An unexpected ER visit

It’s been another off-kilter week for me. Tuesday afternoon I had another episode of SVTs, supra-ventricular tachycardia, where the heart rate jumps suddenly into an excessively fast and irregular heartbeat. It hadn’t happened in years, so I was hopeful that the medication I am on was keeping it regulated. If you have to have some kind of irregular heartbeat, this is probably the easiest one to deal with. What I’ve been advised to do in the past is to wait a bit and try some different measures to get it to “convert,” as they say, back to a normal rhythm, and if that doesn’t work, to go to the emergency room. That’s what I ended up having to do on Tuesday. Thankfully Grandma’s aide was here to take care of her, and Jesse was here to drive me to the hospital. Jim met us over there, and Jason and Mittu came to our house to stay with Grandma after her aide left, and Mittu made dinner for us.

My sister asked me once, “Isn’t it the same as a panic attack?” No, it is a specific type of rhythm that they can actually diagnose from the EKG. It involves the electrical part of the heart and doesn’t mean there is any blockage or any other heart problems (although they do check blood enzymes to make sure I haven’t had a heart attack when this happens.) If it doesn’t “convert” on its own, they give me (or at least they have in the past) something called adenosine through an iv which, as I understand it, actually stops the heart for a second and acts as kind of a reset button. It feels really awful for just a second, and then usually everything goes back to normal. This time, thankfully, it converted before they got to that point, and the different ones in the room at that time jokingly took credit for “scaring it out of” me. They did still take an EKG, chest x-ray, lots of blood work, and kept me for a few hours. For some reason this time my blood pressure was low, so low that they wouldn’t release me until it came up a little. My poor dear husband’s attitude was, “We’ve done this before, we know how it works; when the heart rate converts, everything is fine and we should be able to go home.” ๐Ÿ™‚ I felt that way a little, too, but this was the first time it happened since we moved here and the first time to deal with it at this hospital, plus it hadn’t happened in about 6 years, so I didn’t mind being put through the paces as much.

I’m supposed to follow up with my doctor, which I am doing today, and the ER doctor advised referral to a cardiologist. On the one hand, a cardiologist is probably going to say the same thing the cardiologist said when this first started happening: they usually attribute this to an “extra” nerve on the heart, and they fix it by going up through a blood vessel in the groin to the heart and zapping the offending nerve with a laser. Since this hasn’t happened all that often – maybe half a dozen times in the last 15 years – I haven’t been inclined to do that. (Now I am kind of wishing I had done it while we lived in SC, because the cardiologist I saw there was reputed to be “the” expert in the state on electrical issues of the heart). On the other hand, since it has been a while, it might be a good idea to see one here. Though I hadn’t had a full blown episode of SVTs for a while, I have been having more palpitations lately, so I’d like to ask about that (I had mentioned those to my family doctor last visit, and he just said if it kept up we’d take the next step to deal with it.) We’ll see what my family doctor advises today.

One of my prevailing thoughts when this first started on Tuesday, and it looked like I was going to have to go in to the hospital, was that this really wasn’t what I wanted to do that day. I had been inwardly rejoicing that I didn’t have to go anywhere that day, and didn’t have anything that “had” to be done, so I had been looking forward to getting some other things done. Then later in the day I read of a friend’s dad who fell and hurt his head and had to go to the hospital, so, I was reminded that we all have to deal with unexpected events that we’d rather not have to deal with some times (he was ok and was released the same day.)

I was trying to work on a post yesterday concerning a recent attack someone made on homemakers, but I was too fuzzy-brained and it just wasn’t coming together. I have another post in the works about the process we have gone through with Jim’s mom as she has needed different levels of care. When we were first having to think about what to do, there were a couple of blogs dealing with such issues that were helpful to me at the time. Those blogs have gone silent now, but I thought perhaps sharing our experiences might help others with older parents. It’s turning out to be rather long, though, so I might have to break it up into parts. But hopefully if available time and working brain cells come together at the same time, I’ll be able to finish those posts soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

15 thoughts on “An unexpected ER visit

  1. I am praying for you and your husband too. I take for granted all those wonderful messages that get left in my mailbox from you. Your ministry is a blessing to me. Your Christian sister, Anne

  2. I’m glad you were able to get treatment so quickly and will be praying you will get good insights from your doctor’s visit today. It was interesting to read about your experiences because my husband also has SVT. He is not on medication and is still in the “let’s just watch it” stage. We know very little about it at this point. We do have a child at our church with SVT who just had surgery to help with her problems. From what I understand it may be more difficult to treat in young children. I do appreciate your posts and have been blessed by the many different topics you share.

  3. Oh my. I’m glad you were able to get to a hospital and be treated quickly and are ok. Will be praying for wisdom for your health care providers – that you can get quick and accurate care which will help you manage the condition. But glad you are ok!

  4. Barbara, I’ll be praying for you. I am very familiar with SVT. Our M was in cardiac arrest at 17 days of age with it…heart rate in the 320s (never showed in her ultrasounds/dr visits). After two weeks in the hospital, it still wasn’t controlled, but the dr explained it was no longer life-threatening (with meds). We prayed for her to gain weight quickly (need to be a much bigger child to complete the surgery successfully) or for her to outgrow it…and she did!

    Do you see an electrophysiologist or a regular cardiologist?

    I’m grateful your treatment was fast and that you are doing well. Take care, Friend! Will be praying.

  5. Oh! Not exactly the title one likes to read, but I’m glad your episode wasn’t any more serious. That reset thingy sounds painful and scary. Praying that all the subsequent tests and doctor visits go well.

  6. I’m so glad you’re alright now! Sounds very similar to what my sister-in-law has/had. She had an episode last summer where they were camping and her heart began racing so fast, it really scared them all (this had happened before, but this time was the most severe). In Sept. she had an “ablation” procedure which sounds like what you’ve described. She is only 40, which is young for that (my dad had the same thing done at about age 70), but she’s had no problems since having it done. Continued prayers going up for you!

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  8. Thankful to know you are alright. I know this is scary when it happens. There are two others, my grandmother being one, whom this happens to. She had to have a pacemaker because the medicine they gave her slowed her heart rate too much. But she is doing wonderfully now.
    My other friend had this “ablation” that sjbraum was referring to and she is also doing better.
    Will keep you in my prayers! Hope your weekend is full of wonderful things!

  9. Wow, that would have been scary! You seem to have handled it so well. I’m so glad the aide was there for Grandma and that Jesse was also home to get you to the ER. Very happy to know you are okay.

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