Hello, I am a 55yo female. Ever since I can remember I have never had exercise tolerance. I learned in my 30's that I had MVP. My exercise tolerance in the past 15 years has steadily decreased. I get chest pains, short of breath, feel the need to constantly take a conscious deep breath to feel like I'm breathing at all. My heart races for no reason but always when I lay down. I have been through two primary doctors, three cardiologists and three pulmonary doctors. I have had every possible pulmonary and cardio test know to man--with the exception of a TEE which they won't do because of previous esophaugus surgery. My MVP is mild with mild regurgitation. The bubble test showed a PFO. I've been told it's anxiety. It's not and I humored one doctor and took medication for it. It didn't help my breathing and made me feel like a zombie. I tried another medication and that just did nothing. I was told it I was deconditioned. I joined a gym and got a personal trainer. I worked up to a level and am now at a brick wall and can't go any further. I get short of breath a light headed far sooner than I should and still can't walk up a flight of stairs without my heart pounding. My arms will get a burning sensation and now my arms and legs will turn purple with white spots and they'll just as mysteriously go away. This is going on for 15 years and I just want to be able to get through the supermarket without feeling like I need to nap. Please help, I'm not crazy.
I would recommend wearing an event monitor to try to capture your heart rhythm during the episodes of palpitations ans shortness of breath. An arrhythmia might be responsible for your symptoms. As far as the MVP goes, if you can't have an echocardiogram due to the prior eso surgery than I would suggest getting a cardiac MRI which would assess the mitral valve, the PFO and also look for any potentials shunts or anomalous blood returns to the heart.
I wore a halter monitor twice. Nothing. Had an MRI. No shunts. Had cardiac cath, echocardiogram three times. Everyone says my heart function is great. My question is, if I am having these symptoms (and they are not anxiety related because I tried medication), would closing the PFO help? Everyone agrees to the PFO and the MVP, but can't find anything else so they either call it anxiety or deconditioned. I go to the gym and work on the treadmill every day for 1/2 hour and can't get past the half hour no matter how hard I try and I've been doing it for 6 months. When I get off the treadmill am light headed just like when I stand up quickly or get out of bed quickly.
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