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Heart Disease Health Center

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Supraventricular Tachycardia - Living With Tachycardia

Home care includes monitoring your supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and trying to slow your heart when a fast heart rate occurs. To monitor your condition, you may find it helpful to keep a diary of your heart rate and your symptoms.

Check your pulse slideshow.gif when you have symptoms, and record the information in your diary. Be aware that if your heart is beating rapidly, it may be hard to feel your pulse and get an accurate count of your actual heart rate.

By keeping a diary of your heart rate and symptoms, you may be able to identify stressors-such as drinking alcohol or smoking-that trigger episodes.

Also, it's usually important to avoid overuse of nicotine or alcohol and the use of illegal drugs, such as stimulants like cocaine, ecstasy, or methamphetamine.

Decongestants that contain stimulants should also be avoided, including oxymetazoline (such as Afrin and other brands) and pseudoephedrine (such as Sudafed and other brands). Doctors also warn against using diet pills or "pep" pills, ephedrine, ephedra, the herb ma huang, or other stimulants.

For most people, moderate amounts of caffeine do not trigger SVT. So most people do not have to avoid chocolate, caffeinated coffee, tea, or soft drinks.

Your doctor may suggest that you try vagal maneuvers-such as gagging, holding your breath and bearing down, or immersing your face in cold water-to slow your heart rate. Your doctor will help you learn these procedures so you can try them at home when your fast heart rate occurs.

More information

    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.
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