHING like a panic attack. Mine were happening between about 5 pm and 7 pm when I am the most run down daily.

I have to lie down, and I just lay there for say half an hour and they tended to then stop. Alot of deep breathing...would sometimes make it stop..so I assume its my heart not finding blood and oxygen necessary for operation.

It started happening less when I starting taking BCAA's so something there helped this somehow.
 
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@Rufous McKinney Have you seen a cardiologist/electrophysiologist about this? It does sound like your heart could be beating too fast or prematurely perhaps. PVCs/PACs for example make your heart beat out of sync with your heart rhythm and because of that they often don't actually pump any blood. If you don't feel any pulse during these particular beats then this could be the case.

With the bigeminy episodes I get, every 2nd beat is a much smaller beat with no pulse. I also get very lightheaded too, as my heart actually pumping blood very very slowly (30-50bpm) with long pauses, when it should be going at about 140-160. My heart doing this when there's a high oxygen demand in my body is worrying.

At least though, the BCAA's are somewhat helping your situation with these episodes, hopefully you get to the bottom of them and manage to find a way to make them go away completely.
 
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Have you seen a cardiologist/electrophysiologist about this?

ummm....no..... I'm rather averse to visiting doctors and don't chase after aggressive testing....

Saw my GP yesterday...maybe we made one millimeter's worth of further progress...

He knows this illness exists, gave me a valid diagonosis. That said: he doesn't know really ALL the DETAILS this illness comes with. He doesn't watch Netflix.

We know more about it ourselves than any GP can ever know....seems like.
 

Sushi

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This could be worth investing in with my situation with my heart. If it does record accurate, medical grade EKG then I could catch some of these heart arrhithmias and especially those SVT attacks I've been getting. I'm not sure yet if I'm getting PVCs or PACS but I have noticed that when my heart goes into bigeminy, my whole heart seems to jolt hard on each 1st beat, followed quickly by a tiny 2nd beat felt at the bottom area of my heart, suggesting that these particular episodes are ventricular. Getting one of these little EKG monitors sound like a great idea for recording these events when they happen and I might even be able to prove to my doctors once and for all that I'm not just having panic attacks.
The model that I have ($99) is one lead, though they have instructions on how to place it to reflect other leads (like one part of the sensor on the knee and the other on your fingers). They also just came out with a 6 lead model that would be helpful to a cardiologist but not so much to laymen—it is $149 and yes these devices are FDA approved and I’ve never met a doctor that didn’t accept their results. Since it is so small I carry it in my purse so can whip it out and take an EKG anywhere. You can set it to record for 30 seconds to 5 minutes. It immediately displays a computer response (like normal, possible Afib, bradycardia etc.) and you also have the option to send it to a cardiologist on call with the company if you don’t want to send it to your own doctor.
 
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@Rufous McKinney I see. If you have a valid diagnosis of ME/CFS then I agree, there isn't much point expecting any input from doctors as we know much much more than they do about it. This is rather evident going by how the doctors I've been seeing describe CFS.

In my situation, I'm not so much convinced that I actually have CFS and have only been seeing doctors because I want to find out what it really is. I was diagnosed by a GP just because I had "fatigue" (their word not mine) for over 6 months and my symptoms appeared along with a mild flu or cold. Doctors have ran their usual routine tests several times and nothing showed up, so they continue dismissing my illness as CFS or post-viral fatigue without even trying anything else. And besides that, my symptoms are nothing like CFS: no PEM or crashes, no intolerances and hardly any physical complaints. My illness is more like some sort of degenerative brain condition and the only thing making it worse is time. I've lost all faith in doctors and the NHS now and hardly see my GP myself nowadays, but will continue pushing them for tests if I need to.

@Sushi Definitely a great invention by the sound of it. I'll look into getting myself one of these for recording any arrhythmias I get for my doctor to see.
 
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