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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 your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:
- You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
- You may also have 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
Seek care immediately if:
- You are dizzy, lightheaded, or feel faint.
- You have sudden numbness or weakness in your arms or legs.
Call your doctor or cardiologist if:
- You have new or worsening 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 or 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.
Check your heart rate (pulse) as directed:
Your healthcare provider will show you how to check your pulse, and how often to check it. Write down how fast your pulse is and if it feels regular or like it is skipping beats. Also write down the activity you were doing if your heart rate is above 100. Bring the information with you to your follow-up appointment.
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 what a healthy weight is for you. Ask him or her to help you create a safe 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.
- Manage other health conditions. Take medicine as directed and follow your treatment plan. Your healthcare provider may need to change a medicine you are taking if it is causing your SVT. Do not stop taking any medicine unless directed by your provider.
Follow up with your doctor or cardiologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Supraventricular Tachycardia (Discharge Care)
IBM Watson Micromedex
Mayo Clinic Reference
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