How do you know if a rapid heart rate or the frequency at which you experience an increased heart rate might be dangerous?
Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT), otherwise known as arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm or a fast heart rate, is episodes of a rapid heart rate that start above the ventricles. PSVT is generally not life threatening. However, PSVT can be very serious if other heart problems are present, as it can lead to congestive heart failure or angina.
When the heart is functioning normally, the chambers of the heart contract in tandem. More specifically, an electrical signal will first move through the upper heart chamber, leading the atria to contract. Then that electrical signal progresses down into the lower heart chambers, resulting in ventricle contraction. As a result, the heart rate of a normally functioning heart is 60 to 100 beats per minute.
During a PSVT episode, heart rates can escalate to over 100 beats per minute and as high as approximately 250 beats per minute. If a patient suffers from PSVT, this accelerated heart rate may be accompanied by signs of poor blood circulation, such as lightheadedness, dizziness or feeling faint, as well as anxiety, fatigue, sweating, chest tightness, a rapid pulse or a forceful neck pulse. A PSVT episode, very possibly accompanied by these symptoms, can last from a few minutes to several hours and can stop and start suddenly.
You should seek medical attention if you experience any of the above symptoms with a rapid heart rate or another existing heart problem. You should also contact a medical professional if you have an abnormally high heart rate for an extended period of time or if you experience an increased heart rate often. If you only experience PSVT once in a while and have no other heart issues, you may not need treatment, but it is wise to consult and make that decision with your healthcare provider.
There are also some things you can do on your own during a PSVT episode to try to slow a heart that is beating too fast. Techniques used to slow the heart back to its normal rate include splashing ice cold water on your face, coughing while sitting with your body bent forward, and holding your breath while straining as if you were having a bowel movement. If you have a history of PSVT and you cannot allay your PSVT episode with any of the techniques mentioned, you should consult a physician.
So how can we protect ourselves against PSVT? Those who use illicit drugs or smoke may be placing themselves at an increased risk for PSVT, so you should avoid smoking and illicit drug use at all costs (for this and many other reasons). Alcohol and caffeine can also play a part in increasing your risk for PSVT. So remember that moderation can be a very valuable tool in PSVT prevention and try to keep your alcohol and caffeine consumption at a minimum.
PSVT can also occur in ways that we cannot protect as well against, such as instances when doses of heart medications are too high or as a symptom of Wolff-Parkinson Syndrome, which is an affliction of infants and the young.
An ECG or electrocardiogram is often used for detection and accurate diagnosis of PSVT. Because PSVT can come and go, a Holter monitor – which is an ambulatory electrocardiography device that allows for 24-hour portable monitoring – is often used.
If heart mapping indicates an abnormal tract or short circuits are found, high frequency radio waves can be used as an emergency treatment to slow the heart rate back to normal and attempt to prevent future PSVT episodes. Intravenous medicine, such as Adenosine, is also known to produce desired results. If intravenous medication does not work and low blood pressure, chest pain or shortness of breath accompany a heightened heart rate, electric shock can also be used to reset the heart’s electrical rhythm to a regular rate.
Common methods for long-term treatment of PSVT include daily medication or calcium channel blockers, beta blockers or other antiarrhythmic medications and cardiac ablation, a procedure used to destroy the small areas surrounding the heart that may be causing the rapid heartbeat.
For children who do not respond to other forms of treatment, a pacemaker may be used to override a fast heartbeat; and surgery to alter the pathways of electric signals within the heart may be recommended for those who require other heart surgery.
Clinical research and the findings that are uncovered within the clinical trial process are vital to advancement of medicine and, more specifically, essential for discovering better ways to prevent, treat, control and diagnose illnesses. Riverside Clinical Research volunteers not only contribute to the significant breakthroughs in healthcare, they have the elite privilege of access to medical treatments before they are made available to the general public.
The medical and research professionals at Riverside Clinical Research are planning on conducting research studies for this PSVT. Do you suffer from PSVT and think you might be interesting in participating in a PSVT clinical trial?
If you would like to help shape the future and make the world a better place by volunteering in a PSVT clinical trial, call the professionals at Riverside Clinical Research for more information at 386-428-7730 Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.; or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about the clinical research trials at Riverside Clinical Research by accessing our patient portal which can be found on our website.
An award-winning research facility, Riverside Clinical Research, has earned a stellar reputation for clinical research trial trendsetting. Additionally, Riverside Clinical Research doctors and experienced research professionals work closely with clinical trial volunteers to monitor and assess the benefits and effectiveness of certain treatment. Deemed one this area’s best medical research facilities, Riverside Clinical Research can support up to 26 in-house patients and a large number of outpatients. Riverside Clinical Research is conveniently located at 1410 S. Ridgewood Avenue in Edgewater.