Valsalva Maneuver

The Valsalva maneuver is a simple technique that involves breathing out of the nose and mouth while they are closed. This raises the pressure inside the chest and middle ear, and can equalize pressure in the ears and help reduce some heart arrhythmias. Although rare, ear damage can sometimes occur when blowing too hard with the Valsalva maneuver. Ear “popping” sensations are usually felt at the start of the Valsalva maneuver, but to also get the cardiac benefits, the maneuver must continue for 10-15 seconds. The modified Valsalva maneuver involves laying flat with the legs elevated for 15 seconds after exhaling against closed airways for 15 seconds. This modification improves the heart rate in patients with certain types of arrhythmias, and it can be done anytime, anywhere — nothing is needed to perform the Valsalva maneuver. SVT, or supraventricular tachycardia, is a type of fast heart beat that can sometimes be serious and requires medical treatment.