Question

Heart and Circulatory System

How does a vagal maneuver stop a fast heartbeat?

A Answers (1)

  • ADouglas Severance, Family Medicine, answered
    There are several "natural" ways to stop some types of tachycardias or rapid heartbeats. One, in particular, is the vagal maneuver, which takes its name from the vagal nerve. This nerve regulates your heart rate, and the vagal maneuver stimulates this nerve and allows you to halt an arrhythmia or rapid heartbeat that started above the lower part of your heart. There are different ways to do the vagal maneuver, including putting your face in a bowl or sink of ice water, coughing hard, or holding your breath while straining. Before you do the vagal maneuver, it's important to talk with your doctor. These methods may or may not be effective and appropriate for your type of tachycardia. 
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