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Vagus nerve damage and heart rate
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Vagus nerve damage and heart rate

I posted a question recently regarding the correlation between Gatroparesis and vagus nerve damage as it pertains to blood pressure and heart rate.  I would like to be more specific.  When I eat meals I sometimes feel that my pulse in my stomach starts to beat faster and when I feel my arterial pulse, it is in fact speeding up.

1. Can your heart rate go up if your glucose level rises?
2. Will vagus nerve damage cause heart rate changes?
3. Can the stress on stomach nerves/muscles cause heart to work faster?

Thank you
Tags: vagus, Heart
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Hello,


1. Can your heart rate go up if your glucose level rises?

I have not heard any relationships between short term blood glucose and short term heart rate.

2. Will vagus nerve damage cause heart rate changes?

It can.  Typically damage to the vagus nerve my decrease parasympathetic tone and allow increases in heart rate.

3. Can the stress on stomach nerves/muscles cause heart to work faster?

After a meal, there is a period of increased metabolic demand in the stomach and intestines to digest food.  It shouldn't raise your heart rate very much, but may allow subtle changes.

I am not sure if this answer your questions.  These questions may be better suited for someone that does research in these areas.  

Good luck and thanks for posting.


20 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same problem. Fast heart rate after meals.  Sometimes as high as 120beats per minute. (Now that I am pregnant, its a little worse, though the doctor blames that on high levels of estrogen.)
I was checked out by a cardiologist, found the sinus Tachy after meals but said other than that my heart was fine.  I have never been to an gastro doctor before though.
I take a beta blocker for the tachy.  Seems to help a little.  If you find out some miracle cure for this problem please keep it posted!
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Avatar_n_tn
For what it's worth --

It isn't a daily occurance, but I can usually attribute it to having a couple bad nights of sleep in a row, then after lunch my HR seems to spike a bit and then settles down after a few hours.  Nothing outrageous, but it does go up; sometimes would hit 120 for a bit, then settle down, but that was pre-beta blocker (given for high BP) when my resting HR was 90.  Now my resting HR is 64-72, and so the 'spike' is up to 90.  Like I said, it seems to be attributed to a bad couple days of sleep in a row, and happens after lunch.
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Avatar_n_tn
I've asked my doctors repeatedly if the vagus nerve would have something to do with my PVCs. Here's another sad story for the collection. If ANYONE can help me, PLEASE email me. This is consuming my life. ***@****

After a horrible sinus infection, I was prescribed Levaquin. When I began taking it, I noticed immediately that my throat closed up, I had paranoid delusions and severe anxiety attacks. These went away, but what stayed was a tight feeling in my chest and PVCs. I went to the doctor, EKG was fine, chest X-Ray fine. He sent me to a cardiologist just to be sure. Stress test was fine, monitor (30 days) fine, two resting ECGs fine. Had a severe case of fast-beating heart and PVCs and rushed to the ER. Once again, resting ECG fine, bloodwork fine, thyroid fine.

To make a long story short, the cardiologist basically kicks me out of his office when I see him now. My regular doctor has also ordered an upper GI and chest XRay which again turned out fine. No one can even start to explain this, but it's more than just anxiety (although I think anxiety worsens it).

I'm left with this forum, and a possible problem with the vagus nerve, or a continuing reaction/damage from the Levaquin. I notice the PVCs most right after I eat and get a full feeling in my chest. I also take my pulse and can feel the skipped beats. If nothing is wrong, then why am I having these things?! Any help would be eternally appreciated...I feel as if no one believes me.
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Avatar_n_tn
I think it is a good idea that your doctor is ordering an upper GI scope. This could have something to do with your symptoms. My cardiologist has sent me to a GI for that since everything he has done show that basically everything is fine but I still have chest pains. I do have coronary artery spasms which I take medicine to help and I suffer from premature heart beats and occasional tachycardia but as they say it is not life-threatening.

I do notice and have read where others at another site talk about the pac/pvc's can get kick up after eating especially after a big meal. Also mine might start if I get too hungry. I have also noticed and read about where others sometimes notice them start up with a change in position such as bending over or twisting.

So it is not unusual. Hopefully this will make you feel a bit better. Hang in there!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello dmil241,
I read in another thread that you tried biofeedback and that it was effective with your PVCs. Could you share more about it? I'm very, very interested. I suffer from sinus tachy and PVCs and while I don't think they're caused by anxiety I'm sure that controlling my HR would help a great deal.

Any feedback (LOL) would be appreciated!! Thanks a lot.

Fran
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Avatar_n_tn
The hardest part was finding someone who was trained in this.I asked my doctor who thought it was a good idea but was clueless where to send me. So I just started calling around to psychologist offices and asking if they did biofeedback with pateints or knew someone who did.

That person will hook you up to some machinery that monitors blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension, etc. to get a baseline and then put you under some mental performance pressure to get an idea of the changes you have when mildly stressed.

The next step is to start the training. You get hooked up to the machinery and a monitor that puts out static noise in set to turn off when you can get the monitors to a certain spot and maintain it for a length of time. Then you try to relax your body and turn off the monitor. As you accomplish a certain level, it gets lowered more and more to allow you to gain more and more control over your body-heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, breathing rate.

At home between session, I practiced relaxation techniques to become more and more comfortable with the process because of course in the real world you aren't hooked up to the machinery to tell you if your doing a good job.:)

The part that causes me problems is continuing the process at home. You start feeling better and more in control of situations. Then you get busy with life and stop the process. That is when the problems start all over again. I have a problem maintaining BUT IT'S WORTH DOING!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you, that's so interesting!!! Did it reduce PVCs for you? Do you think the arrhythmia has to be caused by anxiety for biofeedbak to work? I'm not sure what the cause of my Tachy and PVCs is. I'm seeing my cardiologist next Friday and I'll definitely ask him what he thinks about this.

Thanks again!

Fran
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Avatar_n_tn
When I learned biofeedback, I was having episodes of Tachy that my cardiologist thought was PSVT. However we were never able to capture it on a holter or monitor. Evidently my heart knows when it is hooked up and decides to behave. :)HA HA  Anyway these episodes would last 2-6hours in length and I was too chicken to go to the ER thinking it would stop before I could get there and I would look stupid.(Today i would just go to the ER and have it checked out. I've gotten wiser in this area.) Evidently what was going on was that I would go Tachy which would produce anxiety that would then keep the episode going. I still occasionally go Tachy but only for 1-20minutes now because I do not panic and I can use biofeedback to calm down usually. I don't really know if it does anything for the pac/pvc's I have. ???? I think that when I panic I can make an episode get worse but I don't think that I can stop a bad day with biofeedback. I can only use it to keep things from getting worse, I think. Does that make sense???
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes it makes lots of sense, and it sounds great! Since I find that usually my PVCs are associated with tachy, if I could control my HR I think PVCs would also decrease. That's why I think BBs usually work for me.

Thanks so much and take care

Fran
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Avatar_n_tn
Dmil thanks so much for the info. Again, the upper GI came back negative, but I'm still thinking it's something digestive. From what I've read here and the fact that I've been keeping track of the palpitations I've learned a few things:

1) The palps/pvcs are definitely affected by eating. The heavier the meal, the worse the PVCs.

2) They seem to be most prevalent about an hour after the meal, when digestion begins.

So I guess the next step is to see if there's anything that can be done to reduce sensitivity? I also seem to have heartburn a LOT even though the upper GI came back normal. I'm wondering if I should try a PPI.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,  I am so sorry to hear about this.  I have had a very complicated heart history and found some help in an unusual and seemingly unrelated medical field.  After seeking answers through cardiology and coming up empty handed because the tests showed normal results yet I felt terrible and remained symptomatic, I found help at the allergist.  I learned that foods which I was allergic or sensitive to caused a fast heart rate.  For me, coconut oil, coconut milk and whole coconut affects me this way.  The allergist tested for coconut because it is a common oil found in many foods.  One major use is for popcorn, also anything that has glycerin (a sweetner) may be coconut based.  When I started reading labels on food items and started avoiding coconut products, my fast heart beats normalized.  It may not be the answer for you, but it sure helped me.  By the way, I went to see an environmental allergist who looked at everything.  

Here's a very good website concerning Levaquin.  You may find some answers here:
http://www.medicationsense.com/articles/july_sept_03/reactions_cipro_other.html

I hope you find some answers.  Don't give up.  Keep looking.  Maybe try a new dr. if you feel your old one isn't listening.
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Avatar_n_tn
I find that when my heart rate goes up to 200 bpm, two things have always been present: the episode occurs one week prior to my menstrual cycle, and I bend over (to pick something up off the floor, or to unlock a car door, etc).
This has happened for the past 13 years, maybe twice per year.  The pain radiates up into my jaw.  Usually laying down has caused the heart rate to immediatly normalize, however this has not helped during the last two episodes.
The last time, an EMT had to apply 10-20 lbs of pressure to my torso (between my navel and ribcage). This immediatly normalized my heart rate.  My M.D. said this stimulated the vagus nerve, which in turn caused the pacemaker portion of the vagus nerve to make the tachycardia normalize to mu usual 82 bpm.  He also thinks I have PSVT, but we'll see what the electrophysiologist says tomorrow.
Have any of our female readers tied their tachycardia into their cycle and/or bending over?
Thank you.
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Avatar_f_tn
I find your post to be very interesting.  For the past 14 months I have had many issues starting wtih tachycardia.  I had many tests and heart problems were ruled out.  Most recently, I was diagnosed wtih Gastroparesis, thus the vagal nerve question I posted above.  Now, I notice that not only does my hear rate go up after I eat, but sometimes I can see and feel the pulse in my stomach beating hard and fast.  I have had abdominal ultrasound and therefore pretty much rule out an abdominal aneurysm.  I see my gastroenterologist this afternoon.  He wants to investigate possible reason for the Gastroparesis.  I will keep you all posted.
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I am just proud to see there are others like me! I was diagnosed with PSVT many years ago. My heart rate goes up to 240bpm. I was also diagnosed with spastic colon also. These 2 seem to go hand and hand for me. As I eat food too high in fat or ones that I am allergic to then my colon bloats up, pressing on the vagus nerve and my heart rate gets out of control. I am on beta blockers but it still breaks through from time to time. I spend alot of time in bed due to the fact that if I move around alot or bend then my heart skips and will get out of control. I was prescribed lorazepam for anxiety but discovered that it relaxed my stomach and my colon muscles thus reliving some of the pressure off the vagus nerve. Plus it helps with the anxiety of when your heart does go up a little, my case alot. I would love to know how to fix this. I too am going for food allergy testing this week. I know if I can control the spastic colon then I control my heart. I have done it in the past. I was free of spastic colon and heart episodes for over a year by controling diet and exercising. i fell off the wagon and had a lot of stress. It has come back 7 fold.I have learned not to eat much and am getting pretty thin. If you go to a heart specialists they want to zap your heart and that just won't work for this. Any other suggestions out there?

Dawnette
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow. When I was really struggling the hardest with AVNRT (a type of PSVT, as you all probably know), I asked doctors repeatedly why it seemed that my symptoms were related to a) my menstrual cycles and b) stomach upset/indigestion/GERD/etc. Both times the docs seemed to think there wasn't a connection. But it certainly seems from this thread that anecdoctal evidence is very strong for both connections!

Anyway, I had RFCA (radio frequency catheter ablation) last Wednesday, March 22. Although it seems surreal and hard to believe, the surgeon feels that it was 100% successful, and that I am "fixed." This positive outcome comes from both luck and from being very assertive with my doctors to pursue this til we found the answer.

I was diagnosed at 13 as "hypoglycemic" when the episodes started (250+ bpm, BP 85/40, extreme chest/throat/neck pain, etc). It wasn't until the episodes increased in duration, intensity and frequency a few years ago that an ER doc told me that there was no way it was hypoglycemia, and he referred me to a cardiologist. We tried EKG, Holter monitor, event monitor, and could never catch the arrythmia. Finally, we decided to take the more aggresive (aggressive) approach to implant a Reveal device, an implantable loop recorder (ILR) which goes under the skin above your heart. After only two months with it (and it isn't fun, but it isn't too bad), I had a bad episode. Between the ILR and the hospital EKG (it was the first time I'd ever been converted with Adenocard - awful!), they got the info they needed. Another month to get into the hot shot EP doc's office for consultation, one more month to the actual procedure (8 days ago) - and it is "over."

I swear I don't work for anyone who benefits from pushing catheter ablations. :) I just had a great experience, and hopefully that will hold true. I think the mental recovery will be much harder than the physical - once PSVT has been such a big part of your life for so many years, it will take time to trust that it is truly gone. But anyone, I really want to help people who will be undergoing this procedure, answer questions, etc, so I am happy to help if I can. I am 26, and now I face a life unlimited by PSVT, and without meds.

All the best!
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I agree that ablation helps alot of ppl. Most ppl are diagnosed with these heart problems when they are young. It's something that has always been there and manifests in their teens. For me it didn't come along until I was 30 and diagnosed with Chronic  Fatigue Syndrome.
Has anyone tried acupuncture?, to control the vagus nerve?

Dawnette
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Avatar_f_tn
My Gastroenterologist thinks that I may have Sphyncter of Oddi Dysfuntion.  I tend to doubt it very much.  I think that my problems are totally due to the Gatroparesis and Graves Disease.  He feels that the Gastroparesis is caused "by something."  Right now, I try to deal with the stomach problem and the heart rate problem as it occurs.  I'm just tired of dealing with so many doctors and tests.
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Avatar_n_tn
My 24 year old son has been told he has an irregular heartbeat and that it is to do with him Vagus nerve.  He is a tall thin healthy living young man and exercises regularly.  He recently suffered a shock when his friend comitted suicide. The doctor is putting him on a heart monitor and suggesting medication.  I had another son who died at birth of a heart defect and my sister was born with a hole in her heart which remedied itself my mother had a heart attack and my husband my son's father has hypertention.  What prognosis do you think my son has.  What kind of medication would help and would this be lifelong medication.  Is there any nutritional supplements that would help. I am a very worried mother who would be grateful for any advice that would help my son.  Thank you, Theorising
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Hello, I am new to this so please bear with me. I am a 41yr old female and I have been through 6 major surgeries within 5 years, and 4 were within this past year. I know, way more than any one should endure. I will try to give brief information on why I needed the last 4 surgeries only. Emergency Gall Bladder surgery 2003, and then this past year 2005 I needed to have emergency spinal surgery with instrumentation in order to reverse the paralysis it caused. I was diagnosed with Degenerated disc disease. It brought back some feeling but ended up in emergency surgery agian. I am fused at the L4-L5. I am walking with some disability. After lengthy stays at the hospital and rehab I was able to go home with knowing I have a 2yr recovery. Then, I started having problems with breathing and numbness down my arms. I also felt heart palpitations and a heavy feeling in my chest that ended up resulting in another emergency surgery 5/2005 in the cervical neck area. Had to have it fused with instumentation. I remember the surgeon saying it was affecting the Vegus nerve? I am still recovering from all this and it has been difficult at times. Then 4/2006 had hernia surgery that was more involved than they thought. Some complications. I had some anesthesia complications with every surgery but the cervical one caused me to stop breathing as I was transported to my hospital room. I needed to explain this all in order to see where I am comming from. I just had hernia surgery that was very complicated. Did fine.
I have had a very fast heart beat since along with blood pressure issues. It usually is 140/100 and heart rate is anywhere at 100-120. My blood pressure bounces around alot and has gone up to 158/105. Along with this I get palpitations,fluttering, jumping feeling that goes into my throat,fatigue,shortness of breath,dizziness,feeling of passing out,numbness feeling in the face but mostly the jaw,sweating severly,digestive issues that are traumatizing at times. Now all these come and go and not always at the same time? I am being sent for a Echocardiogram? The doctor thinks that I may not be getting enough blood into my heart? I was reading what all of you are going through and the stuff about the Vegus nerve reminded me of what it can cause if aggravated or damaged. Since I have had so many spinal surgeries that were a result of damage in the spinal cord I was wondering if everything I am going through is a result of the Vegus Nerve? I just don't want to be misdiagnosed for a heart issue when it all could be from that nerve? The regular physisian believes that my heart could be having trouble due to all the surgeries and anesthesia, but I can't help but wonder if it is from something totally different. I was reading some of what all you were talking about and was reminded that the Vegus nerve does affect the digestive system,heart,other organs etc. Has anyone else had all these things happening? I have tried to ignore the symtoms (symptoms) but now they are more pronounced. I don't think I could go through one more thing. Well, sorry for the long comment if anything it felt good to vent! lol. Thanks agian for reading.
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