It’s been a long time since I last blogged, I’ve been so busy, this is the first day in a long time I’ve actually had a day where I’ve had nothing planned.
So, the title of this blog is “Supraventricular tachycardia or SVT”, it’s a phrase that was alien to me a couple of months ago, but has become part of my every day life since my first attack.
“Supraventricular tachycardia – or SVT for short – is an overall term for any fast heart rhythm that starts from above the ventricles. ‘Supra’ means above.) SVTs are often ‘paroxysmal’, which means that they come and go. SVTs are quite common, but are rarely life-threatening.”
(British Heart Foundation, Heart Rhythms)
As I’ve said in a previous post, I’ve had palpitations for years, and it’s never bothered me, but the night of 12th August, when my heart started racing and didn’t stop, it became a problem. When it happened, we thought it was a one off, but then again on 29th August, it happened again, this time at 3:30am and it woke me from my sleep. I called the boy, who was at his parent’s house looking after their dogs, he came and collected me and took me to A&E, after checking my heart rate they sent me straight through to resus and hooked me up to heart monitors (I heard a nurse exclaim “210??!!” I’m guessing that was my heart rate!), ran ECG’s and tried all of the methods they could think of to trick my heart into a normal rhythm, including blowing into a syringe again and massaging the artery in my neck. Once again, I had to have the drug Adenosine, but I wasn’t kept in. The doctor was concerned about me, and advised me to see my GP as I had a high white cell count, but when the GP sent me for further tests this had gone back to normal. The GP suspected this may be the case, and that the abnormal result at the hospital was a result of my body in defence mode due to the palpitations.
We chased up the appointment with the obstetric consultant, and booked ourselves in for two weeks time. By the time those two weeks came, it had happened again. On the 11th September, I dialled 999 as I was home alone, the first responder was there within about 10 minutes, and the ambulance arrived shortly after. It was rush hour, so it took a little longer to get through the traffic. They hooked me up to their ECG machines, and my heart rate had reached 211 bpm, I’d got myself ready for a long stint in the hospital and had packed the iPad, and my phone charger should I need it. My mother-in-law came to the hospital, and had arrived before the Adenosine was administered, so I wasn’t alone. ‘A sense of impending doom’ is how they describe how it feels, so I was very glad to have people around me. There were also three student doctors as well as the doctor who administered the drug. Amongst the other staff were a couple of nurses who recognised me from previous visits!
After a few hours of monitoring, I was sent up to the delivery suite for the baby to be monitored. At this point, the boy arrived back from work in London along with my maternity notes – that we had left in his car in case of emergency and he needed to rush me to hospital, ironically. The baby was fine, as it had been all the other times, and the midwife reassured us that it was a very happy baby, and that it was likely the only difference would be that my baby would be born in the delivery suite with doctors around, rather than the birthing centre where there are birthing pools and is midwife led. It’s something that didn’t really bother me, wherever is safest for me and my baby is the best place to be.
The next day was the consultant appointment; we went with high spirits, it was kind of normal for us now, and having heard that the baby was fine each time, we weren’t worried. Our consultant however, was very worried, about both me and the baby and was not at all impressed when I joked it’s a ‘fortnightly thing at the moment’. She said there may be concerns over the drugs I can/can’t have during labour, and whether the heart will be able to cope, as the 40% extra blood that’s in my body all comes out in one fell swoop. She referred me for another scan, booked another appointment for two weeks later (my birthday) and told me to chase up the referral to the cardiologist… So now we are playing a waiting game to find out what’s happening with my heart, luckily, three weeks later, I haven’t been to A&E since! I just hope I can keep going this way, it completely drains me, and it feels like it takes up my free time. It’s like we almost forgot about the things we needed to do to prepare for the baby, as the heart had become the focus of everything. Luckily, we are getting back on track.