Desperate - does this sound like it could be Gerd?

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This is a long post and I don't how many will read the entire thing but it's the only way I can describe what's going on.  I am at my wits end due to terrifying events I experience that cause me to wake from sleep, always in the middle of the night, feeling like I am having a heart attack.

FYI I am already seeing a cardiologist to figure it out, and am seeing a gastroenterologist this month who will hopefully perform a scope.  I don't know if my symptons are heart related, gerd related, or a combination of both.

I never have problems during the day.  At night during sleep I will sometimes wake up feeling like me heart is "spasming" or has lost it's rhythm.  Last night I woke up feeling intense pain in my chest.  Often I instinctively yell out and wake my wife up, last night I actually screamed out "I'm having a heart attack".  But they clearly aren't heart attacks, because without exception they are always over within 30 seconds.

I never feel food coming up on me or anything like that.  Nor do I feel faint or nauseous or breathless which are signs of a heart attack, though on occasion I feel like I can't breathe at the moment I wake up.

They are very intermittent.  I might have 2 in a week, then none for 3 months. 2 years ago I wore a holter monitor for 1 day that found some PVCs but no serious arrythmias.  Now the new cardiologist wants to do another 2-day holter monitor which will probably again be useless because I won't have an attack the nights I'm wearing it.

I am 90% certain I do have gerd, because a doctor already diagnosed it and I experience other symptoms such as sour mouth in morning, feeling like something is stuck in my throat and so on.  But I don't know if that is what is causing these nighttime attacks, because I've never heard anyone describe a gerd attack as something that is over in 30 seconds?

I should mention that I do have severe apnea, but I never sleep without my CPAP, and know how to analyze the data, and these never appear as apnea events.  They are something else.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading and any input.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi john

    Do you feel bloated or like a build up in your abdomen when you get these feelings ? I get ectopic beats when I am bloated it feels like my heart is full all the time and my heart will beat out of sync the whole day . I don't get any pain just a sense of fullness I've read that the vagus nerve controls digestion , heart beat and various other functions so I'm not sure if my bloat is causing the vagus nerve to then go doolallee or my vagus nerve is causing the Bloat and then this on turn causes the ectopic beats

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    • Posted

      I sometimes have bloating especially if I eat a big meal late at night, but I don't notice any feelings of bloating when I experience these night time attacks.  I experience only two symptoms, sometimes an initial feeling of being unable to breath, and my heart either losing its rhythm or feeling pain.  Waking up causes them to stop within 30 seconds, but boy are those 30 seconds scary.

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  • Posted

    Hey Jon,

    I occasionally get symptoms similar to what Claire is describing and they're really unpleasant. I don't get pain but when I get reflux in the night - and like you, it's not too often - I wake up with my heart racing. I know it's reflux because it will be in my mouth but it's so horrible and you feel shaken up when it happens.

    It is really likely it's reflux. Sadly reflux is quite hard to treat. For lucky people, ranitidine and nexium will work, but for my indigestion these don't make a difference. I'm looking into my diet for a bit of relief now because nothing else is coming my way! GERD is bloody awful and I wish I hadn't had to learn so much about it but myself and my family suffer from it and it's so varied and horrendous with every symptom.

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  • Posted

    Thank you both.  What I am curious about is whether anyone elses attacks mirror these symptoms.

    1. I don't feel anything coming up in my throat.

    2. They instantly subside when I wake up.

    I'd think if it were gerd there would be some lingering burping, swallowing or spitting up or something like that?

    In a way I am hoping it is gerd because I'll be even more scared if it's my heart.

    Thank you

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    • Posted

      Hi Jon, are you taking any blood pressure meds. I had similar symptoms: noticed chest discomfort after eating. I was so terrified that it was a heart attack. It would feel like something is moving from middle of my chest to left side.  Some times i would feel like something was stuck (or knot) in my upper esophagus or lower intestine.  I had so much anxiety that I ended up in hospital where my doctor performed a heart cath. Test proved negative for heart attack to my delight. I recently discovered that my blood pressure meds were causing the intestinal discomfort.  I stopped taking the BP meds and my symptoms have slowly cleared up. Now after almost 3 months, my symptoms have completely cleared.   Meds may not be the cause of your problems but I thought I should share my experience because some of your symptoms were similar to mine. 
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    • Posted

      Thanks Mesirm. No, I'm not taking any meds other than Omeprazole, and the symptoms preceded me taking that, so I know that can't be the cause of it.  I've tried to watch everything carefully to see if there is a cause, and even completely eliminated coffee which wasn't easy!  Yet the incidents still happen.

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  • Posted

    Why do people skip my post and answer other people post this makes me very depressed like people don't care this has happened before where people just read over post and skip my post i posted 11 days ago about GI cocktails why hasn't anybody answered my post. This makes me feel like i am invisible like i do not belong 

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