I am basically, a healthy person. I have had my share of colds, headaches, sinus infections, female ailments etc, but this SVT is really getting to me. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s Supra Ventricular Tachycardia. A really fast heartbeat that is triggered by caffeine, stress or dehydration. It is a congenital heart condition which I inherited from my mother. (Thanks, Mom!)
The best way to describe it came from my current cardiologist. Just think of the electrolytes in your heart as a NASCAR race. Everyone is making a left turn making sure the blood in your heart is moving along. All of a sudden, there is a rogue group who decides to make a right turn…chaos erupts! Nothing goes right and your heart begins to pump even faster trying to straighten everything out. Hence, the heartbeat races to about 250 beats per minute.
What do you do? At first, it usually rights itself with in a couple of minutes. Dodged that one. But as time goes on, they become more frequent and the episodes last longer. The best way to stop them is to stick your face into cold water. The shock usually slows the heart rate down.
If that doesn’t work, you ‘bear down’ as if you were having a baby; holding your breath to try and slow the rate down. If that doesn’t work, try blowing through a straw. Usually, that will help.
The next step is to be put on a beta blocker. This is usually taken at night because it not only lowers your heart rate, it also lowers your blood pressure. In other words, it kind of knocks you out and when you do have an episode, it’s not as severe.
When that stops working, the next step is to have a ‘pill in the pocket’. When you feel an episode coming on, you take this pill immediately and it usually takes about an hour for it to kick in and slow your heart down.
I don’t know about you, but when that happens, I get kind of scared thinking, when is this thing going to slow down? Your stomach becomes distended and begins to push on your diaphragm causing shortness of breath. The blood pressure drops so low, you see stars. Yes, I was rushed to the ER when the episode lasted for over two hours.
The last step which my cardiologist tried to prevent, is a Catheter Ablation, surgery. What happens, is the surgeon goes through your groin with a catheter to reach the heart tissue. He/she will try and simulate an episode to find the heart tissue which is causing the arrhythmia and zap it. This procedure is 98% successful. If it doesn’t work, they will try again. If that doesn’t work, a pacemaker will be implanted
.Guess what I’m having done tomorrow? Yes. I am petrified. The only surgery I’ve had is a colonoscopy.
Usually, it is an outpatient surgery; the recovery time is about 7 – 10 days, with no heavy lifting. In my case, they are keeping me overnight because the time of this procedure is later in the morning and I have to lie perfectly still for six hours. For those of you who do know me, I’m as hyper as they come. Yes, I will be sedated which is why they are keeping me overnight.
I’ve tried to keep my mind off of it by working on my next book….but I’ve lost all concentration. I’m writing and then all of a sudden, I have a question about this procedure and I go to google and then my concentration is shot! I’m so bad.
Please keep me in your prayers! Thanks!