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Hiatal Hernia and heart symptoms....
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Hiatal Hernia and heart symptoms....

I have a rather large hiatal hernia where some of my stomach has been pushed up into my left side chest cavity.  I have serious chest pain, shortness of breath and strong, forceful and sometimes uncoordinated heartbeats. I have had all the heart tests including stress echo, ekg, etc and all are perfect.  I am an endurance athlete so these symptoms are really distressing, when I compete especially.  The only time it does not bother me is when my stomach is empty...usually in the morning, but after I eat, the symptoms show their ugly face. My question is can this hernia be causing these symptoms???  Are they common with a hiatal hernia and will reducing the hernia relive the symptoms.  

Thank You

Ken
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Hernia and CP:

If you have had a normal stress echo and ECG, you are probably at low risk for a cardiac event. Hiatal hernias can cause some the symptoms you describe. It is possible that your hiatal hernia is the cause of your symptoms. I would recommend a long discussion with your doctor outlining your risk from a cardiac standpoint. As you have described your risk  seems low. If so you should have your hiatal hernia evaluated by a gastroenterologist, who may be able to better characterize this disorder and recommend definitive therapy.  


Thanks for your question,

CCF-MD-KE
9 Comments
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I have a similar story excepting I am an overwight 48 yeasr old make . I have mild controled hypertension , normal bloods including cholestral . I suffer diconfort paint at the top of the stomach after meals - if I lay down on my stomach or on my side after meating , or if i walk even slowly after eating or after prolonged inactivity (like after a drive or airline flight . The pain ceases almost immedeiately I stop moving or when i sit up it does not radiate. My Dr has booked in to see a gastro speciaist as my ECG/Stress test was normal although I only reached submaximal 84%.
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Ken, thank you for making your post.  I, too, have experienced the same events as you.  First let me say that I suffer from panic/anxiety problems.  This began about 2 1/2 yrs. ago.  My reg. GP put me on Paxil, which I could not take.  Aggrevated my symptoms terribly.  I then tried Buspar, but to no avail.  I then saw a specialist and he prescribed Luvox with Klonopin for the first 6 weeks.  I continued on the Luvox for about 10 months and have not had to return to it.  I do take the Klonopin (1/4 mg) as needed, which is not very often.  I am a 42 yr. old female and am in the throws of premenopause, so I know my hormones are playing a big part in my heart palps, anxiety, etc.  I was also diagnosed with PVC's about 1 year ago.  I experience heart flutters, palpatations, flip-flops, missed beats, hard beats, racing heart, pounding-racing heart, shortness of breath etc.  You name it, I've had it.  Even have had it to where I feel like all the blood is draining from my body because my heart stopped too long between beats.  I've had EKG's, echocardiograms, stress tests, chest x-rays, etc.  The only diagnosis is PVC's - doc says they aren't life threatening.  Says they are quite normal in women of my build (thin) and those with the level of adrenaline that I have. But, I have noticed the very same thing as you.  When my stomach is empty I seem to do better.  When I eat, especially if it's a lot, late, or heavy on the carbs, my heart goes to acting crazy.  Just last night I ate supper @ 10:15PM.  Was feeling fine until then.  Shortly after eating, my stomach, like where the rib cage splits, began to feel bloated and uncomfortable. I also have a lot of gaseous belching whenever this happens. Soon the heart palps began.  If I would lie down it was worse.  Of course with my panic/anxiety problem it threw me into a panic attack.  And so the vicious cycle began.  It took about 2 hours before I could settle down enough to go to sleep, but did not sleep well at all.  Needless to say I was exhausted today.  Went for my monthly chiropractor visit and was telling him about it.  He said that my symptoms were a sign of a hiatal hernia.  He checked me and sure enough I have one.  He adjusted that area and so far I've not had any heart palps.  Of course, tomorrow is another day. :)  I guess my next appt. should be w/a gastroenterologist.  Not sure what they can do for it, but might be worth looking into.  I've read many, many posts in this Heart forum and I can so relate to many on here.  It does help knowing that there are others with identical or similar problems and also being told that these problems are not life threatening. I wish you the best in your search for relief.
Take care,
Lisa
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Avatar_n_tn
hi,
  i have been sick since tuesday with a funny feeling at the bottom middle of my rib cage and my heart is going wild. i picked up a heavy object on that day and it started a few hours later after eating a snack. i went to sleep to try to correct the heart problem thinking it was stress related and it went away. on wens. after i ate lunch it started back with a vengeance. i ended up in the emergency room with pvc's. i was given a beta blocker and sent home to rest to follow up with heart doctor and a gastro doctor. my heart is still beating very irregular and today is sat. I have not been able to work, sit for too long or stand for very long or my symptons seem to get worse. after a very small light meal i also seem to get worse.
  i went to the gastro doctor first who is running tests on all my organs. i have a history of hiatal hernias in my family which many times sent my grandmother to the hospital with irregular heart beats. the gastro doctor wants me to wait two weeks to see if it gets better with taking nexium. i am going to try to get him to run a scope test the first of next week because so far it is not getting better and i am having to stay in bed elevated all day.
  i also went to the heart doctor who thinks it could be a hiatal hernia or acid reflux. he said the same that pvcs would not kill me but i cannot stand to feel this way. it is making me have anxiety which they have told me could slow the healing(qoute the gastro doctor).
  am i doing the right thing? when i told the gastro doctor that i was haveing irregular heart beats he said he had never heard of that before and told me to go to the heart doctor, even after i told him my family history which includes my grandmother and my brother with the same symptons. i am overweight and have recently lost 25 pounds going to weight watcher. i know that weight loss will help but what do i do for now?
please feel free to email me at blackout.***@****
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I'm finally glad to find someone else who is experiencing similar problems. That's not to say that I'm glad that we have to go through it.  About a year and a half ago I started noticing palpatations and this weird sensation at the bottom of my rib cage on the left side.  It startled me more than anything.  I am relatively healthy but have had a history of anxiety/panic attacks.  I went to my physician and was refered on for an echo cardiogram.  All was normal accept that they had a hard time getting a 3d image of one of my heart muscles and thought that that muscle was weak.  So, they refered me on to have a stress/echo.  Again at resting, they had a difficult time getting a full image and concluded the same about that muscle. During the test, the palpatations occured, but I preformed very well.  I completed the test and felt like I could keep going.  After the exercise, my heart looked normal and was beating strong.  The cardiologist came to the conclusion that they were unable to get a true picture or complete picture of my heart, but my performance on the test was excellent.  He proceeded to give me a green light.  Since then, however, I continue to have the same problems.  Beginning in November of 2002, I began to increase my exercise by playing full court basketball. I started to notice a lot of acid reflux that wouldn't stop.  I had an EDG recently, and it showed a hiatal hernia.

I am a 35 year old male and am very health conscience.  I just want to make sure my heart is truly strong.  I do have chest pains and shortness of breath at times that can be caused by both heart problems and a hiatal hernia. Doubt is a terrible thing for a person with anxiety problems.  I just want to find some ways to deal with these symptoms and make sure I am healthy.  Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.
Trevor
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm finally glad to find someone else who is experiencing similar problems. That's not to say that I'm glad that we have to go through it.  About a year and a half ago I started noticing palpatations and this weird sensation at the bottom of my rib cage on the left side.  It startled me more than anything.  I am relatively healthy but have had a history of anxiety/panic attacks.  I went to my physician and was refered on for an echo cardiogram.  All was normal accept that they had a hard time getting a 3d image of one of my heart muscles and thought that that muscle was weak.  So, they refered me on to have a stress/echo.  Again at resting, they had a difficult time getting a full image and concluded the same about that muscle. During the test, the palpatations occured, but I preformed very well.  I completed the test and felt like I could keep going.  After the exercise, my heart looked normal and was beating strong.  The cardiologist came to the conclusion that they were unable to get a true picture or complete picture of my heart, but my performance on the test was excellent.  He proceeded to give me a green light.  Since then, however, I continue to have the same problems.  Beginning in November of 2002, I began to increase my exercise by playing full court basketball. I started to notice a lot of acid reflux that wouldn't stop.  I had an EDG recently, and it showed a hiatal hernia.

I am a 35 year old male and am very health conscience.  I just want to make sure my heart is truly strong.  I do have chest pains and shortness of breath at times that can be caused by both heart problems and a hiatal hernia. Doubt is a terrible thing for a person with anxiety problems.  I just want to find some ways to deal with these symptoms and make sure I am healthy.  Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.
Trevor
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello Trevor,

Look above, under the thread called:- AM I JUST PARANOID? - started by Henry Lee the date 3-14-03.
People with the same acid problems you have.
You might find an answer there, or at least some peace of mind.
Otherwise look in the archives on this site; there are many of us with stomach-heart related posts.
The stomach with problems like acid and acid-reflux often gives one PVC's and PALP's, probably has got to do with the Vasovagal Nerve.
Stress, or the food you eat and how much.
Drink alcohol? Smoke? Lots of coffee?  etc etc....go surf the Net and find answers!!
Then go see your Dr. and tell him what you found here.
Some simple medicine can help you a lot.
-
Bey,   ***Ianna***  - 'and the beat goes on'-
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I had an xray recently of my lower back and the findings came back that I have atherosclerotic vascular calcifications that extend into the iliac arteries bilateraly. Can anyone tell me what this means? thank you for your help.
Dara
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I am living proof that a little 'ol hiatal hernia can put you in a world of hurt.  I just left the Marine Corps after 12 years.  during my service, I had been diagnosed with a HH and GERD.  It was a small slider, but caused me a ton of grief.  Especially during combat service in Afghanistan, where the stress of war just about put me over the edge with stomach problems.  It was documented in my medical record so many times I now receive a 10% veteran's disability for it.  It began about six years ago.  I was in Japan and got so violently sick one night out of the blue that I was vomiting blood.  I had a Mallory-Weiss tear in my esophagus from puking so hard.  3-5 other times throughout the next year or so I had to fly to the ER in a panic with severe stomach aches, palps, constricted breathing, etc.  One night I was sitting in my living room playing with my dog and had an vaso-vagal event so severe I thought I was going to die in the middle of my driveway.  My heart went from normal to about 160 bpm in about 5 seconds, and I lost almost all motor skills and consciousness.  I felt as if I was leaving my body or losing my rational cognitive ability - going nuts!  From there on out it was panic city every time it happened.  I was a smoker so that didn't help either.  For five years I struggled with knowing that cigarettes were probably aggravating, if not CAUSING - my problems.  Once I found out my stomach was directly related to my heart episodes, my panic attacks abated slowly but surely.  But there's still nights that I'll sit bolt upright in bed after going to sleep nice and peacefully with the weirdest sensations in the world.  My stomach will feel like it's "slithering" around like a big spiny pufferfish in my abdomen, my heart will be thumping like a bass drum and my head will be spinning - almost like a strange euphoria.  It really *****, folks!  I just run to the medicine cabinet and pop a Zantac and ride it out.  I've been on many medications, but regular 75mg OTC Zantac cures me fine.  I just wonder if eating 1-2 Zantacs a day for the rest of my life is going to harm me more than my condition.  My father is one of the longest -surviving heart transplants recipients in the country, and I have a long family history of bad heart disease that has killed most of my bloodline.  Fortunately, I got mom's genes and have a healthy heart - just a wacked stomach.  I'd really like to find out if laproscopic surgery to correect the hiatal hernia will make all of this go away.  I had a friend who did it and is fine now, but others who say it's a bad move - that you're never the same again in eating habits, pain, full-feeling, etc.  I'm 34/m and sick of this ****.  By the way, don't forget to remember our Marines fighting in Iraq!!  It's my old unit!  And good luck to all of you in your real or hypochondrial illnesses!
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