Skip to content

Atrial Fibrillation Health Center

Font Size

Vagal Maneuvers for a Fast Heart Rate - Topic Overview

Vagal maneuvers are used to try to slow an episode of fast heart rate. These simple maneuvers stimulate the vagus nerve, sometimes resulting in slowed conduction of electrical impulses through the atrioventricular (AV) node of the heart. Be sure to talk to your doctor before trying these.

Vagal maneuvers that you can try to slow your fast heart rate include:

Recommended Related to Heart Health

Atherosclerosis: Prevention Through the Ages

Atherosclerosis starts early and progresses throughout life. You can't see or feel it, but in most of us the process is already under way. The plaques of atherosclerosis can grow to become blood vessel blockages. If a plaque ruptures, the sudden blood clot causes a heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis is common, unpredictable, and potentially deadly. Is there any good news? Because atherosclerosis takes decades to progress, the process can be slowed down at any point, reducing the risk. Regardless...

Read the Atherosclerosis: Prevention Through the Ages article > >

  • Gagging.
  • Holding your breath and bearing down (Valsalva maneuver).
  • Immersing your face in ice-cold water (diving reflex).
  • Coughing.

Be sure to have your doctor show you how to do these procedures correctly.

In addition to these, your doctor may sometimes try another vagal maneuver (called carotid sinus massage) in the emergency room to help slow your heart rate. This technique should only be performed by a doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
1
Next Article:

Vagal Maneuvers for a Fast Heart Rate Topics

Today on WebMD

pacemaker next to xray
Ablation, cardioversion, pacemaker, and more.
human brain
What you need to know.
 
woman doing yoga
Tips for easing stress.
fish and vegetables
Diet guidelines to follow.
 
Omega 3 Overview Slideshow
Slideshow
At Risk for Heart Disease
Video
 
Recognizing Womens Heart Symptoms
FEATURE
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 

Resolved To Quit Smoking
SLIDESHOW
Lowering Blood Pressure Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Heart Disease And Ed
SLIDESHOW
Heart Attack Spit Test
Video
 

WebMD Special Sections