Supraventricular Tachycardia - Living With Tachycardia
Home care includes
supraventricular tachycardia 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 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
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 caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol and the use of illegal
drugs, such as stimulants like cocaine, ecstasy, or methamphetamine. For people
who are especially sensitive, even decaffeinated teas or coffee can cause
supraventricular tachycardia episodes.
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 (because many contain
caffeine), ephedrine, ephedra, the herb ma huang, or other stimulants.
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.