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Palpitations and shortness of breath
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Palpitations and shortness of breath


  : Hi....
  : About a week ago, I began having heart palpitations, actually more like skipped beats along with being "winded". I also feel like I have to cough when I have the palpitations. I first noticed them when I was bowling.  I bowling competitively so this is not an unusual activity for me.  They went away half way through my bowling, so I just attributed them to fatigue since I had  a particularly busy week.  I didn't have them the next day, but have had them everyday since.  I have seen my doctor.  He says he doesn't believe its serious since I'm 35 years old and in generally good health. Although I am overweight and have been working in an extremely sedentary job for the past 10 months.He thinks I may just be out of shape, but I am scheduled for a stress test as a precaution. The palpitations occur at odd times.  For instance, a couple of times I've gone to the health club and rode the bike or walked on the tread mill for 10-15 mins....nothing.  Later in the day, I walked up three stairs to the door of my house and had palpitations along with being "winded".
  :  I've noticed I tend to get the skipped beats most of the time after eating a meal.  My meals haven't been big since I'm pretty nervous about the cause of the palpitations.  
  : Here are my question's:  I have Reflux disorder...could this be contributing to the palpitations or being "winded"?
  : For the past two years, I have also had chronic sinusitis, which I never had before.  I haven't been tested for allergies, but in this past week I've had an increased amount of post nasal drip.  Could this be aggravating the problem as well?
  : Thank you very much for this forum in which to pose my questions.
  Well, I've just returned from my stress test and frankly, I'm scared.  I was having palpitations before the test, which I don't normally have at rest.  During the test, the doctor said my palpitations were coming in groups of 4,5 & 6.  He called my family doctor, but he had the day off, so the doctor that administered the stress test ordered an echo cardiogram.  I don't know the results of that, I should tomorrow.  I'm extremely worried.  What ailments could cause this result in the stress test?  I hadn't eaten in eight hours when I had the test taken.  Could my stomach acids have played a part?  Thanks
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Dear Denise, thank you for your questions.  Palpitations are caused by premature atrial and ventricular beats.  Most likely the palpitations are benign and are not suggestive of an underlying cardiac disorder.  Gastroesophageal reflux can be associated with palpitations, but there's no evidence that reflux causes palpitations.  Thus, I don't think that excess stomach acids would cause increased palpitations.  There's also no association with chronic sinusitis nor post-nasal drip.  The most common causes of palpitations are caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and stress and these precipitants should be avoided if possible.  It's unusual for premature beats to occur in groups as you describe, but since I did not administer the stress test, it's difficult for me to comment.  An echocardiogram images the heart with ultrasound and can determine the pumping function of the heart and the function of the valves.  I suggest that you speak with your physician regarding the results of the stress test and the echocardiogram for more answers.  
I hope this information is useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Only your physician can provided specific diagnoses and therapies.  Feel free to write back with further questions. Good luck!
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.   The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.





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