Heart palpitations - EP study shows no arrhythmia, what could be causing this?!

Posted , 2 users are following.

Hello all, I am just posting this to see if anyone else can relate to the symptoms I've been experiencing, so that I can try to understand what's causing my heart palpitations. Apologies in advance for the length of my post, I just really wanted to share all the details as I'm so desperate to know if anyone else has ever experienced anything like this!

About 3 years ago, I started having very frequent and terrifying episodes of heart palpitations, where I could be sitting and doing nothing and my heart would start to race upwards of 150-170bpm for no reason, lasting anywhere from half an hour to a few hours. No amount of breathing or relaxing would seem to calm them down, although sometimes lying prone on the ground would help them taper off faster. The first time it happened, I was sitting in a car with a few other people on a hot day in the summer, leaning against the door looking out the window. All of a sudden my heart rate spiked and my body went numb, I felt short of breath and the palpitations didn't calm down for the entire evening. I should say that I did not suffer from any form of clinical depression or anxiety that would cause it to happen.

Some characteristics of my episodes are:

  1. A lot of my symptoms occur at night, jolting me from sleep. Especially if it's in hot, summer weather. For example, it's usually as I'm drifting off to sleep, my brain won't let me fall asleep right as I'm on the cusp but instead I will jolt awake (it almost feels like a weird "seizure-type" feeling) and my heart will race like wild, upwards of 180-190bpm sometimes. Or, I'll actually be sleeping but then I'll suddenly wake up with my heart racing out of my chest and gasping for breath.

  2. Another time (this is a really random one) but I was at the hairdresser and she was washing my hair, as she was massaging my scalp I sort of "zoned" out and then felt a jolt/jerking response and my heart rate went up to around 160-170bpm for about 30-45mins.

  3. A lot of the time it also happens if I bend forward or move my posture in some way, or if I'm hunched over or looking down.

  4. Sometimes I also get lots of ectopic beats, especially if I am feeling stressed or anxious.

  5. The palpitations also happen sometimes after I've eaten or had something to drink, or before I need to go to the bathroom. Although it's also frequently happened on a totally empty stomach.

  6. When they happen, sometimes (but not always) my whole body will start to shake and shiver as though in response to the extreme sudden surge of adrenaline.

  7. I've had my adrenals checked via 24-hour catecholamine test. Nothing was found

  8. There's no reliable pattern to them, no particular food triggers and over the past couple of years now, I can sometimes go for ages without it happening. The fact that it's so unpredictable is what makes it so scary. 😦

I am currently seeing a cardiologist and have explained the above information to him, but all he did was refer me for an electrophysiological (EP) study which I had this past August. It showed no arrhythmia or re-entrant channel, so basically it doesn't seem that these episodes are actually caused by anything wrong with my heart function like an SVT. Nobody seems to know what's going on with me really. The things I've considered, based on internet research, are:

-Dysautonomia of some kind (like POTS, although I don't really have many of the other symptoms)

-Gastric issues/GERD ( but my cardiologist seems to think that stomach issues can't cause palpitations. I even had an endoscopy because I wondered if there was a correlation, and I do have gastritis; I took lansoprazole for a period of time which seemed to possibly help but not stop my palpitation episodes)

-Possibly a gallbladder/gallstone issue (I do get indigestion and severe stomach pain sometimes, as well as pain in the centre of my back)

-Something wrong with my neck, like craniocervical instability - I have heard neck problems can irritate the vagus nerve and cause palpitations

-Sleep apnea (but this wouldn't account for the daytime episodes?)

Has anyone else ever had symptoms similar to these?

Thank you!

0 likes, 7 replies

7 Replies

  • Edited

    hi i have palpitations alot during the day and went through a period of time waking up suddenly with my heart racing

    • Posted

      No I don't, not at the moment! But I wish I did for when I have episodes. I still don't have an official diagnosis, have you had a diagnosis? Your symptoms sound quite similar to mine.

    • Edited

      No didnt get a diagnosis for it. my heart racing at night has seem to have calmed down and havent had it in a while now but keep getting palpitations every day now which is annoying! I do take propranolol for anxiety and its definitely helped me. I only take half of a 40mg tablet a night. Dont know whether to worry about the palpitations as they do make me more anxious about something being wrong but they sort of come and go, bad one day and ok the next so dont know if im subciously stressed and that triggers it

    • Posted

      I think I need propranolol, my racing heart palpitations can get so bad like up to 170-180bpm 😦 I thought for awhile that it could be sleep apnea because of the nighttime waking with heart racing but it also happens in the daytime so I just don't know what to think! My cardiologist has ruled out anything serious so I feel like I'm left now to try and figure it out all by myself.

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.