Palpitations and shallow feeling in chest

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28 year old male, 181cm/70kg. I've had palpitations for two years now. Been to 5 different doctors, and nobody seems concerned. They've done blood tests, ECG and Echocardiogram and all results are normal. They told me a holter would be useless for these symptoms. I however am still worried.

Symptoms:

- Palpitations 1-2 times a month. It feels as if someone is twisting my heart in my chest up to 30 seconds. I could also describe it as if my heart stops beating or drops from my chest. No pain, and then goes away. I always get jump scared by it and my pulse goes up a bit as a result. It might repeat the same day later for another 30 seconds. Usually returns next month. I can sometimes tell that it's going to happen, my chest feels "shallow" or empty for a couple of hours prior. When the actual palpitations take place, bending my back forwards seems to lessen the sensation while it's going on.

- Eating heavily seems to have something to do with it, at least, those days when I've had the palpitations I've eaten more than usual. Sometimes breathing in heavily can start the palpitations, but only if I've already figured it's going to happen that day.

- This is the weirdest symptom. Sometimes taking a nap at daytime makes my chest feel strange for 3-6 hours after waking up. This is very strange and it's so hard to describe how this feels. It kinda feels like my chest is empty and my heart is more idle than usual, even though my wrist watch says my pulse is at around 70. It's hard to describe. It's like I can feel my chest feels weird the moment I wake up. If I would need to describe it somehow, I feel like my chest is missing oxygen. Why this happens after a nap, I have no clue. This doesn't happen in the morning.

- Some days I need to take many deep breaths and I seem to be aware of my own breathing.

- Symptoms usually occur when I sit or lie down.

What I have tried:

- Magnesium & D-vitamin for months

- Cut chocolate, caffeine and sodas out completely

- Good sleep rhythm

I have no anxiety or stress. That's for sure.

I have 2 allergy medicins for asthma, and they both do list palpitations as side effects, but I've used them for 10 years without problems prior.

I do burp a lot during the day, and I feel like a lot of gas builds up in my stomach. It's hard to believe that acid reflux could cause these symptoms though?

One thing I have to admit, I don't move a lot, if at all during most days. My job is in front of my PC, and its so hard sometimes to find time for walking for example. I have developed a bigger stomach these last years, but it's not at the state where I would call myself overweight.

Any help is appreciated.

 

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  • Posted

    Stan.

    ?My AF was preceeded by 2 and half years of massive palpitations before it settled into atrial Flutter which then quickly converted into paroxysmal AF. Most of your other symptoms sound like mine too which I noticed after about 4 months after AF was diagnosed.

    ?Unfortunately I have to rush off to work now when I get home I'll give you more info. I would suggest a major player here is the vagal nerve. Google it - vagal or vagus nerve. A major nerve in the central nervous system which controls both heart and digestive system. Also Google vagal nerve diagram - also known as the wandering nerve and from the diagram you'll see why.

    ?As I say, must dash - will get back to you later.

    ?John

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  • Posted

    Stan,

    the symptoms are to infrequent to catch signs them by Holter. Anyhow it would be great step forward an ECG record during the palpitation. I have flutter and the flutter events are provacted by short atrial ectopic beats. A have also have lot of gas after food. I also work recently  full time siting, Fortunatelly I can measure my ECG continousely, I observed, that if walk up and when I have ectopics, the arrhythmia disappears (and also the gas from my stomach). Now I have an ebook reader and I downloads docs what I have to read and if I have the problem, I can walk and work further.

    György

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  • Posted

    Seems you have paroxysmal af so chances are your heart will be normal at ECG/holter, so go to a&e or ER when you have an episode, then at least the paf will be recorded. Overeating definitely affects my paf.

    In the end you have to decide if you can tolerate your paf or if you need medication/ablation, you need a blood thinner if not already taking them. I take meds for BP and as the info says can cause palpitations (a nice word for af) and they do.

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    • Posted

      This is my problem exactly. Doctors are clueless, or just unwilling to help or just tell me it's nothing. Meanwhile, the internet comes up with solutions left and right. I don't know who, or what to believe. Isn't echocard supposed to rule out most problems? In my case they found nothing abnormal in it. Maybe I should start taking pills for acid reflux as a test, and start running to see if they help. If I don't pass away before that.

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    • Posted

      Hi, Marco said the BP meds make your heart play up, very true in my case so I have binned them and use cider vinegar and feel better. I can make my AF start by eating like a pig, drinking coffee, tea, laying down flat for a nap. So I am careful now and sleep on a heap of cushions. very comfortable once you get the right angle ! Good Luck and lose weight, helped me.
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    • Posted

      a wedge pillow can also work wonders! I sleep on my side on one which also contributes mightily...
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  • Posted

    Hi Stan,

    ?As I said earlier, my AF was preceeded by 2 and half years of palpitations. These can be best described as a bloody great kick in ther chest by a mule followed by, in micro seconds,  a warm, out of this world feeling all over the top of the head. No dizziness, no fainting, no vision problems, no sweatiness, nothing abnormal at all. I had many ECG's but because of my work I could never get to my GP in time for an ECG. I doubt it would show anything. When I did get for an ECG nothing showed up.

    ?The day AF kicked in it started off normally, I had been bent over doing some shredding, after that I began to feel unwell. As if I were going down with 'flu.

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  • Posted

    Sorry Stan, something wrong with tghis website ........... as I was saying ......... then my blood pressure began to behave erratically, but trending downward - it eventually bottomed out at 76/58 whereas normally it would be around 136/80 and my heart rate increased eventually reaching 160 bpm. Saw my GP who put me in hospital immediately where upon I was found to have atrial flutter which whilst having tests done converted itself to atrial fibrillation. It was also found my left atria was damaged in this process which will in future make me vulnerable to a stroke.

    ?Some 4 months after diagnosis I identified the onset of AF with food I'd eaten. My symptoms were bloating accompanied by discomfort/pain in the chest, burping, intestinal gurgling, diahorrea and flatulence. I had a series of blood tests to eliminate Coeliac Disease and IBS. I then consulted a nutritionist  and discussed this vagal (Vagus) nerve business. I then went on a wheat free, gluten free diet, the scope of which I have widened over the years. I have now remained AF free since April 2015. So my message is, calm the digestive system, calm the vagal nerve  = a calm heart. I too have a sit down job with little or no opportunity for exercise, driving a bus and also developed a distended gut - so I do sympathsize. Of course this remedy is not for everyone with AF but it has some relevance for those with digestive issues that accompany AF.

    ?Hope all this helps.

    John

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    • Posted

      "bloody great kick in ther chest by a mule followed by, in micro seconds,  a warm, out of this world feeling all over the top of the head."

      My sensation doesn't match yours. I get none of that. I just get the feeling of either the heart is struggling to pump blood, or just twisting.

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    • Posted

      It very exciting and very strange. I'm MD and researcher. I have flutter. It is is described as so called Coumel type. This means that I have bradycardia and the flutter begins after food. I'm lucky because I have a personal ECG that can record my ECG for 4 hours continously and it is confortable so I use it everedy day and I can record every flutter and frequently the onset as well. What I see, after every food I get premeture ectopics (PACs and PVCs). The flutter develops from PACs. This is not surprise this so called focally induced flutter/aFib mechanism is published. But I also have bloating etc. In the literature I don't see similar cases reported. Howver on various patients forums it is often reported. So I started to collect these patient experiences. I came to the conlusion that this bloating-aFib connection is likely exist but hard to proof. I started to monitor on myself and I often see the some times after every burp I have an ectopic, but not always. Likely is somehow related to the pressure increase in the esophagus during the bulp, but I cant measure this pressure change.

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    • Posted

      Hi Gyorgy,

      ?In my comment to Stan02644 I mentioned diet. Well, its hardly a diet (as in weight loss) but (my own words) a Food Intake Plan (FIP). In other words I know which foods are likely to irritate my gut and so stay away from them. Very hard if one is dining out and so occasionally I eat something which upsets me.What happens is that I begin to bloat, I then feel 'pressure' on my heart and my stomach becomes inflated. I feel rubbish. This bloating normally occurs some 4 hours after I have finished eating. Because I am convinced of the vagal nerve connection I began to measure my blood pressure  when the bloating occurs

      Well, nowadays my BP is around 126/73 .... once the bloating occurs it rapidly rises, also within hours, to around 160/90 ......... BUT ........... then it takes about 5 days of normal eating and living to return to normal - around 126/73 interestingly my heart rate stays the same at around 64 to 67 bpm. But that I put down to the Bisoprolol I take daily.

      ?I should mention that when the digestive issues start I do not always get all of them that I describe to Stan02644. Sometimes it is just burping, sometimes just bloating, nowadays with the FIP I never get intestinal gurgling but occasionally but not always I get diahorrea.

      Hope this is of interest.

      John

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    • Posted

      Thanks John,

       

      Thanks for the post. Of course it was really interesting. Concerning the diet I’m doing something similar. With trial and error approach I omit all the foods which provokes PACs that sometimes transforms itself into flutter.

      I don’t have the high blood pressure response, but likely because I’m on Ramipril.

      Although it is not real scientific literature, but there is a very determined people who is fighting with aFib. Hi is Hans Larsen. Hans Larsen was coworker of Nobel prize winner Henrik Dam. Hi is chemist but he also has atrial fibrillation. Therefore he started a patient education website. He regularly publish surveys (aFib Reports) on current literature and opinions. A site published a special survey on the „THE GUT CONNECTION TO AFIB”.  Worth to read it.

      Best regards:

      György

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    • Posted

      I found that Ramipril was very bad for my paf and got it changed to first to Candesartan (also very bad) and then to Bisoprolol which is much better.
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  • Posted

    sounds like GERD. Try something like Prilosec every day for around 2-3 weeks.  If docs say you have nothing wrong with your heart, then it sounds like this may help symptoms. Avoid tomatoes, alcohol, raw onions, and avoid eating right before bedtime. 
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    • Posted

      Thanks. I'm on acid reflux medicin now for 2 months to test this theory. I'll also try cutting coffee.

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