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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a condition that causes your heart to beat much faster than it should. SVT is a type of abnormal heart rhythm, called an arrhythmia, that starts in the upper part of your heart. It may last a few seconds or hours to several days.
Call 911 for the following:
- You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
- and any of the following:
- Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have dizziness, lightheadedness, or feel faint.
- You have sudden numbness or weakness in your arms or legs.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms get worse, or you have new symptoms.
- You have swelling in your ankles or feet.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines can help control your heart rate and rhythm. You may need more than one medicine to treat your symptoms.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
How to manage or prevent SVT:
- Perform vagal maneuvers as directed when you have symptoms of SVT. Lie down flat and bear down like you are having a bowel movement. Do this for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Do not drink caffeine or alcohol. These can increase your risk for SVT.
- Keep a record of your symptoms. Write down what you ate or what you were doing before an episode of SVT. Also write down anything you did to make the SVT stop. Bring your record to follow up visits with your healthcare provider.
- Eat heart-healthy foods. These include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Replace butter and margarine with heart-healthy oils such as olive oil and canola oil.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause heart and lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.