Long history of ectopic heartbeats

Edited , 7 users are following.

It's a relief to finally find other people going through the same symptoms and discussing it on this forum. I'm 33 years old and have suffered from ectopic hearbeats since i was a high school kid!

Wanted to share my experience and look for new advice on how to deal with these horrible things!

Basically it's good days and bad days. Been having them for over 17 years. At times of stress i could easily get a dozen every hour for most of the day. Lack of sleep and general fatigue bring them on. Exercising makes them disappear. Im an active,healthy man. Gym and cardio workouts 3-4 times a day for the past 4 years. Non smoker. My GP has dismissed the 'skipped' beats over the years and always joked about the 1000 other things which might kill me lol. Saw 2 cadiologists. Did a cardiac ultrasound, cardiac stress test, tons of blood tests,wore a 24 hours Holter (1 episode of SVT and 2 ectopics caught, was having a good day 😉 ). All tests came back clear. No idea whether i have PVCs or PACs but ibe never had tachycardia. Cadioslogist also basically explained ive got nthg to worry abt and will have to live with it. My resting heart rate is usually between 55 and 64 bpm which ive always believed is a good sign and due to the constant workouts/hiking/jogging etc

Alcohol seems to bring them on and so does caffein of course. So i rarely drink now and have completely stopped coffee for the past few months. No heart problems in the family. Although my mum complains once in a blue moon of a random heart palpitation.

I could go months on end without feeling a single one. Then they come back with a vengeance for a week or two.

Ive read a lot about these buggers and decided to finally post here because of a recent developpement. Due to the covid situation and the gym closure ive been working out at home for the past month. My exercice routine has been rather harder than usual with more cardio and leg workouts. I woke up 2 weeks ago,after a harder than usual daily workout, with a series of ectopic beats for 15 min. Many in a row! Or every other beat. Scarred the heck out of me cuz ive only extremely rarely felt that many in a row. Since then ive been having almost daily episodes of multiple ectopics in a row but only at night just as i lay down to sleep. Im terrified im having them while sleeping as well cuz ive been waking up tired on some days. They stop and become rare throughout the day. Had 6 in a row (every beat was an ectopic beat) yesterday evening and it was truly terrifying.

Anyone here has faced a similar situation? Could the increase in frequency be related to the harder workouts? Could the vagal nerve be involved? (ive been having acid reflux issues for the past year, read somewhere it could be an aggravating factor,sthg abt the GI-Vagal Nerve-Heart connection).Is having numerous ectopic beats in a row life threatning? Any advice or insight would be a bliss! Thanks and stay safe everyone

Joe B

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  • Edited

    just a little reassurance.

    its not possible to have an ectopic beat 6 times in a row.

    an ectopic arrives early in the heart beat cycle, and will always be followed by at least one normal beat before another ectopic can occur.

    Ectopics cannot drive your heart beat. However, if an ectopic occurs at a certain point in the heart rhythm, a PAC can trigger SVT in patients with an extra pathway in/around their natural pacemaker.

    Also anyone who has damaged ventricles or scarring, then a PVC can potentially trigger VT.

    If you are feeling pause after pause after pause, 6/7/8 times in a row, then these are ectopics with a normal beat in between.

    If there were no normal beats in between, the rate would be very fast, and this would be one of the above conditions (or at least an intro to one of them). The fast pounding rate is what would be the giveaway.

    Otherwise it's just bi/tri/quadgemini and not cause for alarm in the absence of chest pain or dizziness.

    10,000 ectopics a day is the usual benchmark for cardiologists to be concerned. Even then, its because they are worried about your heart muscle weakening over time, and not a dangerous event.

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  • Edited

    Any kind of stress can aggravate these conditions, it's pretty much unconscious.

    Something I've tried which seems to be working for me is high nitric oxide (NO) foods, including beets, arugula, butter lettuce, and other veggies. I've also tried arginine and citrulline foods and capsules, but they don't seem to work. The arugula seems to be the trick for me (it's a small leafy green used for salads, actually a cruciferous veggie). Just have about half an ounce or so, two meals a day, along with whatever. Did take about a month, it's not overnight. Talked to doctor about prescription NO pills and he just said that's obsolete, nitroglycerine and stuff aren't used anymore to relieve chest pain, they don't allow people to have chest pain anymore, LOL. FWIW.

    As Foxeh says at some point doctors take it seriously, and I've been up to the edge of that, but even when they take it seriously it's a battle to do anything about it or else they'd take it seriously a lot sooner.

    So then, try to relax in these crazy times, and if you can find arugula in your local market why not give it a try.

    Oh - one prescription drug that is not specific but sometimes helps is beta blocker, any of a dozen types, and in smallest possible dosage. It's not "supposed" to help but it often does, you can read up on that and discuss with your doctor. Oh, and "homebrew" beta blocker is dark chocolate, an ounce or so, 72% or higher, give it about 30 minutes, see if it helps! Different brands may have higher or lower levels, same as with any dietary treatment.

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    And yes on the vagal/vagus nerve, sometimes rubbing your tummy or some other little pressure points can temporarily relief some arrhythmias.

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  • Edited

    You are not alone. I've been struggling with PACs/Bigeminy since my ablation in Nov. I get them 15 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes at a time then they go away. My Kardia device shows they are PACs as confirmed by my EP. Usually it's every other beat (Bigeminy). He's not too concerned about them. Definitely not life threatening. I've identified certain triggers. Eating a big meal is definitely one.

    Don't get me wrong I'd much rather have them than AFib but they are annoying. I get them randomly and after excersise. Luckily they don't interrupt my sleep. I've spoken to many people struggling with this, and The feeling is that they are a by-product of the ablation and will go away with time. Still extremely annoying though. I just work through them.

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    ive been going through the exact same, mine started just over 3 years ago during pregnancy, and have continued since. ive never been an overly anxious or stressy person, but feel like all the GPs have just put me into the "anxious" category. i have good days and bad days, sometimes i get a run of them, which i presume is an ectopic beat trigging my heart into Svt, sometimes i get them every few beats. For me position worsens mine, so laying down at night, doing weights, start of exercise ie cycling/running. ive had ecgs, bloods, echos, but nothing is ever adnormal apart from ectopics. id love to know why all of a sudden out of the blue they started? and how to get rid of them!!! betablockers dont work for me, they just make me lightheaded!

    have you tried coughing or straining to alleviate them? that sometimes helps mine.

    having more than 3 ectopics in row could be a non susatined VT. but again they dont seem to worry about this if your heart is structually normal. but i would always contact the hospital if i felt this.

    theyve stopped me wanting to go places alone, or go away on holiday and just any social situation really.

    no-one seems to understand how debiliting they are!! 😦

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