Hi, I'm an 18 year-old female, suffering from terrible anxiety any help you could give would be greatly appreciated! I know it seems long but please take the time to read if you can.
Basically I was diagnosed with SVT in 2009 at the age of 14, though I had been suffering with it all my life. I would have an episode about once every three months were my heart would reach between 200 - 270 bpm, I was told that otherwise I had a structurally normal heart, ECG was fine, blood test were also fine. I was told that anytime I had an episode if it did not calm down on its own after about 10 mins, I could come in to hospital. More than half of the episodes involved this.
Although it was not life-threatening in 2011, aged 16 ,I decided to undergo an ablation whilst I was still considered a child (doctors/nurses were a lot more understanding). They found the extra-pathway causing the SVT and successfully ablated it. According to the doctor, the procedure was very simple, he quickly located the only pathway and it was over within about 40 minutes. I have not had an episode of SVT since :)
The thing is I have suffered from terrible panic for a while now. As I was not diagnosed with SVT for a long time, I am sceptical of the what the doctors tell me. To me it seems like they fobbed a child off with stress until an episode was actually caught on an ECG.
My problem is I still experience things which may relate to my heart, though I have had blood-tests ect since and have been told it must be anxiety. The reason I am slightly sceptical of this is because although my anxiety worsens at times it is pretty constant, I worry about my heart most of time.
What I experience:
* A very strange vibrating sensation from my stomach to my chest. It has been pretty constant for the past few months. It seems to come and go every few weeks. I am pretty sure my pulse feels normal, though it is almost as though there is something vibrating behind it. I can also feel this in my throat. I considered that it may be a heart murmur, however as I have had ECGs and even an ablation in the past, I am pretty sure it would have been noticed. Can anybody tell me what this is?
* I experience atypical chest pain. I do not experience the typical heart-releated pressure type pain in my chest. I more often get strange stabbing pains around my heart for no apparent reason, it can happen when active or at rest. This is often accompanied by belching and sometimes a pain in my left arm. When it is accompanied by left arm pain I get particularly worried that it is heart related.
* I also experience ectopic beats. I get these between 1 - 3 times a day. I usually happens when I move in a certain way eg turning head, bending over, lying down or exercising. I am now scared to do these things :( I know this is not particularly frequent but it occurs often enough to scare me. Also they can make me feel a little faint. I can have a run of about 3 or 4, though this is rarer and often happens when I am excited. What is particularly scary for me is that before I had an SVT it used to all start with a 'missed beat.' Thankfully I have not had one since.
I do a regular amount of exercise. I live about a mile from school and walk to and from most days and walk at the weekends. I am currently filling out self-help forms, targeted towards anxiety, though if these symptoms are indicative of a heart problem I feel like I am wasting my time. The doctors don't want to listen to me anymore and my parents are convinced everything is caused by my anxiety.
Does anybody else experience any of these symptoms? Could they be related to my heart or merely anxiety? I would be only too willing to give extra details or talk to anybody who can help, or justs wants a chat. Thanks so much for your advice and thanks for reading, I am so glad to be able to talk about this so openly. :)
What country do you live in. I have never heard of weight described in stones. Anyway everything you are feeling I have felt. You are having heart related symptoms but your anxiety is likely making the situation worse. I had svt like yourself my whole life. I actually made it all the way until my 40s before I got it fixed. I also felt all sorts of odd things with it but did not realize that there were different things going on. All the things you are feeling now are related to your ectopic beats, very possibly both pacs and pvcs. My pvcs will sometimes feel like someone is poking me in the chest as well I sometimes get generalized chest pain or pain under my left arm pit. None of it lasts more than 10 or so minutes before it subsides. You are correct it was your ectopic beats that were throwing you into your tachycardia but if you haven't fallen into it in 2 years odds are good that they did correct the issue. You are rather young so you do have a higher chance of it coming back but odds are it won't. The thing is you likely won't ever fully get rid of your ectopic beats but you can do things to lessen the amount you are getting. Watch what you eat trying to avoid caffeine and carbohydrates like bread past and candy. As well as really do your best to get a handle on stress and anxiety. So continue to pursue the self help angle for anxiety because though the issue is arising from the heart your anxiety is likely contributing to it happening. It may not be the only factor but it is a big factor to conquer. Get past that and your svt and ectopics may very well become a distant memory for you. Stay strong and we are here if you have any more questions.
Many, many of us on this forum have exactly the same problems you do with our fear of the sensations of ectopic beats and odd twinges. It is partly the result of an unfortunate throw of the genetic dice that makes us extremely sensitive to the ordinary 'noise' our bodies make, even when we have been repeatedly reassured that we are healthy.
Judging from what I read here, I'd say the majority of us who are so afflicted handle it in one of about four ways:
1. Do nothing and remain terrified for decades, being startled out of our skins every time we have PVCs, hoping and praying that they will be gone tomorrow. This seem to me a sad waste of years.
2. Attempt to 'will' ourselves out of it ('Pull up your socks, for heaven's sake!").
3. Due to a fear of medications, take some magic potion or tea or supplement in the hope that will cause the problem to go away.
4. We can choose to treat the real problem, which is fear. You mention it specifically yourself:
"...have been told it must be anxiety. The reason I am slightly sceptical of this is because although my anxiety worsens at times it is pretty constant, I worry about my heart most of time."
You are describing what is called a 'cardiac neurosis', an irrational fixation on your cardiac sensations. It is a psychological disorder, and a good psychiatrist will be able to help you put that behind you, using certain mental exercises and almost certainly some specific medications. My own experience with this has taught me that within a week to a month, you will probably no longer be able to hear or feel your heart's hinky behavior--and you will be able to have fun again and enjoy the true pleasures of living your life fully once more.
I have SVT and because of the location, it cannot be ablated. I've had it all my life and am 57.
I experience most of the symptoms you are experiencing and I found out what was causing it. GERD (acid reflux) irritates my vagal nerve (runs near the heart) and causes PVCs, flutters, feelings in my throat, chest and stomach. It has been confirmed by a EP Cardiologist and a Gastro doctor, plus I've had second opinions. I take an acid blocker (PPI called Aciphex, Gaviscon after meals, and a beta blocker called Sectral which is FDA approved for PVCs.)
I was very thin all my life and sometimes when one is thin, her blood volume is low, which can cause more PVCs and you feel them more.
I have also had panic attacks and anxiety. I take Xanax for that.
I am a CPA and College Professor but I feel as though I should be a medical doctor because I am the one who discovered what was going on.
I would recommend you have an echocardiogram, complete bloodwork, and see if acid reflux might be contributing to your symptoms. I can so empathize with you. Take whatever accommodations the school offers. I have ADA letters so I am able to teach 100% online from home.
I've had PVCs since I was 30 - now 59. They come and go. Lots of stressful stuff happened last week and I went from 4 or 5 PVCs a day to 60+... Yeah, I count. I call them "little flickers of death". For an instant it feels like it's curtains. Anyway went to the doc for Atenolol yesterday - took half a 25 mg and now I'm back to feeling 4 or 5 a day.
I usually find that if I take meds for a month or so, then ween myself off slowly the PVCs go back to my usual number, 4-6 per day. I can live with that, but even then the panic is automatic.
Regarding your "vibrations". A couple of years ago I had the same thing when falling asleep and awakening. Almost like a tuning fork in my chest and throat. At that time I was taking 50mg of Atenolol a day and getting light headed often, as well.
After I stopped the beta blocker the vibrating, tuning fork thing ended. Perhaps you're on beta blockers or a similar med???
I also get weird chest pains - like yours. When all this began for me, 25+ years ago, I remember the doc ( one of the top cardios in So.Cal) saying to me, "If you can point to the pain and cover the area with business card, the chances are it's not serious."
I also notice that my PVCs are worse in winter. Maybe because I don't exercise as much or perhaps less sunshine, depression, stress etc..
PVCs can really effect some people - like me and you. Others hardly notice them.
" "If you can point to the pain and cover the area with business card, the chances are it's not serious."
Wonderful advice! Many of the people who post with heart concerns have no idea how very, very serious and disabling the pain of real heart disorders can be.
I try to remember that if I can physically do all the things an ordinary life requires--running after kids, going up and down stairs, carrying groceries--my heart is fine (just as my doc says it is), no matter how nutso I perceive the strange beats and weird sensations that seem to be coming from my chest.
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