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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Flip flop feeling w/ BBB

 dahdahdah1 - Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:16 pm

For the last three weeks I've been having this flip flop feeling in my chest that has been coming and going. I was growing very concerned as I am soon going to have surgery, and have to go under anesthesia. There is no pain coming from my chest. However, I can feel the chest wall spasming to the right side of my heart. I had an ECG done, and the doctor told me that she could see BBB, but it was not quite 2 markings wide on the paper. My labs have come back normal cholesterol 164, triglyceride 43, HDL 72, LDL 83. I am wondering if BBB, which I don't know is the right or left, would cause this kind of sensation? It only occurs when I am actually sitting down doing unproductive activities, but I can put my hand there and literally feel the muscle move. Please help, I am concerned about going through with a surgery when there might be something more serious going on.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:19 pm

User avatar Hi there --

BBB (bundle branch block) looks weird whether on the left or right, and right (RBBB) is almost never of any significance, which seems the most likely finding, although it would have been helpful if your doctor had said which it was. In any case, this is unrelated to the flip flop feeling you're experiencing, which is, in all likelihood, the occasional premature contraction, or early heartbeat. These are normal and especially so at rest as you describe. The are, in general, of no significance, but when first noticed or if they become more frequent will attract one's attention and can feel scary. They are, however, harmless and diagnostic of nothing. The presence of RBBB (which I'd bet is what your doctor saw, and is also fairly common, often for no reason at all and may come and go), if, indeed, that's what it was, is also not significant. The premature beats (usually ventricular ones, PVCs), can be provoked by so many innocent things it's hard to think of them all. The reason they're common when one is just sitting and doing nothing is that the heart rate slows, and when it does these are prone to show up, because there is more room between the beats to allow them to fire off. If the pulmonary valve happens to be closed when one happens it will be more noticeable and may even feel almost painful sometimes. Still is innocent, however. Also digesting will trigger these, as will caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, stress, anxiety, etc. Just lots of causes, and the most common is sitting still of lying down to go to sleep (especially when laying on one side, usually the left).

If you can feel muscular spasms in the chest wall with your hand, that's probably not heart-related at all, and sounds like fasiculation, or twitching of voluntary muscle. That can safely be ignored, although it may be bothersome. It can also be confused at times with premature heartbeats or other palpitation, which it is not.

In short, as weird as they feel these are harmless. The BBB, presumably right, would not be related and if it is RBBB is meaningless. LBBB is usually seen with more complex problems that you don't seem to have and which would have drawn a reaction from your doctor. Also, your lipid profile (cholesterol) is great. The BBB, whichever side, is pretty narrow, so may not even be true BBB. If the doctor finds no significant abnormalities then you've been given cardiac clearance for the surgery and should have no problems in that regard. I hope this is helpful. If you have any further questions please follow up with us here. Good luck to you and do update us after the surgery.

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