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Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Ectopic beats

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 ak_uk76 - Wed Jun 30, 2004 7:50 am

I experienced symptoms about a year ago which caused me great anxiety. I had pain in my chest , in my left arm , in my jaw and in my back. These symptoms were usually when i was at rest. The symptoms presented themselves for weeks at a time and then would go away. I spoke to my GP and he said it was either muscular pain or anxiety attacks.
Recently I have experienced new symptoms.It is difficult to describe - my heart ryhthm feels irregular. I can feel it in my chest , almost like a pause and then a sudden thud back to regular rhythm. I know that Ectopic beats are common and I have experienced them in the past, this is what I thought the symptoms may be , but they are more regular and noticable , I can feel a clear pause whn I feel my pulse that is in time with the feeling in my chest. I would visit my GP but the response I have had in the past is - " don't worry about it , your only young and being stupid" - all this advice without feeling my pulse or BP etc.
Does anyone have any idea what could be the cause of these symptoms?
Thank you
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Wed Jun 30, 2004 5:39 pm

User avatar Dear ak_uk76,

What you are experiencing is ectopic beats exactly like you described them and the reason that there is a pause that you felt is that the ectopic beat comes earlier than the regular beat and so, if you are paying attention to your pulse and heart, you would feel like there is a pause, when actually the normal beat comes on time following some types of ectopic beats and just a little bit later than normal in other types.

Ectopic beats were found in normal people who did not even felt that they had them.

Even though there are causes of ectopic beats and they are various and they include:
1. Drinking too much caffeinated beverages.
2. Drinking alcohol.
3. Smoking cigarettes.
4. Exhaution.
5. Not getting enough sleep.
6. Abnormal electrolytes in the blood.
7. Having a hyperactive thyroid gland.
8. A condition called mitral valve prolapse.

If these ectopic beats are not causing you any problems, i would suggest that you try and not pay much attention to them. If you are really worried, you can have an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) done to rule out mitral valve prolapse and blood tests done to see whether the electrolytes in your blood are normal or not and check a thyroid function test.

Of course this is not enough, you have to stop smoking, drinking coffee and alcohol and get enough rest for a good amount of time to see whether this will make a difference in your symptoms.

If all investigations come back normal and after you stopped all things that can cause ectopic beats, you are still complaining of those ectopic beats some would argue putting you on a 24 hours (or even more) cardiac monitor to see what kind of ectopic beats they are and treat accordingly and others will tell you that you don't need treatment as they are not causing any harm and try to get used to them and get on with your life.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 ak_uk76 - Wed Jun 30, 2004 8:44 pm

Thank you for your response , I really appreciate it. I do try and not pay much attention these symtoms but the symptoms have not gone away after 3 days now , I Have problems sleeping as I wake up suddenly needing to intake air and it is really worrying. I cant rule out the the cause as anxiety but I have nothing to be anxious about apart from the symptoms....anyway , sorry for going on , I wil try to get an investigation from my GP

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