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Maternal Tachycardia at 33 weeks.

By Anonymous April 7, 2010 - 11:47am
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I am 33 weeks pregnant and just got back from an appt with my OB. I have been having these spells for the past few months where my heart pounds, I get extremely light-headed and I feel like I can't breathe and I'm going to pass out. I had one of these spells where my heart rate went up to 130 at my Doctor's office and she told me that it was Maternal Tachycardia. I had never heard of the term until today. She seemed concerned and I am worried. Can anyone tell me more about it... dangers, causes, treatment, etc.? I am 24 years old and in good health. Not overweight and have great eating habits.

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HERWriter Guide

Dear Anonymous

Thank you for finding Empowher and congratulations on your pregnancy!
I can understand how worried you are - any serious condition is a huge worry for the mom, both in terms of her health and her baby's.

Pregnancy sees some conditions happen to normally healthy women who take care of themselves. Their blood sugar can become very erractic (diabetes), their blood pressure can soar (preeclampsia) and their hearts can also race (tachycardia). Some believe that maternal tachycardia may occur due to fluctuations from thyroid hormones.

I'm so sorry you are dealing with tachycardia. Your symptoms are very common for people dealing with this condition.

Our Tachycardia page talks about this condition in general as well as treatment options:

Tachycardia is a rapid heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute. Sinus tachycardia, from the heart's sinus node, is a normal response to exercise, illness, or stress.

There are several types of abnormal tachycardias or arrhythmias . These can come from two places:

* Atria (the two smaller chambers on the top of the heart)—called supraventricular tachycardias
* Ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart)—called ventricular tachycardia

This condition can be life-threatening. But, it can be treated. If you think you or someone you know has this condition, get emergency help.

The following medications are used to treat this condition:

Beta-blockers (eg, atenolol, metoprolol, bisoprolol)
Calcium channel blockers (eg, diltiazem, verapamil)
Anti-arrhythmics, such as flecainide (Ambocor), procainamide (Procanbid), amiodarone (Cordarone), and sotalol (Betapace)

Ablation is done during an electrophysiology study. Radiofrequency energy or cold energy is used to destroy the abnormality and possibly cure the problem.

An electric shock is applied to the heart to stop the abnormal rhythm. This treatment may be done for life-threatening rhythms, such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation . It is also done for milder arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation .

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
An ICD can be surgically placed into your body. This device monitors your heartbeat. It can apply a shock to correct an irregular heartbeat.

Read more about your condition on our special page here: http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/tachycardia#causes

Obviously, Anon, you are in a completely different situation since you are 33 weeks pregnant. Many of these treatment options will not be applicable to you. I did read something about study that showed the successful use of a medication called Flecainide for maternal tachycardia but I don't know of any doctors would allow it - there are not enough studies.

Dangers in pregnancy could be something like heart damage but many women suffer this condition and heart rate normalizes after birth and their babies are just fine.

Anon, what did your doctor tell you about a treatment plan for you?

April 7, 2010 - 1:04pm
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