This morning I saw Dr. Geck’s PA, Dana. She ordered X-rays with my brace on. My vertebrae seem to be doing well. She told me that the T3 has not completely collapsed; it had just started to collapse. That was encouraging news. Dr. Geck wants to keep very close tabs on me over the next few months. My next appointment is in three weeks.
This afternoon I had a follow-up appointment at Seton Hays with the cardiovascular director to discuss my heart issues. He wants me to continue taking the Metoprolol Tartrate to keep my heart regulated and to return in three months. He did a good job of explaining what is going on. I’ve had periodic rapid heartbeats since early childhood so I guess it’s not too dangerous or I wouldn’t have survived so long.
According to medicinenet.com the heart is a two-stage electrical pump. A coordinated electrical signal is required for the heart muscle cells to contract in a coordinated way and generate a heartbeat. Normally, an electrical signal is generated in special pacemaker cells found in the sinoatrial (SA) node located in the right atrium or upper chamber of the heart. This impulse spreads to the whole atrial muscle causing it to contract and push blood into the ventricle or the lower chamber of the heart. The electrical signal continues to a junction box between the atrium and ventricle (the AV node), where there is a slight delay that allows the ventricle to fill before it contracts and pumps blood to the body. The signal continues throughout the ventricles and causes them to beat and push blood to the body.
In paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), abnormal conduction of that electricity causes the atrium, and secondarily the ventricles, to beat very rapidly. It is referred to as paroxysmal, because the rapid rate can occur sporadically and without warning and may also stop on its own. The rapid heartbeat may last a few seconds or many hours.
In many patients with PSVT – and this is the situation with me --, there is a “wiring” problem in the AV node and instead of having just one pathway for electricity to travel to the ventricle, there are two. This allows electricity to circle back and cause the atrium to beat more quickly than it should normally. PSVT is one of many electrical abnormalities that cause the atrium to beat too quickly.