Heart Disease Expert Forum
Should I worry?
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Should I worry?

I am a 46 yo female.  I am about 35 pounds heavier than I should be, but I have been working on this by exercising regularly and following a low fat diet. I do not smoke.  My only risk factor for cardiac disease is a father who had MI at age 54.  6 weeks ago I suddenly began to feel "skipped beats" quite frequently.  I also noted over the next few days that I was unable to complete my usual exercise routine at the Y.  In the following days, I experienced fatigue, dyspneic and chest discomfort radiating to my neck and left arm.  I saw a PA at the family practitioner's office who confirmed a new murmur, echo showed mild MR, and holter (which malfunctioned only giving 10 hours of data) showed occasional PACs and PVCs.  Over the last 6 weeks, I continue to have these symptoms with an increase in the skipped beats (sometimes 10/min).  With these I feel really awful.  I might also mention that the symptoms really appear with exercise (walking, cleaning house, laundry, gardening, periods of increased stress, etc.--sometimes resting for a while will make them go away).

I saw the cardiologist yesterday who explained that the murmur was related to the MR--everything else on the echo o.k. and he wants to follow it yearly with an echo. Even though I expressed concern about the skipped beats, he really didn't think them anything to worry about.  I am scheduled for adenosine thallium next week.  My question--do people just suddenly start having these arrhythmis without any reason?  If the thallium turns out o.k.--will I have to just learn to live with the arrhythmias?  This whole thing is such a sudden change and is really interfering with my quality of life.

Thanks for any help you can give.
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Dear marshasue,

Your doctor is doing the absolute right thing. Your symptoms should be worked up fully.  As far as the PVC's, they might be caused by electrolyte imbalances caused by your diet.  your physician will check this out.  PVC's by themselves are not worrisome.  your physician will determine via the next tests if there is any underlying significant cardiac disease.  

I hope this has been useful. I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to write back.

     Information provided here is for general purposes only. Specific questions should be addressed to your own
     doctor. 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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