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Q. What are the emergency symptoms of SVT?

Answered by
Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 14, 2018

Hi doctor,

When I was 13 or 14 years old, I was diagnosed with SVT (supraventricular tachycardia). During initial days, it would last several minutes, and by the age 15, it was down to a few seconds (10-15). I saw a cardiologist, and he said that for the age 15 the SVT was so irregular. Also, he stated that I do not have to go for checkups anymore unless something happened again. I am now 17 (female). I have never taken any medications. I have only had palpitations, recently. When I stand up, my heart rate seems to go straight up causing me to get lightheaded for a few seconds, and make me feel a bit out of breath. Recently while playing skirmish outdoors, I was running around for about 30 to 40 minutes. We decided to have a short break, and as I was walking, I noticed my heart was going so fast I could not even count and could not catch my breath at all. I tried deep breaths and still could not breathe. Then, suddenly everything started turning black, and I could barely see. I had to hold onto a bin, and I was sure I was going to faint any second. My heart still racing and I barely walked to a chair. It took about 20 minutes for my heart to slow down. For the rest of the day and the following two days, I felt weak. I felt as if my heart rate was higher than usual, and thumping in my chest. Should I have gotten help at the time? What are SVT emergency symptoms? When should I seek medical advice?

Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode

Cardiology General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to

The episode that you described is probably an SVT episode. The warning signs are the same which you had such as sudden palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest pain, and lastly, it can lead to syncope.

However, these are not directly life-threatening. This can be an SVT like PSV (paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia) or atrial fibrillation, in which heart rate suddenly goes up and also suddenly decreases.

Blood pressure falls during these episodes, and one has dizziness, fainting, blackouts, sometimes syncope. Usually, ECG is normal as it is generally done in between the events.

ECG done during episodes will show abnormality. You will need 24-hour Holter monitoring which will correlate your symptoms with heart rate and rhythm. To abort such incidents, you should try to cough hard.

Till the time your evaluation is complete, you can ask your local doctor for tablet Metoprolol or Ciplar LA 20 mg (Propranolol) once a day. Another option is of electrophysiological study which is an invasive test which can diagnose and treat the arrhythmia permanently in most of the cases. Hope this helps you and get back if you have any doubts.

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