Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The ER loves us!!

But we don't love the ER.
Last Friday Dale ended up in the ER.
While at work Dale felt his pulse racing and pressure is his throat and chest.
We put the pulse montier on and it read 211 normal heart rate is between 60 and 100.
He has had this happen before so he was not in a panic just annoyed . 
The nurses on that he worked with told him he needed to go to the ER.
He laughed and said its nothing it will go away in 5 mins just like before.
They put him on their portable ekg and wheeled him to the ER. 
His heart rate stayed at 167 for an hour.
Dale text me to let me know he was in the ER very nonchalant.
I decided to take a shower since I was running when I got the text.
I really thought it was no big deal he has had these attacks many times and the DR. always said it was a panic attack.
When I got to the ER. 20 mins after his text I realized something serious was going on.
The Dr. explained to me that Dale had SVT.
He told me what it was and that all his attacks that were said to be panic attacks were really the SVT.

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What is a supraventricular tachycardia you might ask?
Simply stated, an SVT is an arrhythmia that originates from above ("supra") the ventricle. This term encompasses a large number of arrhythmias and therefore the term "SVT" is only a general description, not a specific diagnosis. Most commonly, however, it refers to one of 3 commons types of arrhythmias,AV Nodal Reentrant TachycardiaAtrial Tachycardia, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
Causes SVT
An "extra nerve" exists in the heart of nearly all patients with SVT, which over time becomes active and causes fast heartbeat. Most cases of SVT are genetic. In other words, patients are born with this "extra nerve" in the heart but it may remain dormant for many years, often surfacing when patients reach their 20s and 30s.  Rarely, some patients may be diagnosed for the first time in their 60s and 70s.
Importantly, one must distinguish between the cause and the trigger for SVT.  This is often a source of confusion for patients. While the "extra nerve" causes SVT, an attack of SVT may require certain triggers, which include caffeine, alcohol, some herbal medications, and some over-the-counter cold medications containing stimulants. Just because a large ice tea triggered an SVT attack, it does not mean that it caused the SVT.  For, without the ice tea, the "extra nerve" is still present, just waiting for another trigger to cause another attack later Stress is also a big factor to these attacks.
Symptoms of SVT
Palpitation, or racing heartbeat, is the predominant symptom in SVT. Occasionally, some patients have no awareness of rapid heartbeat, whose only symptoms may be fatigue and fainting. Other patients describe chest paint, shortness of breath, and a sense of fullness in the neck. Children with SVT often report to their parents that their "heart hurts" since they do not have the full vocabulary that adults do.
Consequences of SVT.
Most patients with SVTs usually have a benign clinical course.  In other words, SVTs as a rule do not usually cause fatality.  However, in some patients when heart rate reach very high level (above 250 bpm) serious consequences can occur, including fainting spells and Sudden Death. In some cases, heart failurecan result from chronic uncontrolled rapid SVT it can also  cause one to stroke out.
Treatment options.
Most SVTs can be treated with medications but medications represent a temporizing measure, not a cure for the condition.  For children or young adults, life-long therapy with medication(s) may not be reasonable.  Ablation is the only curative treatment options for SVT.  It works by selectively destroying the "extra nerve" via a minimally invasive procedure.

Now that you know every thing you ever wanted to know about SVT you might want to know what is going to happen to Dale.

Dale is now on heart meds waiting for more testing he depending on the type of SVT he has will depend on the treatment. He will probably end up having surgery to correct the issue.

We are glad to know what has been causeing these mystery attacks for the last 20 years

1 comment:

ter@waaoms said...

Oh wow, jen, how scary!!! I hope they are able to control it.