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Palpitations/Flutter for 10 hours after fainting
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Palpitations/Flutter for 10 hours after fainting

Hello,  I am a 33 year old male, no-smoker, non-drinker and height/weight proportionate.  

My grandfather, father and aunt have a history of "irregular heart beat"...my 80 year old father has had 2 nuclear stress tests in his life (1978 and 1991) that revealed nothing serious.

Since childhood, on occasion I would feel my heart flutter.  It was never formally investigated, and I found that eliminating caffeine nearly eliminated the symptoms.

Shortly after passing my annual physical last week, I fainted during the following blood test (fainting in the clinic quite normal for me following needle sticks).  After fainting, my pulse was 110 and my BP was 104/59, and stayed that way for the 20 minutes the nurses insisted I lay in the chair.  After fainting, I could feel my heartbeat, and it felt fluttering or irregular.  I have felt the sensation before, and it usually quickly clears up on it's own.  The only thing I can think of that might have triggered it is the rapid heart rate that accompanies recovery from fainting as blood pressure is restored.  The nurse was concerned about my quick pulse and low BP.  She called the Doctor, who told her to have me walk around a bit, and if I didn't faint again that I was ok to go home as he had examined me a short time before.  I did mention the heart flutter to the nurse before I left.

When I got home, my BP was about the same and my pulse was 104.  The flutter/palpitation persisted for almost 10 hours and resolved itself sometime during the night. (fainted at 3pm....flutter was gone when I awoke at 3am). The next morning, my BP was 125/60 and pulse was 85 (much more normal for me). Is this symptom characteristic of something minor that people live with?  Or is it something potentially fatal that should require a full cardiac workup?  I'm nervous about the IV should my Doc want a nuclear stress test, and a cardiac condition, if serious enough, could swiftly end my professional career in the transportation industry.

Of course, I understand that asking a question in a forum is not a substitute for an in-person exam, but I value the reader's experience and professional opinions.

Thanks for your advice,

Derek
4 Comments Post a Comment
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995271_tn?1408549100
You probably had "vagally mediated syncope" or "vasovagal syncope".    Some folks respond to the site of blood or blood withdrawal this way.   Try googling the terms in the quotes for more info.

The vagal nerve can also mediate arrhythmia.  So, the two issues are probably related, I'm sure.

If you ever need a test with with IV and what-not, cross that bridge when you get to it.  It's completely manageable.  
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1124887_tn?1313758491
Yes, as Itdood said, you probably had a vasovagal syncope. Actually, fainting when seeing blood is NOT a disease or a disorder, it's one of the "useless" reflexes we still have from a million years ago. The point is, when you are bleeding heavily (after fighting a bear or something..) your body decreases the blood pressure (it would be a bad idea to have high blood pressure when bleeding, as it would cause you to bleed to death). Some people have this strong reflex, some people faint just by seeing something red, some people just by seeing blood, and some people faint after blood tests, etc. Other people don't.

From your heart rate and blood pressure, your blood vessels sounds a little dilated (common during/after this reaction) and your heart beats hard and fast to compensate, possibly/probably along with some nervousness.

I don't understand why you should need a nuclear stress test based on this, if you don't have other symptoms like chest pain during exercise. 33 y/o non-smoking men with normal blood pressure, no diabetes and no overweight almost never have coronary artery disease..
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for taking the time to reply.  I'm a veteran at fainting around injections, blood tests, etc.  No concern there, although it was much cuter when I was a little kid.  The concern was the irregular heartbeat felt for an extended duration after the faints.  Doc told me that he'll want an EKG at next year's physical, or sooner if the sensation returns.  Thanks again for your time to reply,

DN
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for taking the time to reply.  As I posted in reply to itdood, I'm a veteran at fainting around injections, blood tests, etc.  It's happened often since I was a little kid, usually in a clinical setting.  Family Doc said I'd probably outgrow it, although I never did.  Now I can do some things to help head it off.  (and got complacent at this latest blood test).

My major concern was the irregular heartbeat felt for an extended duration after the faints last week.  I'd never had it hang on like that before.  Doc replied that he'll want an EKG at next year's physical, or sooner if the sensation returns.  Thanks again for your time to reply,

DN
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