Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT) and Running

Posted by ronbyrd @ronbyrd, Jan 11, 2019

I have been running for a decade including 6-7 marathons. Two years ago, while training, I had brief bouts of tachycardia. Cardiologist did tests that showed my heart was “structurally” sound. Then put me on Bisoprolol. That had side effects so I tried Diltiazem to mitigate SVT episodes. Both did appear to help but I stopped due to side effects. End result was Dr said SVT is rarely fatal and unless my quality of life was affected there was nothing more to do. Not wanting to aggravate the condition I have stopped running (but do a lot of walking). Are there any runners out there with similar experiences?

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I am not a runner, but 16 years ago I had SVT, 205 bpm. It was determined that my resting heart rate was too low for drugs. I had an ablation. Three months later the SVT came back (the electrophysiologist has said there was that chance). I had a second ablation. Since then I’ve had PVC’s from time to time. Last May I almost passed out at work from a short fast arrhythmia. My cardiologist thought it might be ventricular tachycardia. In June I had a LINQ loop recorder implanted.

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Supra Ventricular Tachycardias are often not considered as dangerous as ventricular tachycardias. Non-Sustaining Ventricular Tachycardia reportedly happens in younger, healthy hearts too (but not often). But those that seem to get bouts of SVT only tolerate them for X amount of time before going to the ER to have the episode terminated. How long does your episodes last, and has your doctor provided a trigger point where you should seek medical assistance? Have you had a stress test to observe their occurrence under stress on your heart?

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@soliloquized

Supra Ventricular Tachycardias are often not considered as dangerous as ventricular tachycardias. Non-Sustaining Ventricular Tachycardia reportedly happens in younger, healthy hearts too (but not often). But those that seem to get bouts of SVT only tolerate them for X amount of time before going to the ER to have the episode terminated. How long does your episodes last, and has your doctor provided a trigger point where you should seek medical assistance? Have you had a stress test to observe their occurrence under stress on your heart?

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My episodes are short – around a minute and happen occasionally while running. I should have added "Paroxysmal" to diagnosis (PSVT), meaning from time to time. They stop when I stop running. Only other times I've had (detected) episodes is on brisk walks and that's rare. I never discussed a trigger point with doctor, as when I've seen it happen (on my Apple Watch) I break into a walk and it goes away. Always has. Yes, a stress test was part of the cardiologist's tests and it triggered episodes. My concern is, if I continue to run the problem could get worst, so don't want to have that happen.
Thanks for your thoughts.

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@ktcrosswalk1

I am not a runner, but 16 years ago I had SVT, 205 bpm. It was determined that my resting heart rate was too low for drugs. I had an ablation. Three months later the SVT came back (the electrophysiologist has said there was that chance). I had a second ablation. Since then I’ve had PVC’s from time to time. Last May I almost passed out at work from a short fast arrhythmia. My cardiologist thought it might be ventricular tachycardia. In June I had a LINQ loop recorder implanted.

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I just asked my doctor if I could take the next step for me, that being ablation. I had read somewhere it was 80-90% successful. But based on your experience and that of a friend of mine (he had 3) I'm not so sure.

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What is the difference between tachacardia and afib?

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@dfelix

What is the difference between tachacardia and afib?

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I started to answer, but Mayo Clinic has an article that explains it all. I'm not sure if links are permitted, and I tried to find a non-link way to get you to the page but was unable to.

They state that Afib and Atrial Flutter are Tachycardias. Also discussed is Supraventricular Tachycardia and Ventricular Tachycardia. 

SVT (Supra Ventricular Tachycardia) occurs from a point above the Ventricles (supra means above).

Ventricular Tachycardia is especially of a concern, but according to my cardiologist, it's not uncommon for many people to have infrequent and brief episodes of Ventricular Tachycardia known as Non-Sustaining Ventricular Tachycardia (NSVT).

Tachycardia
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tachycardia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355127

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@ronbyrd

I just asked my doctor if I could take the next step for me, that being ablation. I had read somewhere it was 80-90% successful. But based on your experience and that of a friend of mine (he had 3) I'm not so sure.

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I was told after my first ablation, that the heart swells a little while it’s being worked on and tiny pinhead-size areas could be missed. That could bring back the arrhythmia at a later time. I was playing town ball (1860’s baseball), hit a double, and the SVT’s came back. The second ablation was done a few weeks later.

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@ktcrosswalk1

I was told after my first ablation, that the heart swells a little while it’s being worked on and tiny pinhead-size areas could be missed. That could bring back the arrhythmia at a later time. I was playing town ball (1860’s baseball), hit a double, and the SVT’s came back. The second ablation was done a few weeks later.

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How long ago was 2nd ablation. Was it successful?

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I have had a very similar experience over several years…the SVT episodes have gotten more frequent over those years. I am a 74-year old man who has completed 74 marathons. My best time was 3.25 hours 30 years ago. My times were going down just like most articles say…about 5 minutes per mile per year. I first had issues with heart problems about 25 years ago, had many tests, treadmill, heart monitoring. radioactive stuff, MRIs, etc. I was told my heart was great…don't worry. Then perhaps 4 years ago, the events started to happen quite more often and more severe. I really pushed the doctors and finally ended up with a heart monitor taped for two weeks to my chest. I was instructed to push a button on the monitor whenever I felt the condition. By this time, I could tell when the condition was starting. Usually, when it starts, I can stop, walk, or otherwise slow until it passes. Most time it goes away quite quickly, within a few seconds. But…sometimes my BPM can stay elevated for up to 10-15 minutes. Anyhow, following the heart monitor test and pushing the cardiologist, I was diagnosed with SVT. This only happens when running, and oddly, mostly when I either slow, stop for a traffic light or water fountain or begin a downhill.
In any case, it's scary and at the least very annoying. I have continued to run races, but my times are nothing of which to be proud. I've just started to train for the winter marathons here in Southern California; it's a pain in the rear end to work around this condition.

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@fritz3rd

I have had a very similar experience over several years…the SVT episodes have gotten more frequent over those years. I am a 74-year old man who has completed 74 marathons. My best time was 3.25 hours 30 years ago. My times were going down just like most articles say…about 5 minutes per mile per year. I first had issues with heart problems about 25 years ago, had many tests, treadmill, heart monitoring. radioactive stuff, MRIs, etc. I was told my heart was great…don't worry. Then perhaps 4 years ago, the events started to happen quite more often and more severe. I really pushed the doctors and finally ended up with a heart monitor taped for two weeks to my chest. I was instructed to push a button on the monitor whenever I felt the condition. By this time, I could tell when the condition was starting. Usually, when it starts, I can stop, walk, or otherwise slow until it passes. Most time it goes away quite quickly, within a few seconds. But…sometimes my BPM can stay elevated for up to 10-15 minutes. Anyhow, following the heart monitor test and pushing the cardiologist, I was diagnosed with SVT. This only happens when running, and oddly, mostly when I either slow, stop for a traffic light or water fountain or begin a downhill.
In any case, it's scary and at the least very annoying. I have continued to run races, but my times are nothing of which to be proud. I've just started to train for the winter marathons here in Southern California; it's a pain in the rear end to work around this condition.

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@fritz3rd Hi and Welcome to connect. I see you joined last year but this looks like your first post. Thanks for sharing your experiences as we are a community of patients and Caregivers try to help others with our experiences.
I'm actually impressed you still are able to do marathons. I don't have SVT but prior to my Heart Transplant had pretty severe VT. The Transplant came due to my pacemaker and medications not longer able to help with my arrhythmias. So your an inspiration to all of us as to what is possible even with a heart condition.
Have a Blessed Day

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@ronbyrd

My episodes are short – around a minute and happen occasionally while running. I should have added "Paroxysmal" to diagnosis (PSVT), meaning from time to time. They stop when I stop running. Only other times I've had (detected) episodes is on brisk walks and that's rare. I never discussed a trigger point with doctor, as when I've seen it happen (on my Apple Watch) I break into a walk and it goes away. Always has. Yes, a stress test was part of the cardiologist's tests and it triggered episodes. My concern is, if I continue to run the problem could get worst, so don't want to have that happen.
Thanks for your thoughts.

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See my longer comment – 20 Oct 2021

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@danab

@fritz3rd Hi and Welcome to connect. I see you joined last year but this looks like your first post. Thanks for sharing your experiences as we are a community of patients and Caregivers try to help others with our experiences.
I'm actually impressed you still are able to do marathons. I don't have SVT but prior to my Heart Transplant had pretty severe VT. The Transplant came due to my pacemaker and medications not longer able to help with my arrhythmias. So your an inspiration to all of us as to what is possible even with a heart condition.
Have a Blessed Day

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Thanks for the kind and thoughtful post, Dana. Still trying…getting old is tough!

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