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arrhythmia caused by ice cream consumption
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arrhythmia caused by ice cream consumption


  I am a very healthy 41 year-old tennis teacher and competitive runner who has had several bizarre cases of arrhythmia. These cases have occurred after eating ice cream. It has now happened maybe three times over the last 12 months. During or immediately following the consumption of the ice cream, my heart beat goes into an erratic, increased rate. Each time this has occurred it has lasted for 12-15 hours and then my heart rate goes back to normal. During each episode I feel occasionally out of breath and slightly uncomfortable due to the irregular heart rate. Upon returning to normal, I feel fine as if nothing happened. Any insights would be much appreciated. I have not yet taken this to my regular doctor but am now thinking I should. Thank you in advance for any advice or input you may have on this strange but scary occurrence.
  Bob Reed
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Dear Bob,
I very much agree that you need to go to your doctor's office.  You will more than likely be given an event
monitor or holter monitor to try and capture the arrythmia on paper so that it can be investigated.  There are a
number of arrythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) that could be present in your case.  I am not suprised that it occurrs
after a stimulus, especially a cold one ( it is the coldness of the ice cream that is likely the stimulant), of course
if it does not happen every time that you eat ice-cream that is just proof that it is multifactorial in origin.  One thing you might
consider trying if the fast rhythm occurs again is to massage your neck where you feel the pulse of the artery on either side for about
5 seconds with moderate pressure, or simply bear down like you are having a bowl movement for a few seconds; these are called vagal manuevers
and they tend to increase the vagal tone in your heart to counteract the increased sympathetic tone present with the arrythmia.  They sometimes work well to break the arrythmia.
Of course if you ever feel dizziness or shortness of breath, regardless of their going away, you should seek immediate medical attention as there
certainly is no guarentee that the arrythmia is not life-threatening.  Good Luck.
Information provided in the heart forum is intended for general medical informational purposes only, actual diagnosis and treatment can only be made by your physician(s).





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