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Forum Name: Arrhythmias

Question: Irregular Heartbeat


 brian.p - Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:58 pm

Hi,

I am a 24 year old male student.Lately I have been experiencing irregular heartbeats.It first started about a week ago and has been constant since then.I have been checking my pulse daily and counting the number of beats in a minute and each time I count 74 beats per minute which seems normal.For some strange reason I cannot feel the skipped beat or premature beat when I check my pulse on my wrist or neck but I do feel it skipping around my chest area.I know that sounds strange and I thought perhaps I was imagining it,but when the skip happens I get this awful pain through my body,starting around the chest area and passing down through my legs.Its an overwhelming sensation and not very pleasant.This only seems to happen at night time when I am trying to sleep and thus prevents me from sleeping,so I have to take sleeping pills for the moment.

One thing that did occur to me was maybe its a thyroid problem because I am very thin for my age and I have be been experiencing pains in my neck from time to time,but my neck does not seem swollen at all.The first time this irregular heartbeat problem started I experienced dizziness,a beating in my ears,tightness around the chest area,and also a pain in my left shoulder,around the arm pit.I think that might be connected somehow but I don't know.I have contacted my GP via telephone and arranged an appointment for next monday.

I have never experienced anything like the premature heartbeat before,I am an active person,I play sports and I walk a lot.I am asmatic but I have have not had an attack in 5 years.My mother had a thyroid problem several years ago which was corrected but I don't think its hereditarybut then it could be.I'm concerned that this may lead to more serious problems,such as heart failure but I may be over reacting.I have stopped drinking coffee,tea and minerals for the moment,and I have cut down on smoking aswell.Before this started I was drinking a lot of coffee and tea with lots of sugar per cup so that could also be the culprit.

Could this be a long term problem?or could it lead to more serious complications?any input would be very much appreciated.
 brian.p - Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:33 pm

Just to update,I went to my doctor for the second time in the last week today,I was on inderal for the last few days and it seems to have slowed the heart rate down,but didn't stop the skipped beats.My GP sent me to my nearest hospital(assessment ward)to get checked out and apparently everything is fine,my heartrate,blood pressure,are normal.They also did a blood test for various different things and everything checked out fine,the doctor said my glucose levels were fine.

I explained to them all the symptons I've been experiencing over the last two weeks and they were at a loss,if its not showing up on a heart monitor then it must not be serious,but I keep experiencing the sensations throught my body and the heartbeat does pause on occasions.I think it might be anxiety but I don't know.

anyway just thought I'd let you know.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Sat Apr 23, 2005 6:35 pm

User avatar Dear Brian,

It is not rare for young healthy individuals to get extra beats from time to time.

Since you already had all the bood tests, i would recommend having two more test. A holter monitor (portable heart monitor) that the patient wears as an outpatient and active for a period of 24 hours which could be extended and the patient can push a button when any symptom is felt and the patient keeps a diary for the day. The second is an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to exclude a condition called mitral valve prolpase known to cause atypical chest pain and palpitations and needs only to be followed-up.

There is no need to worry whatsoever about these extra beats, in the past, all young healthy patients with extrabeats of certain type called pvcs (which were thought to be the most dangerous) were treated, but after a major study conducted on young healthy individuals with no heart disease, it was found that there is absolutely no danger and that these extrabeats need not to be treated.

Continue the measures that you are doing. In addition, stop smoking completely, no alcohol whatsoever and get enough rest and sleep. Try not worry about those beats and try to get used to these beats if they continue.

Thank you very much for using our website http://doctorslounge.com and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 brian.p - Sun Apr 24, 2005 11:32 am

Dear Yasser Mokhtar,(M.D)

Thank you for the reply to my previous messages.I have indeed had a holter monitor test carried out over a 24 hour period(just 4 days ago)and that to showed nothing adnormal in my hearts rhythm.I received the results last friday and the physician reviewing the results told me everything is ok.During the 24 period I experienced no problems,no sensations,except one slight overwhelming sensation when I was trying to sleep at night which I recorded on the monitor.

My local GP prescribed 2mg of Anxicalm(Diazepam)a few days before the holter test was carried out and I felt absolutely fine for about 4 days.I am beginning to agree with my GP that they are indeed panic or anxiety attacks,because I am under a lot of strain in college and I do worry quite a lot about exams,so perhaps that is the cause of my problem.I am currently taking Inderal and anxicalm,but besides that my doctor has taken two more blood tests,to test and see if I am anemic or if its an over active thyroid gland Hyperthyroidism because am very thin for my age(about 10 stone)so my doctor thinks it may be Hyperthyroidism, I'll have to wait and see what the results say.

The hospital physican and my local GP mentioned nothing about an echocardiogram test so perhaps they feel its not needed.Never the less I feel better,I have stopped smoking as well,stopped 2 weeks ago and I feel much better,no coughing,weezing,and my breathing in general seems a lot better.

Thanks again for reminding me that this is not a serious problem,my GP explained that to me as well,that its not uncommon for young people to experience irregular heartbeats,but at the time I over reacted and thought it was a serious problem,so apologies if my previous posts seemed a little OTT.I'm just glad to be able to sleep at night more easily than before,and I have also stopped drinking tea,coffee,and all minerals.

Again thank you Yasser Mokhtar for your information,it is greatly appreciated :)

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