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Valsalva Maneuver

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

The Valsalva maneuver (VM) is a method used to help decrease an abnormally fast heart rate. It is most commonly used to control supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).


How to do the Valsalva maneuver:

You can do the VM while sitting or lying down. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about the best position for you to do the VM. The following may help return your fast heart rate to normal:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Plug your nose and keep your mouth closed.
  • Breathe out forcefully for about 10 to 15 seconds. You may feel your ears pop when doing this.
  • When you do the VM lying down, have another person put a hand on your abdomen. Your abdomen should push against the hand when you force your breath out.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or heart specialist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You lose muscle control and fall or pass out while doing the VM.
  • Your heart rate does not return to normal after doing the VM.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have sudden, severe chest pain or trouble breathing.

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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.

Further information

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