Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Digestive Problems and Palpitations
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This is a place to ask questions about digestive problems and receive a personal answer from a highly qualified doctor. You will also find support from other members who share your interest in digestive disorders. Digestive Disorders include: Anal and Rectal problems, Barrett’s Esophagus, Bleeding in the Stomach and Digestive Tract, Constipation, Crohn’s Disease, Gastritis, GERD, Heartburn, Proctitis, Short Bowel Syndrome, Ulcers, Whipple’s Disease, Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (and many more).

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Digestive Problems and Palpitations

Hello, I'm a 29 year old male and I've experienced palpitations periodically for about 6-7 years now. The sensation is one of a flip-flop in my chest for just a brief moment. It seems to be affected by eating and certain positions (such as lying down with arms above head). I've had EKG's and I even had a CT scan with contrast of my heart about 6 years ago when it began but all have come back normal. I wore a holter monitor for 24 hours but had no events and I doubt that I would be able to capture the events with an event monitor as they are so brief. I also suffer from undiagnosed digestive troubles. I go through bouts of loose and hard stools and distention and gas. Sometimes there is a yellow foam like substance that accompanies my stool as well.

In any case, I was wondering if it was possible that my digestive problems--specifically on the upper GI side of things--could be in near enough proximity to my heart that movement of my stomach could cause a feeling of palpitations near my heart; and also if you believe there is any cause for concern in anything that you've read above. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
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There are some upper GI diseases that can affect the vagus nerve, and subsequently lead to some cardiac issues.  

First, I would obtain an echocardiogram to image the heart for structural or valve abnormalities.  Regarding the possible GI symptoms, you can consider a colonoscopy to evaluate for inflammatory bowel disease.  If negative, irritable bowel syndrome can lead to an alternating constipation/diarrhea pattern.

An upper endoscopy can be considered to look at the esophagus and stomach if diseases there are suspected.

These options can be discussed with your personal physician.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin Pho, M.D.
www.kevinmd.com
www.twitter.com/kevinmd
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