Vagal maneuvers can be used to treat PSVT. Vagal maneuvers are utilized at the time the affected individual is having an episode. This treatment method involves the use of certain actions a patient is instructed to take at the onset of an episode to disrupt the symptoms they are experiencing. Vagal maneuvers work by attempting to increase vagal tone (the activity of the vagus nerve). The vagus nerve is a critical component of the autonomic nervous system responsible for cardiac regulation alongside numerous other functions.
The Valsalva maneuver is characterized by an attempt to forcefully exhale air through an airway that is closed during a paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia episode. Other vagal maneuvers commonly used during episodes include coughing while bending the torso forward in a sitting position, and rinsing the face numerous times with ice water. These uncomplex maneuvers have been proven to decelerate the conduction of electrical impulses through the atrioventricular node of the individual's heart, effectively interrupting their symptomatic episode.