FIN­GER ON THE PULSE

Daily Mail - - Good Health -

THE in­side track on your heart rate. This week: A tech­nique that slows the heart

A Faulty heart­beat is in­creas­ingly com­mon as we age and there are dif­fer­ent causes af­fect­ing this vi­tal or­gan’s up­per and lower cham­bers.

A fast heart rhythm that orig­i­nates from tis­sue in be­tween the up­per and lower cham­bers is known as supraven­tric­u­lar tachy­car­dia.

It can oc­cur spon­ta­neously and spo­rad­i­cally, lead­ing to a rac­ing heart­beat, breath­less­ness and dizzi­ness, says June Dav­i­son, a se­nior car­diac nurse at the Bri­tish heart Foun­da­tion.

It is usu­ally treated with med­i­ca­tion and sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures that burn away heart tis­sue that’s thought to be pro­duc­ing faulty elec­tri­cal sig­nals, but there is also a tech­nique — called the Val­salva ma­noeu­vre — that may help ease an episode.

It in­volves try­ing to ex­hale while keep­ing the mouth and nose closed, while strain­ing as if you were on the loo.

When done cor­rectly, this stim­u­lates the va­gus nerve, which helps to slow the heart rate. It can work within a few min­utes.

This ma­noeu­vre is for pa­tients with supraven­tric­u­lar tachy­car­dia. If your heart is rac­ing as a re­sult of ex­er­tion, it should re­solve it­self.

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