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Avatar universal

strange palpitations

Can you please tell me something.  I have palpiations every day.  They feel like a big thump and then my heart seems to stop and and then start again and sometimes it feels like a couple of fast beats and then stop and go again and I kind of feel a rush down to my hands and heat like the blood stops flowing for a second.

This seems to happen approximately 10 times per day.  I really hate the feeling but I have seen an EP doctor and he has said everyone gets palpitations and not to worry about it.  They have caught a 5 beat run of PVC's on a monitor but say it is not conidered v-tach and not to worry because I have no signs of heart disease.

I am a 40 year old female with no other health problems other than this heart skipping thing I have.  I am taking a small dose of Celexa (10mg) every day because of my high anxiety level about my heart skipping.

If everyone gets these things why is it that my husband, my sister and many friends I have talked to do not feel anything strange happening to their hearts?  The doctor says I am no doubt just "really tuned" into these things but I question it who wouldn't be tuned into these things when you heart is stopping all of the time?  

My next question to you is usually once per week I will be sitting quietly doing nothing and my heart will start going irregular or does a couple or three of hard pounds and then stops and I feel like I am going to pass out for a split second.  I always take a deep breath and it seems to go back normal beating.  Once again the EP doctor says don't worry (as this is quite infrequent he says), but I really do when this is happening.  

Do you think it is just a run of PVC's that is making me feel like that?  Is that not a bad thing?  Do other people actually get runs of these horrible things?  Am I making a big deal out of nothing?   I hate it but would really like to know if other people get the same thing as I really let these things control me.

I thank you for any input you can give me about this as I really value your comments.


42 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear car,

As far as your first question I probably won't be able to give you any better explaination than your doctor.  It is true that everyone has PVCs throughout the course of the day and some people tend to notice them more than others.  I have never seen a good reason to explain the difference between individuals.  Occasionaly we will start beta-blockers in someone with severe symptoms from PVCs.

As to the second question the treatment would depend on the cause.  It would be helpful to have a Holter or event monitor during one of these episodes.  Then depending on the cause the treatment would be either observation, medications or ablation.
Avatar universal
I have this EXACT thing, and I had it last night from about 11:30 pm until around 2:30 am and of course I could not sleep while I was having this. It is such an awful feeling, and I also like to know what this is and is it anything to worry about? It is the worst feeling in the world!! I have had an EKG, blood test and chest x-rays and they told me my heart is fine. But I didn't have those test for this funny heart beat, I was having chest pain, which just turned out to be costochondritis. I am in a forum where everyone has costo and everyone seems to get this weird heartbeat. Is it related to stress? I really spaz out when this happens to me.
Avatar universal
Dear CAR, I understand completely how you are feeling. I am 38 years old and have daily palpitations for about a year now. Besides Mitral valve prolapse the cardilogist says there is nothing to worry about. He put me on a beta blocker after an event recorder that showed many Pac's and Pvc's. I have heard from others about hormonal changes women go through well before the onset of menopause, that can cause the irregular beats. I hoped this helps you to find the answers you need, and remember you are not alone.
Avatar universal
The CC Doctor just commented on these on the post (2 below).

I have the EXACT same thing.  Driving me nutty. Last evening they were with me for almost 4 straight hours.  A friend   told me that she had these for months with no obvious heart disease and that 'they just disappearred one day' and never returned.  The Sresss Echocardiogram with Dobutermine that i had the other day,  showed no evidence of heart disease.

**Personally**, I feel it has something to do with Hormones.  I am 50 and perhaps getting into menopause.  I am also going to get my Throid levels checked.

Best To All of You.
Avatar universal
Hi Car,
I get the exact same thing.  I have had these problems since I was 17 years old.  I am now 37 years old.  I've had all types of tests and am told not to worry.  I get 5-7 beats in a row sometimes.  Don't worry about them.  (I notice more when I am lying down on my back).  I take 1/2 of a 25mg of Tenormin and it really helps however I still get them and it doesn't help the runs.  Get the book Hope and Help for your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weeks.  It really helped me get over worrying so much about them.  I do hate that feeling when it "stops".  Good luck and DON"T WORRY!!
Avatar universal
Hi Car,

Feeling the exact same things and I too wonder how the doctors can say that everyone has palpatations and its only those more in tune with their bodies that feel these thumps.  I was told that by my doctor but after suffering between 6 - 10 of these things a minute (feeling every single one of them - even though not actively waiting for the next 'flip flop')I can't imagine any person who wouldn't feel these horrid things!  I too asked friends and family but they note nothing odd with their hearts - the only way of convincing them that despite the doctors saying I was extra sensitive was to get them to put a stethoscope on and listen to theirs and mine.  After this little session my fiance nearly dragged me back into the doctors - he was really worried!

I believe there are different levels of intensity associated with the palpatations.  I myself have noted with my own PVCs that sometimes they are softer and other times they scare the living daylights out of me and even wake me from sleep.  

By avoiding (and I think for some this means completely cut out) all forms of caffeine including chocolates :( alcohol and tobacco, you may find that your palps may be minimised or softned.  I've also heard that potassium and magnesium supplements may help also. (I'm an avid eater of bananas now and avoid all forms of caffeine and don't touch a drop and I note that my palpatations are somewhat softer - I however succumbed to an Easter Egg and voila my PVC's were back with a vengence!)

In relation to runs of PVC's, I have had several couplets but never a run of more than 3.  I would get a second opinion about what you should do if you get runs of PVC's (3 or more).  That is that there is no normal heartbeat in between these odd beats.  I was told by my doctor that if I was experiencing frequent runs of 3 or more PVCs to see her but never really given a full explanation of why. (I think it does relate to you feeling dizzy, but always go and see a doctor to get a professional opinion about anything you are concerned about - a cardiologist would be preferable than a GP if possible)  

It is difficult to remain calm when these things happen and anxiety often prevails, and its easier to say don't worry about them than actually doing it.  I just want to reassure you that you should never feel like your a 'whinger' or making a mountain out of mole hill when it comes to your heart.  Ask questions, more questions and more questions until you are happy with what the doctor has told you.  

PVC's are common and that can be seen even in the number of people that write in these types of forums.  That doesn't take away from the fact that the're incredibly frustrating, scary and relentless.  But I have been reassured that PVC's will not cause heart damage and won't kill me by a cardiologist, several GP's and even my brother in law who is an Accident Emergency registrar.  And I tell you if he's wrong there will be trouble.    

If you feel that you have not been informed well enough about your PVC's or don't trust what your GP has said get a second opinion.  I needed several opinions to make myself feel better and believe that my PVC's were not going to kill me or do damage to my heart.  Still they frustrate me and scare me but I won't let the PVC's win!

I really hope you feel better soon with your PVC's and hope you find some comfort in the fact that you are not alone with your thumps.  

Kindest regards,


Avatar universal
I too have this wierd beat with my heart, I am now pregnant with my 2nd baby, and this is a more active problem during my pregnancy. I too can't stand the wierd feelings, and am Absolutly terrified every time my heart starts to race. I had been to the doc's a few times for this and even been given an echo. They turned up nothing, because my heart would beat normal for them. This weekend we caught my heart acting up. I woke up with the pounding flutters, after they didn't resolve within 20 minutes I went to the ER. I was given a beta blocker, lopressor, to slow my 160 bpm heart rate. the irregularity took 5 hours to resolve itself! This was the worst episode ever. I have another echo this week. I am so scared! I must agree that is is very hard to relax when it involves the heart. Any one have the irregularity for this long? What could be the cause
Avatar universal
Yes, to last poster,  My heart rate used to stay above 140 for days.  Test all normal.  What the doctor needs to do is put you on an event monitor.  Then he can see how offen and how long it last.  Try sleeping with a 140+ heart rate, you wake up feeling like you ran a race all night.  Then having to put 8 hours in at work was real hell.  I don't know how many times I felt like passing out.  Now I am on a beta-blocker, what a difference.  I sleep much better and actualy can watch a little tv in the evening now.  Before my life was work and sleep.  I still have break outs of fast heart beats from time to time,  but they are short lived and not as fast as used to be.  I no longer have any chest pain either.  A fast heart rate is nothing to worry about as long as you are taking medicence.  If left to over beat for years and years, one could shorten your life span, heart is strong but still can wear out.

Also really watch what you eat.  Eat smaller meals, No caffee, and that means all the easter candy too..ehehhehe  So when it comes down to basics,  You are what you eat.  

Good luck,
Avatar universal
I too have PVC's, 5000-8000, mainly trigeminy for sustained amounts of time, sometimes bigeminy, a day according to holter tests. I'm 21 and have been having them for several years. I understand your frustration, I was flabergasted when my doctor said I noticed it because I was hypersensitive, maybe due to lack of sleep. I said, I can put a 20 pound weight on my chest and you'll see my heart beat, stop, and have a hard beat. anyone would notice ! and none of them take it seriously, my doctor when he got my holter results didn't even read the detail page. just the summary. I was the one who had to bring to his attention the 6500 PVC's it had recorded.

What frustrates me is how (sorry cardiologists) ignorant they seem to be about these problems, and how little heed they seem to pay to people with these problems. Recently my episodes have become painful, besides irritating. And I went to the ER, baffled everyone.

you know what one doctor said ? 'well if it hasn't killed you in the past 4 years, it probably wont kill you now.'

Thanks Doc !

Anyway, take heart in knowing a lot of people share your pain. :)

Take Care.

P.S. Anyone watched themselves have an echo while having PVC's? how scary is that to see your heart go motionless on screen :)
Avatar universal
What a relief to find this topic.  I have been to 3 EP's; 3 cardiologists; 2 gastro specialists; wear an Event Reveal Loop Monitor; have recorded many "episodes"; and still cannot convince the heart specialists that my palpitations are related to stomach or intestinal "gas" or stomach upset. I have tried 3 medications that did not help at all with the irregular heartbeats.  The Reveal Monitor has documented my heart rate going from 65 beats per minute to 180 bpm in less than 4 beats. It will slowly go back to normal within 4 - 5 minutes unless I stay anxious about it.  It is a most sickening sensation that makes me feel like I am going to "bite the big one" !!   Does anyone else have this problem with stomach or digestive problems causing irregular heartbeats - and trying to convince a doctor o it?
Avatar universal
ditto on all that stomach stuff causing skips , thumps, bangs and rapid rates....try taking aciphex....its helped me out A LOT!
Avatar universal
I have spoken with many doctors about my palpitations that only   occur during pregnancy. A few of them think that they could be caused by hormonal changes. I have been looking into that possability and I have found that, some women even get them right before menstruation. Another common cause in women is the thyroid. Mine was tested and came back normal. I was also told by one doctor that 65% of people have something like this, and most of them don't know it. I am interested in learning how eating small portions more frequently helps. Best of luck, Nismo

Avatar universal
My thoughts are with all of you that are suffering from these annoying feelings.  I am especially interested in the comments from those of you who might be dealing with hormonal changes as well.  I am a 40 year old female who's palpitations began with my second pregnancy 5 years ago and only returned with a vengance recently when I began dealing with perimenopausal symptoms.  Does anyone have information on a website that deals specifically with this issue of hormones and palpitations?  

Also, do any of you have "fleeting" pain with your PVC's?  I haven't had any pain with them until recently and although it's a split second issue, it's very scary!  I'm sorry all of us are dealing with these, but I'm glad you all are out there to make some of us feel like we're not nuts!

Avatar universal
I can't tell you what a relief it is to find others who have experiences similar irregular palpitations.  I have had them for probably 10 years.  I am 39.  It does not happen often but when it does it scares me.  There have only been a few times that I felt I was going to pass out.  Once I was in the shower and the episode lasted so long my vision went blurry.  Normally what happens is there is a sudden strong building up of pressure.  The longer the pressure builds the more painful.  During the pressure phase I get lightheaded, dizzy and sometimes see stars.  Next the pressure releases with a big surge that is sometimes painful and my heart races to 190-210.  It takes about an hour for my heart rate to get back to normal.  Afterwards I feel slightly weak especially in my arms.  I have been told that it is probably due to stress.  I also drink a LOT of coffee which I am sure does not help.  I am an otherwise very healthy person with an active lifestyle.
Avatar universal
To the original first question of the run, posted for doctor, do you too get the electrical sensation tingly feeling go down your arms and chest during these flutters???????i have been through all testing to do with heart even an ep study procedure. almost 2 hours in columbus hospital. not fun!!!!!! they say heart is ok, something else causing these, doesn't make them less scary!! i have asked every doctor i have been to about these sensations with these, and they can't tell me waht or why i feel this. if you have ever got an answer, or anyone, plese let me know. e-mail me. one doctor finally convinced me that they might be stress induced and asked me to please try buspar to see what happened. i did about 4 weeks ago and after 2 weeks, they have almost stopped!! i even take 1/2 dose. but when i do have an episode, still feel this electrical shock sensation.
about the stomach gas and problems, yes, i too feel like when stomach is bad, heart acts up. i have bentaking aciphex for 3 months now and it relaly cuts down on the gas. very expensive medicine.any comments about the weird sensation, please let me know. nancy ***@****
Avatar universal
BTW I am a 44 year old woman,  I have noticed the increase of heart beats just before my period.  The whole body is effected including my eyes, which I have tons of problems with.  I hate that one week a month.  I just started birth control pills 2 weeks ago, hoping it will control the hormones better.  (report to follow in several months).  You all need to take the time and search this web site. You will find many answers and new questions.  http://www.medhelp.org/perl6/cardio/faq.html

BTW,  eating smaller meals put less pressure on the heart.  Your body has to work harder to empty a super full stomach.  Sleeping is still the best meds for me.  Many wonderful things heal them selves when one sleeps.  And another thought, GERD, Asthma, and heart problems really seem to go hand in hand.  Many many people will have asthma and go there whole life and never know.  Many never know they have to much tummy gas either.  If you take tums/rolaids one or two times a week, then get real meds like tagamet.  

Take Care,
Avatar universal
Can you post the web page address for the costochodritis forum?  I get short, quick jabs of chest pain on the upper left side and am wondering if it's costo.  Thanks.
Avatar universal
These "electrical shock" feeling in your arms, hands, chest are most likely due to stress.  I have experienced this many times years ago approximately 23 years ago when I was in my early 20's.  I went through terrible panic/anxiety attacks.  I believe you are very "tuned" into all of your physical feelings.  I remember when I first started having panic attacks I would get this electrical shock feeling and I asked the doctor about it because I thought it was the "cause" only later to find out it was the "reaction" to too much self-introspection, anxiety, worry, creating more stress, more symptoms.  It is a viscious cycle and one that will not stop unless you decide today to try to think "positive" or as positive as you can about the negative things your heart is doing.  I know it is not easy.  I still suffer from skipped beats on occassion.  They always throw me until I learn to "accept them" as they are.    But...the one thing I have learned is...the more you worry about them the worse they get.  Exercise does help abolish them because I have gone out cross-country skiing while I was having them.  People who are tense and worry alot tend to "shallow breath" and use only the top part of their chest when they breathe.  Their whole chest area tenses up.  When you notice you have them, try to breath slowly and deeply.  At first you may notice that when you breath in that your heart beats a little faster.  This happens a lot and is a perfect sign of a normal healthy heart.  Only when one is tense and noticing every little thing we tend to say "oh no, what if...." and come up with a hundred horrible things that could happen.  Anxiety is a natural part of life, it will not go away by some magic pill.  When we worry for a long period of time about something, be it physical symptoms or something going on in ones life it tends to create symptoms from stress. It will only get worse if we continue to "worry" about it...learning to think positive and accept as best we can tends to help break the cycle.  I  wouldn't wish any of this on my worst enemy.  Learning to think positive doesn't happen overnight.  It takes repeated "doing" to at least help one on the way to recovery.... Best of luck.
Avatar universal
I wanted to add to my above post, is when drinking just a half a glass of wine, about half hour later my heart will race also.
I have been told it is the sulphites that are in wine. Does anyone else get this as well?
Avatar universal
I cannot drink wine at all.  The last time was a few years ago when I had a glass at dinner.  My heart started racing at 190bpm after this and I have not touched it since.  I also get some wheezing from it which I believe is from the sulphites.
Avatar universal
I have also suffered from these "harmless" palpitations.  I have had stretches that have lasted for 36 hours.  all the tests and the usual "don't worry".  Took atenelol but that slowed me down too much and ended up with second degree heart block.  On digoxin now and have been palpitation free for almost 2 months.  I strongly believe mine are hormone related.  I am a 47 year old female with no signs of menapause yet.  Just hang in there.
Avatar universal
I see so many people here that have the same symptons as I have. In 1993 they started with a fast heart rate. That came on evereyday since. Then one day in 1998 when it didn't slow down like it normally does, also that day I first started to feel that fluttering feeling, at the same time my heart was racing. If I sat down and not move to much it would slow down some, but as soon as I got up and went just a few feet, it took off. I finally saw a doctor after all this time, in the er, and then a cardiologist. I have had blood tests, different monitors, but I continued to have problems, that were not recorded on one of the monitors. When you have one of the monitors, the heart always seems to behave. Its when its returned back to the doctor, it starts up. The things I noticed other people post here, is exactly what I get. Like the fast beating sometimes in the morning as soon as I get up out of bed, the fast beating after a meal, all the symptons much worse around my menses, I take toprol twice daily, and somedays I feel like I hardly need any toprol, and somedays I feel I need more than my usual dosage, like its not even working. But comparing what I was like before I started the medication and now, it has helped. It's just if you should fall behind in the dosage, you pay for it, the symptons really come on, as I understand it, that it was can happen with a beta blocker. I have been told when going to the dentist, to tell him to keep the epinephrine out of the novacaine. That will make your heart speed up. When my heart is racing I get a like a tightened feeling in my stomach, as if it is all the muscles tensed up. As soon as the racing goes away, so does that tightened up feeling.
Also the funny beats or flutters you can feel sometimes down in the center of the stomach, or up in the base of the throat.
It seems alot of us share the same misery, but it is true to talk or think to yourself calming, positive thoughts, especially when having some symptons are just feeling funny. I have been told to try to forget about it, but it is truly hard, especially when the symptons come on. The anxiety or fear comes on, and I know it magnifies the symptons.

Take Care.

Avatar universal
the problem with drinking alcohol and a fast rate is that the break down of ethanol in the body has a end state byproduct known as acetalaldehyde wich is very cardiotoxic, and triggers allergic reations in some people (especially those of asian decent) who lack the enzyme to take care of it. its the same chemical in the body that causes "hangovers"..... it causes rythm disturbances for A LOT of people...look up "holiday heart syndrome"....
Avatar universal
Two more suggestions:

1. Avoid ALL alcohol. Very important.
2. Try eating smaller, easy to digest meals.

For other writers, my doctor also told me that all people have these & some just notice them more than others.  Anyone who has these big chest thumpers knows better than that.  My wife could actually detect MY palpatations in bed by lying NEXT TO ME!  Can anyone top that?  Glad to say they went away one day last year, never to return.
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