Arrhythmia Alliance
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SVT versus Anxiety

Hi all! I hope everyone is having a good start to their weekend. 

So as I posted previously, I am currently in a "waiting" period between Ablations (ugh). Had my 1st one in Feb, was not successful so I'm having another one in June. I so wish they could do it sooner, but they're doing construction in the cath lab :-/

My question is, how do you guys differentiate between a panic attack and a genuine SVT attack? I realize, of course, they're not mutually exclusive. I have an Anxiety disorder and am no stranger  to panic attacks. I feel like every night, at this point, I start fixating on my heart, which then makes me go into a panic attack because I'm terrified of going into SVT, so then, my heart starts speeding. 

Does this make anyone else feel crazy? It's almost like a "chicken or the egg" scenario for me. Oy. Really not sure how I'm going to get through the next 6 weeks before my 2nd ablation!

3 Replies

I have SVT and while I was at my worst I started to feel extremely anxious. I do believe you can panic yourself into an attack but that's only because we already Have the problem in our heart. Your heart wouldn't go out of rhythm through anxiety alone. The way I new the difference was by the feel I always knew when I was in the SVT rhythm because I could feel by heart was not beating in the right way. Hard to explain lol sometimes I had had a faster heart rate but I knew the beats are regular I always knew when it was the SVT. Not sure if this explanation will help. Best wishes 

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Doctors and ER staff often like to say women have panic attacks even when they come in short of breath for pulmonary embolism! Easy to diagnose with D-Dimer and CT, but often overlooked and it's the same symptoms at HF but heart tests end up positive, so BAM, panic attack discharge DX. And even women WITH silent nSTEMI or STEMI, BAM, Anxiety once again and in the morgue. Dee1989, of course SVT and any kind of Arrhythmia makes for good Anxiety! It's surely not the other way around and I wish Doctors would just realize that!


My SVT attacks always started totally unexpected with no warning signs at all. My first started at night, sleeping. After I got them more often, I also become very nervous. I did not go far from home for about a year until I got my ablation. SVT is horrible. 

With panic attacks, I always have felt some strange feeling in my tummy, tingling in my fingers, a lot of fear... somehow I can tell its that. With SVT is very difficult to breathe and chest feels very heavy like a cat sitting on the chest. Now when I better with SVT, I get no panic attacks at all. Try yoga or some gentle exercise, take magnesium which helps heart rhytm and drink a calming drink for night, like valeriana tea. Good luck.


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