Supraventricular tachycardia in pregnancy is one of the rarest health diseases that women may suffer with. Read the following article and find out more about the causes and symptoms of supraventricular tachycardia…
Increase in cardiac output during pregnancy, contributes to various conditions like abnormal heart rate (cardiac arrhythmia) and heart palpitations. Minor degree of such heart conditions is referred to as one of the common attributes of pregnancy. Many women also experience an increase of 10 to 20 BPM (beats per minute) in the rate of normal heartbeats during pregnancy, which is completely normal. However, when this normal heart rate crosses 100 beats per minute, the condition is called tachycardia. In other words, increase in the normal rate of resting heartbeats is called tachycardia. There are various types of tachycardia, that are determined on the basis of the reports of the electrocardiogram or ECG. Amongst these types, ventricular tachycardia originates inside the ventricles, while supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) originates above the ventricles. This is a serious yet rare heart disease which is observed amongst women. In fact, a report suggests that only 1 in around 8000 women suffer from supraventricular tachycardia during pregnancy.
In some cases, supraventricular tachycardia or SVT is totally asymptomatic. While the rest of the patients of SVT experience sudden onset of various signs and symptoms. These symptoms last for as short a time span as 1 minute to even 2 – 3 days. When the heartbeats cross the rate of 150 to 270 BPM, certain signs like chest pain, pounding heart, dizziness, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, numbness and tingling sensation in various body parts, etc. is observed. In severe cases, the patient may also lose consciousness. Supraventricular tachycardia makes the heart more vulnerable to various cardiovascular problems that make it weaker by the time, correct treatment is provided. According to experts, excessive emotional stress, physical activities like heavy exercises and emotional trauma, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, etc. may contribute to the condition of SVT during pregnancy. When a pregnant woman experiences a set of or one of the aforementioned symptoms, she should immediately consult the health care provider for proper diagnosis and immediate treatment.
Treatment of this health condition depends on the type and symptoms that the woman is suffering with. Some of the common types include, inappropriate sinus tachycardia, sinoatrial node reentrant tachycardia (SANRT), ectopic atrial tachycardia (EAT), Multifocal atrial tachycardia (MAT), atrial flutter, Atrial fibrillation, atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT), junctional ectopic tachycardia, atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT), etc. These various types of SVT are diagnosed on the basis of the changes that are evident on the QRS Complex of the electrocardiogram or ECG of the patients. Supraventricular tachycardias mostly have a narrow QRS complex, however, certain types of SVT with aberrant conduction show wide QRS complex. Supraventricular tachycardia is not life-threatening if it is diagnosed and treated in a timely and appropriate manner. Wrong diagnosis may turn SVT into ventricular fibrillation, which is a life-threatening condition.
Once the SVT is diagnosed, it requires immediate treatment. Along with medications, several physical exercises like vagal maneuvers (valsalva), pranayama and other such breathing exercises like holding the breath for a few minutes, carotid sinus massage, acupuncture, are used as an effective treatment measures. In case of pregnant women, adenosine; which is an endogenous purine nucleotide is used for identifying the correct heart rhythm. Some other cures like coughing and putting the patient’s face in ice-cold water are also performed. However, all these types of treatments should be strictly monitored by a professional health care provider. Practicing such methods without consulting the doctor may increase the risk of SVT, for both the mother and the unborn baby. Continuation of the prescribed medications is also very crucial and one should not stop the course without consulting the health care provider.
Staying away from all its triggers like smoking, alcohol consumption, drug abuse, caffeine intake, over-the-counter medications like decongestants and diet pills; is extremely important for the health of both the mother and the baby.
(Disclaimer: The information provided in this article, is for educational purposes only. Consult the concerned health care provider, for proper diagnosis and treatment of your health condition.)