PVC, Sinus Pause, APC's... Whatever it is, I have something.

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Okay. I will start from the beginning. 

In 2006 I was vacuuming the upstairs of my moms house. I was 19 at the time. 

I had JUST gone through a small period of time (about 6 months) where I was a very heavy drug user. I was smoking meth, doing cocaine and partying, drinking and acting like an idiot. One evening I had gone over with a friend to some guys house and we did coke with him all night long into the next day. That next day I watched him have a seizure from overdosing, and I threw the rest of what I had into the toilet and I never touched it again. 

About a week later, maybe a little longer, here I was vacuuming. Suddenly out of nowhere, I felt my heart skip a beat, flutter, pause, whatever you want to call it. I freaked out, because I NEVER experienced them before this day. I made a doctor appointment, was told my blood pressure was sky high and was told to start exercising to help with my blood pressure. I never knew what palpitations were, or how they happened and I never got an explanation that day, either. 

I started experiencing these several times a week, they were small, but I could feel them. They felt like little hiccups, and I just told myself it was probably from the drug use. 

Fast forward a few years later in 2009. I noticed around this time that these were getting bigger, I definitely felt them now and they were starting to interfere with my day to day life. I saw my first cardiologist who ran tests like crazy, blood tests, EKG, stress test and an Echo as well. They told me everything looked normal. They told me I "Might" have a sinus node dysfunction, and told me it might be from heavy drug use over a short period of time. I was asked if I wanted to be on meds for it and I refused. 

2011 My best friend died and I went off the edge. This is when I started experiences Panic attacks. 

I had NEVER had these before, but the trauma from dealing with my friends sudden death did a number on me. I was put on xanax for a few months to help with the attacks. I would run to the bathroom everytime I would have one, and hide until it subsided, sometimes 15-20 minutes. I noticed I was starting to get these heart palpitations again, and after experiencing all of these panic attacks on top of that, I decided to see another cardiologist to make sure I was not next in line. I was 24 at this time. 

Cardiologist did a few tests, not as extensive as the prior, and found nothing. Offered beta blockers, I said no. I wanted to help fix these on my own, and I dont want to take drugs. 

The palpitations sort of disappeared for a while. They would hit me on and off once in a while but then go away for a long time. After my friend passed I did a diet change, I lost 50 pounds and started exercising and quit caffeine, processed foods and anything that was unhealthy. 

2013- I would be running on the treadmill and all of a sudden BOOM! I would get those flutters again. This time, though- They were lasting longer than normal. The only way I can describe it is it feels like my heart stops for a second, I lose my breath and have to bear down and then it restarts. It would do this while I was exercising, sitting, laying down, walking around- Whatever I was doing, they had come back and they were stronger than they used to be. 

My heart rate stays at a normal range between 65-70 bpm sometimes lower. When I read about palpitations, it seems that a lot of peoples hearts "speed up" but that is not how mine feel. It literally feels like it stops for a second, then goes. Sometimes I will have one. Sometimes I will have a few in a row. Sometimes I will have 2 a day, sometimes I will count up to 14 a day. I have changed my diet, I have done yoga, I have done exercise, I have tried to alleviate stress.. I have done EVERYTHING I can possibly think of at this point to help them. 

Now, here I am. It is 2018, I have been to two other cardiologists since then who tell me the same damn thing. A few months ago I saw someone who performed another Echo- Normal. EKG. Normal. Holter monitor after a few days- They saw some arrythmias but nothing that stuck out to them. When I go to the ER they tell me its anxiety. 

My heart palps now are scarier than ever because not only do I still get the big ones that almost knock me on my ass, but I get light headed too when the big ones come. I feel like I am going to pass out most of the time. I have been monitoring them for the last month, and I HAVE noticed that I do get them more about a week or so before my period. This is the time where they are the worst, or seem to be- unless I am doing cardio then they are all over the place. I am going to see a OBGYN in March about a hormone imbalance test to see if MAYBE that has something to do with it, but  at this point I am just throwing my hands in the air and asking God why can't I just figure this stuff out already? 

It effects my daily life. I work alone in an office and a lot of the time I am afraid to go to work. Sometimes I am afraid to eat certain things because it seems like when I do, I get them. I have been checked for potassium deficiency and I am good. 

I am stressed, yes. I have had a pretty rough go over the last few years but surely that can't be the cause. 

I moved around and lived in 7 stated from 2015-2017, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist and a sociopath for 6 months last year and I got away from that. I had to start over from the ground and get back to where I am now because I gave everything up for that little s**t, and I am over it now. I do still suffer from anxiety and panic disorder which is a totally different subject, but I am managing. I do not take medications. I take aspirin ONCE in a while, I do not drink caffeine. I do not eat fast food regularly. I do not eat frozen foods. I try to watch my salt intake. I am not insanely overweight. I am trying to actively live a healthy lifestyle, I drink water constantly and I am doing all I can do. Can ANYONE here help me with some advice? Has anyone else gone through this? Is there anyone out there that can just please help me get to the bottom of this nonsense? I am at my wits end because I am 31 years old, I finally met the man I want to marry someday and move to Oregon with, and build our own home and I have a somewhat promising career at this point and I can't help but just be afraid that now that I FINALLY have everything going well in my favor, I will collapse and die from cardiac arrest or something because I can't figure this thing out. 

So sorry for this rant. I just dont know what to do anymore.  

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hiya.

    It was years before i took meds, but due to how my ectopics were ruining my quality of life, i finally started them.

    Although they dont go completely, ive certainly got them under control.

    I live a very healthy lifestyle, and like you tried everything i could think of too get rid of them.

    I think tbh they are for life for most people, you just have to manage them.

    Id say try your meds.

    Good luck😉

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  • Posted

    I am with Bassbob, I agree take the betablockers! They help alot. I think that and alson try to take a magnisium supplement. That helps me alot. You have had a lot of tests . If your heart is structurally normal , your chance of collapse and death is no more than anyone else. I would maybe go to see an EP ( a heart doc that specializes in rhythm ) He is the guy who can really help here. I am sorry you are suffering from this. I have had 2 heart pauses and now I have a pacemaker ( but I am 65) you are young and hormones do affect these darn things) I have had the skips for 45 years! ( still here)  I am still obese, working hard on that, and you eat better than me! Watch the coffee and alcohol as that can trigger them. Also, drink alot of water~! Exercise really helps mine . If they get worse after exercise that can be a problem. Dont let them stop you! Enjoy your life, and I hope you like living in Oregon and will be happy there~ Not me I lived in Seattle! Too rainy out there! I am a Florida girl~ Honest, I have had about every sensation you can have with these things, lightheaded, feeling that your heart stops, painful, all benign they tell me. One more word of advice. Go to ytube and watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta in York England. He has so many good videos about extra beats and ectopics ect... He is a cardiologist. He can help you alot. Has great ideas and very reassuring. Do this please! Hugs, Mabel

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much! 

      I havent had alcohol in years, or caffeine! So I know that can't be a factor. 

      After doing a LOT of research yesterday, I came across information about the vagus nerve, and how any damage done to that can cause heart rhythm issues. 

      I have scoliosis, Ive had it most of my life. In 2016 I went to a chiro and they did non invasive treatment for it for a week, and I know that after I had that, for about a year after, I was all messed up with weak legs, and so on because they damaged nerves. I wonder if that has anything to do with them being so much worse than what they were. 

      I am afraid to take beta blockers because my blood pressure is already pretty low, it normally sits at about 112/60, and I don't want to lower it more than that. 

      EP? Do I just ask for that specifically from my GP?

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  • Posted

    Hey,

    Sorry to hear about your problems, I do not often post on these but I saw this post in my mail box and its the end of my work day so thought I'd respond.

    I am 32 now, and had my first set of palps when I was about 17.

    It took about a decade to actually start living a normal life. I have actually been diagnosed with SVT was taking Flecanide for this daily as a precaution after a few visits to hospital with extremely high heart rates (260 BPM +) I have had 2 ablation attempts with the cause never found. I have reduced my meds as I do not want to be reliant on them for the rest of my life.

    I am convinced all my issues with skipped beats were anxiety and stress related, each bout of SVT was after a stressful event.

    - Bad breakup

    - The worst hangover of my life

    - A friend driving too quick and me feeling out of control as a passenger

    - A flashbang going off in Counterstike and making me jump

    - Getting out of an extremely hot bath

    - Nearly getting hit by a car

    - ...

    Palps and skipped beats, whatever the term is... AS LONG as you have had a proper checkup from a cardiologist, don't seem to be too much of an issue, in my experience at least. I gauge this on the fact I am not yet dead and I have had millions of the things. 

    They used to completely ruin my life, I wouldn't go out, i'd constantly have my finger on the pulse on my neck. I would just be so aware of every beat, and the more wound up I got the worse and more frequent they became. If I was to guess, it is related to Adrenalin, which is what stress makes you release along with other hormones. It is a horrible vicious cycle... you feel a beat that is out... you think about it... you release Adrenalin etc... they become more frequent... panic attack kicks in and that's your day pretty much ruined. 

    There a few things you can do to get over these besides medical intervention (Beta blockers, ablations etc) and that is to learn to ignore them and reduce your awareness of them. Part of that is to make yourself feel good by any means possible, and for me, that was to rid myself of anxiety, depression and stress, and I refused to do this with medication (Anti Ds), it was just not for me. I have Flecanide to take if I need it, but I would say I have gone from having around 7 - 8 skips a minute, pretty much daily, to having 1 or 2 skipped beats maybe after a hangover, or a crappy day in the office once or twice a month, and now, I just shrug them off (yeah they still feel horrible, but they will not kill me so they are not worth focusing on). This is what I did to reduce them:

    - Fitness and healthy eating Sounds like you are already on this.

    - Got some medication for when I really need it, and if the doc has suggested it, it may be worth a try.

    - I no longer smoke.... Took a while, moved to vape, now off all nic and it made a difference. 

    - Meditation.... I am no hardcore mindfulness follower, but I have found taking 10 mins in the morn and 10 mins in the eve to meditate along to a guided meditation app completely reduced my stress, anxiety and palpitations.

    - If you have it, get over hypochondria, every time you feel like googling a symptom, try not to. I have had cancer multiple times, heart failure, lymes disease, diabetes, meningitis ... the list is endless, having that thought in your mind just does not help.

    - I Read a few books on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, this helped a shed load... way more than I expected.

    - The heart can be weird I Realised whilst it is not ideal, the heart can do some crazy things and still keep you standing. I have been in hospital after a bad SVT, strapped up to every machine possible and had loads of missed beats, pacs etc, and I have sat there with a DR and "said look! that's what I feel, this is what I am talking about" and the doc just goes, "oh those, yea" (You can clearly see them in my trace) "they are not related to your SVT, they are normal, just ignore them, everyone has them at some point, some are just more aware than others." 

    You will be amazed what the mind can do to your physical health, honestly. Address the issues with the mind and you will address how you feel and how your body reacts.  

    I am not saying rule out other diagnosis, it sounds like you are doing the right thing with checking up on hormone imbalances etc, but the advise I give is, if the doc turns around and says they can find nothing wrong, anywhere, address the stress and anxiety, turn the way you think about it, and the way you react to them around, and you may feel a positive response. 

    I hope you get things sorted! Take it easy. Dan.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much!

      Yeah, I have major health anxiety which means, of course, every time I feel something different my finger immediately goes t my neck to feel what's happening. Sometimes I even ask my husband to listen to my chest. It's ridiculous when I say that out loud now, but when it's happening I guess I just need reassurance that I am not just losing my mind. 

      I do remember that when I was doing yoga a few times a week, I was feeling better. Also, I do know that when I was exercising, they were not as frequent. But when I DO exercise, doing cardio and such, I get them and it almost knocks me out on the treadmill so I stop. I have become afraid of cardio, even though I KNOW I need to it make my heart stronger. It's a vicious circle for sure. The way my mind works is "Either I run and die on the treadmill while working out, or I die because my heart is not healthy enough and I let myself get out of shape". The mind is such a powerful thing, and controlling it seems harder than it probably is. 

      I've never heard of Flecanide. I don't want to take beta blockers only because my blood pressure is already pretty low, at around 112/60 usually and I don't want to lower it any more than that. 

       

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    • Posted

      I can understand the cardio aspect. I still to this day am terrified of running etc as I get the same skipped beats. It can really throw you off.

      I find that doing things that require your concentration to be elsewhere are perfect. E.g I play badminton with a group of people. I swim with my girlfriend. I got an allotment... again not really something I ever thought I'd do, but the way I see it is I'm digging and constantly waking about lifting stuff, and in turn doing cardio without really even noticing.

      Yeah Flecanide is really only for certain conditions and requires alot of monitoring when you first start taking it. It can cause more issues if not in the right setting, I don't think it is used to treat skipped beats etc

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    • Posted

      I take 50mgs of flec twice a day no problems, for ectopic beats certainly helps.

      I also swim 40 lengths 5 days a week.

      Take a magnesium supplement.

      They are not so frequent now, and not as intense i also see a cardio once a year

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    • Posted

      Good to hear! Yeah it does do the job. I was on 100mg 2x daily and reduced this down once I sorted my anxiety issues.
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  • Posted

    I have had palpitations (fast heart rate) and PVCs/PACs (skipping feeling) starting at around age 16.  I have been on medication off and on.  I don't like taking meds of any kind.  I am now 46 and just went back on a Beta blocker.  In the last 5 years I have been given a medication 3 times that stops your heart for a couple seconds and restarts it due to very high heart rate.  My Dr. HIGHLY recommended I go back on the beta blocker because at some point my heart could stay in the fast rhythm and not come back out of it.  Since I have been back on the beta blocker I have not had any of the fast heart rate but the skipping has been way more frequent.  I went to the ER for it when I was having 10 or more skipped beats a minute and I have a low heart rate the way it is so I was having more skipped beats than I was good beats.  My Dr. upped my beta blocker since I was on a low does of 12.5 mg so now I take 25mg.  It has helped with the intensity.  Mine would take my breath away and I would end up holding my breath for a couple of seconds.  I have had a couple of Echos and they also tell me everything looks fine.  Even when I'm having episodes during the echo.  I wore a 48 hour monitor a couple of weeks ago and in those 48 hours I had over 9,000 PVCs/PAVs and I felt that when I had the monitor on I wasn't having as many as I normally do.  The cardiologist doesn't seen to be too worried about it.  I don't go back to see her for a month.  It is very frustrating when you can feel your heart not working right and nobody seem to be to concerned about it.

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    • Posted

      I completely agree with you. 

      One cardiologist I saw, saw me for ten minutes. Told me I was too young to have heart issues and told me to see a therapist. He did no tests whatsoever. I was blown away at how none of his education he applied to my situation. I was so angry when I left his office. 

      I couldn't imagine having that many though. I freak out when I count 12 in a day. 12 seems small but they are pretty big ones. I guess it could be worse, and I should just be thankful that the doctors have not found anything serious. 

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  • Posted

    ive had ectopics for well over ten years now, I also have stage one heart block, and very rare AF.

    ?Flecainide 50 mgs twice a day and 1.25mg beta blocker have really helped, although I put off taking meds for far too long.

    ?I also take a magnesium supplement and a garlic one.

    ?I also swim 40 lengths 5 days a week, eat quite healthy etc.

    ?although I have ectopics nearly every day stil,l they  are not as bad and  can disappear for hours sometimes days, but I am resigned that they are here to stay, which kinda helps in a strange way.

    ?it is so strange what sets them off its so random, but laying on my right side sets them off, riding my motorbike too, I think its and adrenaline thing mostly and I have always been a bit of a stress head.

    I manage my life around them now, try not to get stressed and exercise regularly which has really helped to chill me out.

    ?my advice is try to stay calm, take the meds your cardiologists tells you too, and  don't read scare mongering stuff on the net, your cardio wouldn't prescribe you medication unless it was safe to do sosmile

     

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