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irregular heartbeat in 17 year old son
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irregular heartbeat in 17 year old son

Hi  I have cardiac neurosis since I was 16.  I am now 42.  I suffered from palpitations and PVCS all my life.  Unfortunately I also worry about my two son's and have taken there pulses sporadically for years just to make sure they are fine.  I have discovered in my 17 year old that when he is sleeping and I have checked him, that he has an irregular heart beat(but never felt it when he is awake)It beats like this..beat.beat.beat..pause..beat..pause..beat..beat..pause.beat and this really scared me...anyways I asked him if he ever feels his heart skipping or fluttering and he said no he never does...Doctor..he is totally asymptomatic..He never complains about his heart or any symptoms.. no dizziness..fainting..SOB..nothing ever...his heart rate though at times when he is busy with school or just going on a date can sometimes go as high as 120 but again with no symptoms...once he is back to normal.. heart rate comes down...  took him to our family doc for a check up but I stressed to her that I wanted her to check his heart.. She listened to it for like 10 minutes and then he asked her..whats wrong with me.. she said nothing..just checking..he seemed concerned...anyways later she told me to stop checking him and that his heart was just fine..no clicks or mumurs and regular beating at a rate of 84..I have since felt his irregular rhythym at times and she told me they were most likely  benign pacs or pvc and just let him be.. he is asymptomatic and dont get him worried. He at times works out on the Boflex and has no problems at all. Is feasible to stop checking and let him be?
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239757_tn?1213813182
annako,

It is within the normal spectrum to have heart rate variablity in a health young person.  If his exam was ok by your physician, I probably wouldnt pursue much more.

I would be very careful in transferring your cardiac worries to those of your son. In fact, the level of your worry is somewhat concerning and I would look into ways of dealing with your worries that are healthier. Teenagers can give you enough headaches without adding unneccessary reasons to that list.

good luck
22 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry just to add I forgot to say that his heart does not beat irregularly every single time I check it.  I have felt his heart beat just perfectly while sleeping.  Just once in a blue moon do I feel this irregular rhythym.  THank you again.
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84483_tn?1289941537

Oh my, I can totally understand your concern about your son. I'm a 41 year old male, have 2 sons myself one 17 , the other 20. With me being a tachycardia and pvc sufferer all my life, I found myself doing the same thing checking their pulse.

I found the older one to have an occasional "skip" and the other 17 to have a fairly high resting heartrate when not sleeping and also with exercise. I have never had them checked by cardio just a GP, they are not heart aware like me. I have never checked them in over year, I decided with no family history what I was doing was unhealthy not only for me but for them, I could have turned them into the "cardiac neurotic" that I have just now began to recover from being, while I can sympathize with how you and your concerns, your son is probably very healthy and will be just fine. Be careful you don't turn him into a "cardiac neurotic" that's a lot worse than a few benign pvcs, especially if he's completely asymptomatic with them. Best wishes to you and your son.
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Avatar_f_tn
In highschool gym he would have to run laps and he never fainted or felt like fainting.  He complained of being winded but so were all the other kids.  However he always caught his breath.  Once during class he excused himself to go to the washroom but left the school and ran like heck for about 7 long blocks..back and forth to get a coffee and when I questioned how he felt he said fine..he went back to his class and enjoyed his coffee..lol..He isnt an active boy he is more artistic and does computer programming..but he has snowboarded in the past and has participated in gym.  what do you think about this?
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Avatar_n_tn
Your checking him is disturbing, esp in his sleep. You risk giving him the same neurosis-if you haven't already. At a minimum you may erode any normal relationship you have with your son.

You may want to consider seeing a psych.

You may not be far from Van Munchausens by Proxy.

Give it a rest
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Avatar_n_tn
Rather a large leap from concerned parent to Munchausen's by proxy!  Recently i noticed my daughter had a skip in her rythym when I was checking her pulse whilst she had a fever (she is 4)- naturally I took her to the doc to be checked. My son (aged 9) had a similar episode that he notified me of and although he was unworried I took him to the hostpital to be seen that night.  I occaisionally check their pulses in a discreet way, in my view it is part of parenting- if you are aware of potential problems you make steps to keep an eye on it.  Similarly I check their hair for lice and ears for potatoes!  I do agree that if a parent shows anxiety in front of child regarding the heart beat, the child can become alarmed.  (Both children are fine and the docs on each occasion told me to keep an eye on them and bring them back if I was concerned). Both my elder children who are in their 20's have the occasional heart wobble in the last couple of years or so, neither has been checked (their decision) as they are not concerned about it having lived with a palpitating mother who has not dropped dead yet after 20 years of flutters and bumps!
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Avatar_n_tn
Paule,

Wow, why are earth would you say something so mean spirited?  Telling this mother she is one step from Munchausen By Proxy?  That's just wrong.  You really should apologize for that comment in my opinion.  Be careful about what you say...are you a doctor of pyschology?  I am really digusted by your comment.  Munchausen By Proxy is a horrible, horrible thing that caregivers do to their patients or children to make them sick.  You are out of line by writing that to this concerned mom.  Shame on you.  I have checked my little girl's heart beat at times out of curiousity and concern myself.  I suffer with pac's and pvc's not to mention some form of tachycardia.  Am I over-obsessing?  Absolutley not.  Am I concerned about my girls, sometimes yes.  Really, please censor your comments a little bit.  

Hi Annako,

I understand your concern.  Just last night I said to my husband that I hope my girls don't get the crazy tachycardia and palpitations I have.  Great news that they're fine though.  I would take your doctor's advice too and try to stop checking.  The heart is not going to beat perfectly 24/7, something I've experienced and learned from this forum (:  Best wishes to you and your family!

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21064_tn?1309312333
I have a bit of a different take on this topic...

Having had pvcs for all of my adult life, I firmly believe they are not harmful in the setting of a structurally normal heart.  Having said, I am content knowing that my 3 kids do not dwell on their own heart "blips."  After having been with a mom with chronic pvcs, and knowing that I'm fine, they have a positive outlook on the quirks of the heart's rhythm.

All 3 have experienced a blip or bleep, and though it catches their attention on occasion, they are not concerned.  The older two have had cardio workups (the first for MVP and a leaky valve, the second for an abnormal EKG during a physical). The older one is followed periodically, and the other has been cleared of any cardiac anomalies.  Maybe all my pvcs and such are actually a blessing to them afterall : )  They've seen first-hand that I'm alive and well : 0

I agree to suggest Munchausen's by proxy is inappropriate, at best.

Connie

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Avatar_f_tn
I have to stop myself from checking my husband and daughter's pulses.  In fact, when I was in therapy for health anxiety, that was one of the things I was forbidden to do.  My husband gets mad when I try to take his pulse and pushes my hand away.  He thinks I am being neurotic.  It is definitely not Munchausen's by Proxy but is a symptom of cardiac neurosis, as the original poster said.  I guess we fear the same things for our loved ones that we do for ourselves, which is natural!
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Avatar_f_tn
Your comment is very hurtful to me.  I am not AT ALL what you accuse.  Its not like I take his pulse 24/7 and run him to the doctors every five minutes waiting for them to find a problem with him!! It is the complete opposite.   I first noted his irregularity one year ago and he has been to the doctor just once.  My son's are both very well-behaved well-adjusted boys and I love them with all that I am.  I believe that checking your childrens pulse once in awhile is normal and should be done once in awhile and this is supported by my doctor.  Reason I was checking his pulse at night while sleeping was because he was feeling under the weather and I was concerned.  Its not like im some kind of weirdo that crawls into his room at nite and take his pulse.   Yes I do have cardiac anxiety  but I have been fine for the last 6 years and just live with my palps without help of docs..psychiatrist or meds and I am very proud of myself for that.   I just wanted the cardio docs opinion as to  whether just leaving it be and not investigating him further was feasible.  For you to judge my mental health is not appropriate and if anything shows that maybe you need to take a hard look at yourself and see if the person that looks back at you is one that shows some compassion and understanding to a situation that maybe you do not relate to.  This forum is to get help and feedback on so many different situations and I myself have read stories here that I cannot relate to but I would never judge or attack anyone for what they are feeling or worrying about.  Please in the future keep your remarks to yourself and dont start juding people based on a very short summary presented here!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Perhaps it would be better to wait for the CCF doc to speak on this.

The Munchausen comment was over the top, BTW.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,

Just ignore what Paule even said.  He was completely out of line and what he said would be hurtful to any mom.  I'm glad to hear your son is fine.  It's so easy to be concerned about your children when you love them so much.  From reading your post I can tell you care about your sons very much.  Don't let one person tell you differently.  (Like I said before, I've checked all my girls' heart beats since I suffer from palpitations and tachycardia myself.)  I certainly do not think it's strange to check.  I'm so sorry that comment he said hurt you.  It's like anacyde said, his opinion is just that, his opinion.  Take care and best wishes (:
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21064_tn?1309312333
Ditto on others'comments....Your concerns over your children are normal and understandle.  We've all had anxieties over our childrens' health and well being.

Hopefully, the doctor will offer his/her medical opinion and you can be rest assured that your youngin's are just fine...

Hang in there "mom!"

connie
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Avatar_n_tn
One thing to keep in mind: When a child is sleeping, his heart rate often will increase and decrease markedly with his inspirations and expirations. This is a normal sinus arhythmia. Because it is normal to breath more slowly and deeply during certain stages of sleep, the child's pulse may seem quite irregular. Throw in a few benign PACs or PVCs and you could be feeling what seems like a serious arhythmia even though all is perfectly fine. I've had a very similar experience as you, but I was reassured to learn that afib, which often is described as presenting with a irregularly irregular pulse is extremely rare in children.  I understand the strong need/desire to do everything in your power to help your children be healthy both mentally and physically. Of course, that is what I want for my child too. I think most of us with anxiety issues are very aware of the risk of transferring our own anxieties to our children - and we do what we can to minimize that risk in order that our children not have to suffer to the extent we have. But also, in our own continuing recovery, we are better able to teach our children healthy coping strategies for dealing with the challenging emotions that everyone must face.

I'm a little concerned that some on this forum were too quick to dismiss the irregularity your son's pulse - just because it seems unusual that you would have felt his pulse while he was sleeping.  No matter how you happened to notice it, if you really think there is something wrong then you should follow up. I don't see how a doctor could tell one way or another about an occasional arhythmia issue just by listening for a few minutes with a stethescope. Wouldn't an event monitor be the better tool? I really don't know what you should do next. Odds are great that your son's heart is perfectly fine - but just because a mother has her own issues with anxiety doesn't mean all health concerns should be dismissed.
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Avatar_n_tn
I forgot to mention that a pediatric cardiologist told me that, in children, they don't worry so much about an irregular rhythm as they do about the heart rate. Just as an example, a very high heart rate (above 200 or so) could be a SVT and would need to be adressed (SVT is not all that uncommon in children).
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Avatar_m_tn
Here is a link you may find interesting and it may calm your fears:

http://www.macses.ucsf.edu/Research/Allostatic/notebook/heart.rate.html

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Avatar_n_tn
You need to get yourself under control now before you drive your son into having the same neurosis that you have. We all here have obsessed about our own hearts and health but I would never want to alarm my sons about there health. You have your son's doctor's blessing that he is fine. Leave it at that. Get help if you need it. It is very unhealthy for you to continue like this. I wish you the best of luck and I'm sure your son is fine.


Erik
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks so much for your responses.  I have read each one and it all has made me feel better.  I just want to make it clear though that I don't take my son's pulse continually and I do not want to give him a cardiac neurosis like I have suffered with.  This is why he has only been to the doctor just once since I discovered this and that was in May of 2005.  The struggle I have is with myself.  I keep worrying that his irregular rhythym might lead to a dangerous arrhythmyia and I wonder if he shouldnt be checked more thoroughly.  My reason for not pursuring this is because I DONT want to get him worried for nothing.  This has been a very private struggle with myself in regards to worrying about my son.  Besides checking his pulse very very infrequently, he has no idea what I worry about.  I know that I need help with this but I think all of us on here know how hard it is to just forget, even after talking with the docs.  We all have been in the place where we get some reassurance from a trusted doctor and we feel elated and then a few days later our minds start to wonder "but, what if" and then we are on here searching for answers to help us to stop worrying.  This being said I want to thank you all again for your responses, its nice to know there is such good support when you need it.  Take care all.
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97628_tn?1204465633
There is every possibility that your son is quite aware of your anxiety and if your way of dealing with your own neurosis is to  export it, it could definitely be a cause for concern ...
The length and tenor of the original post suggests that this is the case.
I hope everything works out well.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'll try posting again and see what happens.

Wow, I can't believe the response to my "suggestion" that the original poster is "one step away from VM by Proxy"  I still standby that statement and yes I'm in the healthcare field and have been for 20 years.  I've seen more and more intervention by parents AMA that expose patients to unnecessary testing and risk of injury. I also note the forum doc's response and say while he/she was kinder, the concern is still there.

When a child is in danger from a parents "anxieties" I will not temper or back track on my opinion.  Any good parent should read and re read the original post and see the detail and "cry" for help. See how subsequent posts try to down play the intital post with comments such as "very very infrequently"  I have a serious heart defect but can't remember ever even thinking about any of my 4 children and the possibility that they have my condition.  My ped's say their healthy, I don't give a second thought.

Too many on this board (should be tied to a anxiety disorder board) approach a visit with the doctor as expecting something to be wrong when in fact, doctors approach all patients as if nothing is wrong.  And even after ruling something out, some on this board insist that something was overlooked and undiagnosed. Why?  With health care dollars so scarce for many, why the unneccessary testing?  

I just ask anyone who doubts my initial assessment of a step away from VM by Proxy to just read the textbook definitions:

Muchausen syndrome: a condition characterized by habitual presentation for hospital treatment of an apparent acute illness, the patient giving a plausible and dramatic history, all of which is false.

Munchausen s. by proxy: a form of child abuse in which a parent fabricates medical disorders in a child (taking pulses?) and either obtains unnecessary medical treatments or (the version everyone see's in the papers or on TV) harms the child through extreme hygienic practicess or attempts to Treat the imagined disorders at home.

I suggest this poster is close to the first definition and through going through forums like this and possibly others, in a constant quest for another opinion (lay or otherwise) is not far from an attempt to treat the disorder from home by first creating the disorder.
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124876_tn?1189759433
It looks like you have too much time on your hands.  After 6 days of nobody posting anything..you come back, defensive as ever, just to justify your comments. Let it go..!  All people are saying is that your comments were insensitive. Take an etiquette class or at the very least, seak out help for your anger!
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Avatar_n_tn
hi

I am 18 yrs. old and have been suffering from heart palpitations for over 2 yrs. now, i have been to see doctors just to be told im fine. i'd really like some advise on how to deal with my heart failures, for i get get them 5-6 times a day (sometimes even getting them 5 times in a row without a break. when ever these palpitations occure i feel extremly dizzy, sick and have painful stabs in the chest and throughout the body. its starting to become more and more worse every day, for the past 6 months everytime i have had the palps they have gotten stonger and stronger to the point where i can actually see the palps through my chest. also what id REALLY like to no is if i am going to be expecting a heart attack or something soon and go seek medical att. now? or will they stop after a while?

please if you could email me with this answer (i dont get much time on the internet).

thank you!
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