Since Oct, 24, I have had a sudden onset of irregular heartbeats that occur while walking. (Walking to the car after work, walking up the steps, walking for exercises.) The beats may either be a single beat or multiple beats within a few seconds. Both are accompanied by light headedness. I have not experienced shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting. I've also had intermittent chest pains for the last several months, though not during the irregular beat episodes. The irregular beats are what finally drove me to make a doctor's appointment, which was Oct. 29.
I must add that when I told my doctor why I was there -- the irregular beats -- explaining that I realized I put off making an appointment because of not "wanting to go through the whole process", he laughed out loud, doubling over at the waist. I've never seen anything like it in my life. (My "not wanting to go through the whole process" was my way of saying I didn't want to endure his condescending bedside manner. Yes, I know it's way past time to change doctors. I've only stayed with him because he is otherwise a competent doctor in what is a rural county.)
On Oct. 29, he admitted me to the hospital for overnight observation. I had a CT heart scan, a chest x-ray, a nuclear stress test, and blood enzyme tests. All results were normal. While I was on the treadmill for the nuclear test, no irregular beats occurred, which in hindsight is frustrating since I had them the three days before the test and have had them since. (In 2007 I had a stress echo test at the same hospital and it was assessed as abnormal. I was sent for consultation to St. Vincent’s in Indianapolis. There I was told that the results were nothing to be concerned about.)
I had irregular beats the weekend after my hospital stay – Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 -- and called the doctor's office on Monday. I am scheduled to see a cardiologist on Nov. 12 and be fitted with an event monitor on Nov. 19.
Today while attending a conference, I had a number of irregular beats, some single and others in clusters. The beats came about while simply walking in the conference hallway and the worst was at day's end when I was walking to my car parked about 150 feet from the building.
On the one hand, waiting to see a cardiologist on Nov.12 seems like a long wait. I have reduced my activity level for fear of inducing the irregular beats. (I'm no Olympian but I do take walks with my husband a few times a week. Walking to my car after work is now something I’d like to avoid.)
I want a doctor to listen to me instead of look for loopholes in my story, which is what I have experienced. What course of action do I need to take at this point and what should the cardiologist address on Nov. 12?
With a new doctor, maybe any doctor, the first goal is to be "normal" and try to ask all the questions you have wondered about - I write mine down on a piece of paper (old fashioned I guess) to be sure I don't forget any. I also try to listen to what the doctor says: listen to understand not to respond or argue. Of course, ask for clarification if you don't understand.
Irregular heart beats are usually benign, from what I know/read. The "trick" it for the doctor to "catch" one or more and that's what the monitor is for. This should lead to a diagnosis, of some specific or set of specific heart anomalies. That done, a plan to address the most troublesome symptoms can be undertaken.
From what you describe it sounds like you are having a premature beats, either ventricle or atrial, or both. Some people get relief from low dose beta blockers, some who have disruptive symptoms go to stronger measures.
Let us know what you learn, so we can all gain in knowledge.
I understand completely how you feel. Seeing a cardiologist is the right thing to do. I, too, have skipped beats or fluttering. My cardiologist did a complete work up and decided to put me on a monitor for two weeks to catch the "skipped beats." I am awaiting my results, as I finished with the monitor on Monday. I undestand the whole process is very frightening. I think your seeing a cardiologist who understand the "heart" will get to the bottom of your problem Good Luck and keep us posted.
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