Is 254 bpm during exercise SVT?

I'm 74 and recently decided to get fit again having been out of bike training and racing for some 20 years. All seemed to be going fine with me making fast progress as I used to, but on Sunday I was feeling a bit unwell and had a sore throat but still went out for a training ride. I use a Garmin Edge 1000 with the heart rate function and I noticed that my heart was running at 175 bpm which seemed too high for the speed and cadence I was maintaining. I still carried on not taking too much notice of my heart monitor and the only thing I did notice was that I kept getting rear wheel spin like I was putting out a lot of power then after a while I became very weak and had trouble climbing.

When I got back home I felt really dizzy and had to sit down and my daughter said I looked really pale. When I checked the Garmin it showed for some 5 to 10 minutes my heart had been running at 185 bpm rising to a max of 254 bpm before I lost strength with my heart rate dropping back to about 134 bpm. I went out again today but stayed off the worst of the hills and recorded a steady 140 bpm with a high power output according to the speed I set. Comparison with recent previous rides showed that my highest heart rate was 172 bpm with an average of 155 bpm while climbing the worst of the hills on my regular training run.

I'm not sure what to make of all this. Should I be worried enough to see my doctor?

All the best.

Roy

7 Replies

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  • I'm sure you will get many replies from the cyclists on this site .

    I can only say that you must be crazy to go at the pace you have been going at after a 20 year gap and at 74. Also why go out training when you are feeling unwell ?

    What is your resting heart rate?

  • 60bpm resting.

    I didn't just jump in at that pace but spent 9 months building up to getting back on the road gradually increasing my workload. My previous heat rate when I stopped racing was 165 bpm race speed so I thought I was taking it easy, but we have some vicious hills in this area. First time I've experienced something like this.

  • I too have had this problem since 2014 with my heart rate rising as high as yours. I could always tell when mine jumped up and would immediately stop pedalling until it went back time. It's a long story but last year I finally saw a consultant at Broad Green Heart hospital and diagnosed with Super Ventricular . Tachycardia. I have been assured that it is not life threatening and have been told I can still cycle and am on mediation which seems to be controlling it most of the time.

    As your heart rate is effected by many things such as being unwell or extreme cold I train accordingly and if it does play up on a ride I spin really easy until home. If it happens early on the ride I go home. Worrying about it also makes it worse.

    I have had a few episodes where my heart rate has got 'stuck' at over 150 beats a minute which is pretty scarey but just sitting and relaxing usually allows it to go down on its own. I have been to A and E on a few occasions when it showed no signs of returning to normal but on those occasions it has gone down on its own.

    I have been in to have an ablation but this was unsuccessful and the consultant has said the type Imhave is notoriously difficult to treat.

    I was on beta blockers first but these just made it worse, and now take flecanide twice a day.

    I have been training all year and am taking part in the Prudential 100 on Sunday. I keep an eye on my heart rate monitor and do not push myself going up hills and rarely allow it to go over 150.

    In answer to your question I would definitely go and see your doctor and the first step is to get a monitor fitted which shows them what is happening.

    Do you get breathless at any other times?

  • Thanks, that is really helpful l to know. I'll take a print out of the heart rate monitor read out to my doctor and ask her what she thinks.

    I don't get breathless unless my heart rate goes into the 170 bpm range which only happens on the bike. Hence the reason for using it to get fitter. I struggle to get my heart rate up walking unless I climb very steep hills. The bike is far more effective for me.

    That's good advice about turning back if it happens again. I didn't realise what was happening as it was a first for me.

    Thanks.

    All the best.

    Roy

  • I am 67 with SVT. I play competitive tennis regularly. My rate at its highest is about 179bpm but it goes back to about 70 when resting. When I had episodes I had finished my exercise and my heart was back to normal. Then out of the blue as if a switch had been turned on, it rose to 146 bpm for 45 minutes. Even though I was sitting down. I was told if it stays at that level for more than 15 minutes I should seek medical help. It is electrical signals giving my problem.

    I was advised to do the manoeuvres for lowering the heartbeat by blowing on my thumb without letting the air out which builds up a pressure to kick the heart back into rhythm or an ice cube in the roof of my mouth. This works for me although I haven't had the problem for 6 months.

    In your case it seems to me that if the reading is correct 245bpm and taking your age into account thats very high.

    I would be lowering the intensity of your exercise for a while and see how you cope with that.

    Sorry to be so long winded.

  • Thanks for the advice. I haven't see any problems for my last few rides, all seems pretty normal as far as I can tell. I didn't notice what was happening because it happened on a very technical part of my ride and I was concentrating on the bends and not running into anything at speed. It was only when my heart rate dropped and I had reduced energy that I wondered what was going on. When I downloaded the ride file from my Garmin Edge then I saw what had happened.

    All the best

    Roy

  • It only since being on meds that I have realised how much I struggled on hills beforehand. I was never able to talk and would be gasping for air by the top even with a normal heart rate. I just thought that this is how everyone felt but now realise it is not. Yes I do puff on steep hills but in a very different way.

    Now I am on the meds I am feeling the healthiest I have ever felt.

    I hope you get it sorted.

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