So I have tachycardia

So before COVID-19 took over a few months ago, I was anxiously awaiting the results from the Zio patch heart monitor I wore for a couple weeks earlier this year. I gave a nudge through the Avera portal and had learned that what I was experiencing was supraventricular tachycardia, fast heart rate. The initial message said “frequent” SVTs. For most part, I was in normal sinus rhythm with occasional PVCs, early beats from the bottom chamber of my heart.

It was also recommended that I see an electrophysiologist, a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythms, and have a cardiac echo, all in Sioux Falls. I nailed down an appointment date of St. Patrick’s Day as I wanted to have Ross come with me to ease my anxiety.

When the appointment date rolled around, COVID-19 precautions were in full force. When we got to North Central Heart in Sioux Falls, we were vetted — asked if we had any symptoms like a fever or a cough in the last 14 days, and we also put on hand sanitizer from the station at the front desk.

We get in and my blood pressure was checked (a little elevated, probably because of the nervousness and the world’s circumstances) and I was also given an EKG. Then we waited for the electrophysiologist. It had been suggested that I consider having an ablation, but I wanted to explore all my options first. Plus I wasn’t too crazy about having any kind of procedure during this pandemic. He interpreted the results of my Zio patch a little more in detail. It turned out that I had 41 SVT episodes in that two-week period. Nineteen of those episodes took place in a two-day period, which included the night I attempted Zumba and had to step out after 20 minutes of class. Some of the episodes are short, like a few seconds, to a 35-minute long one. I honestly didn’t think the “frequent” meant that many.

The doctor told me I could do nothing — basically manage the SVTs when they happen, take medication, or have the ablation. I wanted to go the medication route first and see if that works for me. But I was still yet to have my echo, which was scheduled after my consultation with the electrophysiologist. I was curious about those results first.

We managed to get an echo in right after I was done with my consultation. Originally it was slated for 1 p.m., but we got in before noon. I’ve had a few echoes done, and they’re kinda boring. I would look over at Ross to see if he was staying awake.

I got the results of the echo a few days later. Nothing too earth-shattering except that it said I have mild pulmonary valve regurgitation. I’m not sure if that’s what is causing my SVTs. This virus has diverted my attention. Day after day, I was putting articles on the coronavirus on pages. Terms like social distancing and shelter-in-place have become words I hear on a daily basis. Since mid-March, I’ve experienced only a few SVTs. Mainly because exercising in my small living room doesn’t always send my heart into a tizzy. And if it does, I try to manage it. I also get SVTs when I’m nervous and anxious. That’s happened a couple of times at the grocery store. For that, I bring along cold water. I also dab my wrists with lavender essential oil before I enter the store.

I finally followed up with the electrophysiologist’s nurse to see what kind of meds I could take. I had a choice between two, one to take daily or one to take when needed. Since I don’t get SVTs on a daily basis, I opted for the when needed, verapamil. I haven’t had to take any, yet.


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