Sudden Heart Racing Attack/Sudden drop afterwards - Please help
I'd like to first thank anyone who can give me some clarity and thank you in advance. Because I'm scared out of my mind right now. I'm 23 year old male, normal shape and good weight. Good blood pressure.
I've had this issue before, and I usually get them 1-3 times a year, usually at night.
Well not this time, and this was possibly the worst one yet. Earlier yesterday at school I got it. I felt like I was going to die because of how my body was reacting. It starts with a tough time breathing. And not that I was struggling to suck in air, it was just like my throat or maybe the chest was constricted in some way, but didn't 'feel' like it if that makes sense. After a little while of the breathing problems, I suddenly get this odd feeling come across my body. Almost as if the blood had been drained out of me and it's just so difficult to describe what this feeling is. This feeling like the previous times, results to the next stage. And that is HUGE heart beat increase out of no where. This last maybe a 45 seconds to a minute and half( the max speed of it ) then it slows down big time, almost to point where I feel like it's going to stop since it's so slow. Then it goes back to a regular, but still elevated heart rate. I then feel very weak after it, I have some problems being able to speak as I feel so drained and my hands are shaking a bit ( I assume from the adrenaline being pumped as I am panicking of course. )
And that is usually it, I will recover, feel very odd like I just suffered a heart attack or something as my body has this feeling like I just recovered from some severe trauma ( which it basically it did ).
This time was quite worse as after the initial attack, and my heart rate slowed down, it started to raise again and I got the same weird feeling inside my gut almost as if it was going to give me the same attack twice. It luckily didn't. After that I started to recover, still feeling odd inside and my pulse still a little bit elevated. At home 45min later, feeling a tad better. My pulse is still a tad high, not much and I feel bit strange inside still, but I'm better. By now, I feel sore in my chest internally, almost as if it's bruised.
Is this just panic attacks or anxiety? Or are these signs of something else? I wen't in before ( many years ago ) about this issue and my heart checked out alright and I've had ekg monitor once years ago that showed nothing. Things could show different now, who knows. But does this sound like Anxiety/Panic attacks or is it something else?
I recently read about Supraventricular Tachycardia, and quite upset as this seems like it is what I'm having. I really hoped it wasn't serious, but these are so traumatic I can't possibly think it's something as simple as panic attacks.
Any help to ease my mind, I'd so greatly appreciate it.
I've got a GP scheduled in a few days but I just wanted to get some opinions or thoughts from anyone. Greatly need it.
It does sound as though you have some sort of heart rhythm issue be it a tachycardia, a heart block or something else. Most of the time issues that arise from the atria are not life threatening. If you are not passing out it is a good sign that the issue is atrial related so that is something to keep in mind though I can't say for certain what you have. I had avnrt all my life, it would start and stop on a beat usually caused by a pvc. It made it hard to breath and my heart beat felt very manic. My pulse would be elevated for quite some time afterwards. I lived with it until it started to disrupt my life in my 40s when I had an ablation to correct the issue. But even having the condition my whole life my heart is still working just fine so try to stay positive that whatever issue you have is merely something you need to either get fixed or managed. But I do think it important for you to get a heart monitor to catch what this is. I would push for a 30 day unless you get the episodes everyday because you won't know what you have until it is recorded. But the fact that your test results when you were fine looked good does indicate that in general your heart appears to be healthy so the key now is to pinpoint what this is, be it structural or anxiety attacks so you can begin to treat the issue. Good luck and do keep us posted on how you are doing.
it could be a heart rhythm issue but it also could be a panic attack. I have had panic attacks off and on for most of my life and sometimes the symptoms can be very dramatic, it took a lot of convincing to make me believe that was what was causing my symptoms. That said, it's too easy to write things off to panic attacks. You need to get checked out by a doctor and see what is going on. But your age, the fact you don't pass out when these episodes occur and when the tests were done they were all normal, is definitely in your favor. Good luck.
I don't "do panic attacks." I don't think panic disorder questions belong on the heart rhythm forum. Yours sounds like a classic SVT.
Here's what to do -
FIRST: don't panic. You're 100 times more likely to die driving like an idiot trying to get to the ER than from the condition. Yeah, first - chill.
SECOND: learn how to control it. You Googled SVT, now Google up some Valsava, Vagal Nerve Stimulation... learn that.
THIRD: Go see your primary care physician and have him order a 30 event monitor. I know - he's going to want a 24 hour recorder first, and he's a doctor and I'm not and that's the way the process goes and it will find nothing. Unless you happen to have an event on the day. Then you'll go back and get the 30 day monitor. So, go down that path.
FOURTH: Get diagnosed. If it is SVT and only hits you a few times a year. I'd do *nothing*. (See "SECOND") I'd bet there's been hundreds of millions who died peacefully of old age with (not because of) SVT.
Thank you for your replies. It helps me more than you know. And thank you little for the steps they definitely brought me some comfort.
Here is my UPDATE:
He has determined from me telling my symptoms that it isn't a simple panic disorder or anxiety. He feels that anxiety or panic attacks could be attributed to this event. The event setting me off into a panic attack, which I'm sure is happening. The severity, and lack of better words, the fact I feel like I'm about to die during these episodes, especially when it goes from 200+ bpm to a point where I felt it was about to stop, is definitely a concern for me.
He believes it is SVT and as a preliminary thinks I will be fine, and it's nothing dangerous that he believes. To be safe, he is sending me to a Cardiologist ( an off branch actually that specifies in the electrical aspect )
^ This is my EKG. As you might notice, it says Sinus rythm, possible old inferior infarct. He said this wasn't the case and was just triggered because it has the same abnormality those usually in their 70+ have if these have scarring. He said the dip, located on numeral II and left of the label aVL is too narrow, and if I truly had the triggered issue the machine stated, it would be much wider. He stated everyone ekg will be different and this is just my unique imprint. He said at my age and health, that this is definitely as he describes. I hope so.
This also matches an ekg I took years ago that I forgot about that noticed the same thing.
It's very normal to feel anxious or some panic when an episode. I believe I felt that with every single one of the hundreds... perhaps over a thousands of SVT episodes during the 54 years that I had it. But even the most severe panic attacks won't raise your heart rate to the typical levels seen with an SVT episode. As I've told others, you really need to use common sense in determining what is occurring with your body. SVT starts and ends abruptly. It can occur while you sleep, while under physical stress, while you dine, watching TV, while having sex. Listen to your body, and determine what exactly is going on. If you do you'll soon know that what you're feeling is not anxiety or a panic attack. My wife suffered from severe anxiety neurosis for many years, and would tell me how her heart would "race" during an attack. Ilistened to her heart during one episode, and was surprised to see that it was about half of my topical SVT rate. The problem is as littlegreenman said is capturing an event. Most often an EKG at normal sinus rates will show nothing at all; just a perfect waveform. Some physicians will stop there and diagnosis it as a panic attack. The key to getting proper treatment is to capture SVT waveform. A 30 day monitor is a valuable device to accomplish this. Another method is to get to an ER or call the EMT's to get them to hook you up to record the event. Once they have evidence, appropriate treatment can be administered. Follow the steps above and learn how to terminate an event on your own, and your on your way to learning to live with it. You can also do what Michelle, he and I did, and that was to get rid of it permanently thru cardiac ablation.
Since the initial attack as described in my OP I've had occasional ( which I never really had before like this ) issues. Ranging from heart flutters to almost like my OP symptoms. Just recently I had a strange feeling come over me, almost like my extremedies begin to kid cold and I start to feel ghostly and my heart felt like it was beating oddly, like perhaps the electrical signals were messing up causing some issue. Now my left side on my chest feels weird. It almost seems since the original attack I had, has caused these sub-effects ever sense which has me worried.
I also can't tell how much of my own anxiety or panic attacks are contributing to these episodes which is even worse. The unknown here is the problem.
If anyone saw my EKG above I'm not sure if anyone else thought it was odd or not that the machine would of thought I had synus rythm. The doctor said it wasn't that when he viewed the charts. I'll feel better once I get into the specialist and really figure this out.
Sudden jumps in beats from normal to 200+ is classic svt caused by an accessory pathway or in other words and extra muscle fiber in the heart that allows for the heart signal to get caught in a loop. The oddness you feel before and episode is likely ectopic beats, pacs or pvcs. They are extra beats in the atria or ventricles that are not dangerous but they can trigger and svt episode when they hit at just the right time. It is not likely your anxiety is causing this though anxiety can cause a rise in ectopic beats and since ectopic beats are a trigger you may have more svt episodes when you are stressed so handling stress will help you have less episodes but in general it isn't something you can just get rid of without an ablation to correct or essentially block that muscle fiber from being able to pass along a signal. Though these episodes may be scary they will not kill you. It is best that you try to manage them as best you can by getting them to stop within a decent amount of time but as Tom stated he made it to his 50s and I to my 40s before we got ours ablated and our hearts are still fine so try not to worry too much about the health of your heart. Just focus on staying as heart healthy as you can, and learning vagal maneuvers to try and stop the episodes when they start like bearing down and holding your breath or drinking a cold glass of water. I suspect once you see the EP I would not doubt that you will be offered and ablation to correct the issue once and for all. It may be prudent to do so but you are welcome to talk that through once you get to that bridge. Until then hold strong and try to not panic when your heart gets riled up. Staying as calm as you can will help it not feel so intense and staying calm in general may help you minimize the amount of episodes you could wind up having. Take care and try to not worry. You are on a good path to get this all resolved. Stay strong.
Thank you for the reply. My appointment got delayed so I'm waiting until next week.
Once thing I can't understand is I'm getting continued issues towards night, where it feels like I'm having breathing problems and can't suck in enough air. I have these a lot even before the incident in my original post, but these seem to be worse and my heart starts to rapidly beat.
I notice also that I've been burping a lot. And it seems to provide temporary relief during either odd heart feeling issues or the odd like anxiety or panic attack like episodes I think I'm having towards night.
I think I read something about gas build up in intestine or something causing problems for vagus nerve which is why burping seems to temp, help. Know anything about this?
You are correct that the vagus nerve can get aggravated by gas or acid reflux and send signals to the heart causing it to act up. It generally triggers some ectopic beats, pacs or pvcs. Pacs or pvcs but usually pacs are a trigger for someone with an accessory pathway to fall into svt. This does sound like what is going on with you but do make sure you tell the cardiologist that you do have difficulty breathing and everything else you are experiencing. Sorry your appointment got delayed. I know that it can be frustrating to wait for answers but hopefully you won't have to wait too much longer. Best of luck.
The thing bothering me the most I must say since this incident is these odd heart palpitations daily. Never have I had it this much, and clearly the original episode from weeks ago triggered something i must assume.
It feels as if there is a skipped beat, it's a strange feeling that last a second or so. It comes randomly, sometimes if I deep breath, or stretch. Sexual activity triggers it as well. It's really changed my entire life, since I can't gauge if these odd heart murmurs, palps, what ever they are causing this strange sudden feeling of my heart, are dangerous or not. The unknown of course, is a burden.
I think my nightly episodes are simply anxiety and stress from fearing over the above.
Yes, they can feel strange and for me they can make me short of breath if I am getting a lot of them in a day. I would say try to take it easy for a while and give your heart a break and see if that helps. The heart is a bit irritated they believe so give it some time to rest and see if that resolves the issue. Hang in there. It is very likely you don't have anything to worry too much about but continue to follow up with the doctor just to make sure.
I think I just want to clarify something. You very likely have 2 issues, svt and ectopic beats. Ectopic beats are those odd feelings you are getting that cause those strange feelings. They are completely harmless and fairly normal. The ecotopic beats can cause someone to fall into the fast heart beat you feel which is svt. The svt as well is not dangerous too you unless you were in the fast beat for a very long extended period of time which usually doesn't happen. Or if one has a long episode they can go to the ER and get it slowed down. The heart is very likely irritated by the svt but it will heal from it but because it gets irritated it throws off more ectopic beats which in turn can cause you to have svt episodes so they kind of feed off each other. Get your svt addressed and you very likely will see the ecotpic beats clear up. They may never totally go away but you should see improvement once your svt is corrected if you do indeed have an accessory pathway svt. But to be clear, svt and ecotpic beats are very very rarely dangerous to a person. You need to manage the issues as best you can and do what you can to correct any svt if you can but they are very rarely dangerous unless your heart is unhealthy from disease. So just keep on track to get yourself properly diagnosed and if they find any svt work to get it corrected but try to not stress too much because the stress may actually stir things up for you more. The fact of the matter is your heart is a very very strong reslient muscle. It will survive this. So just try and ease you rmind that you are on track to getting your heart the help it needs. take care.
Thanks again michelle, it definitely is comforting to get some perspective on this. Unfortunately my mind races as I keep reading about things trying to get more information on my problems.
I read about Mitral Valve Regurgitation, do you think that is a possibility? I read the shortness of breath and sort of panicked a bit since I've been getting these, what I thought was anxiety attacks, nightly for quite some time. Even before the huge incident with my heart originally, I've had these feelings at night. I assume it was anxiety causing me to have a shortness of breath.
Since it says a person can have it for decades with out knowing until it gets worse, It has me concerned. But I don't have the swollen feet or legs. And would my EKG from the original GP have seen it? Or perhaps the EKG wasn't enough to actually tell.
I go in Wednesday thankfully, sadly learning about this new thing has of course gotten me a tad concerned.
I don't think svt is caused by mitral valve issues but I can't say for certain as I haven't done any research. Most accessory pathway svts are caused by a an extra muscle fiber and nothing more. They are not dangerous to the heart unless you are in constant tachycardia in the 100s for an extended period of time or if you go something like 48 hours or so in heart rates above 200. Then the heart can develop congestive heart failure which is basically a weakening of the heart muscle. It can be reversed in svt patients once the tachycardia has been resolved. So the fact your ankles aren't swollen is a good sign your heart in general is still healthy but the doctor will fully evaluate you. Try to not worry too much until you know exactly what is going on. It is very likely your issues are more a nusaince than anything super dangerous to you but of course a doctor needs to give that accessment but I suspect you will be fine.
Yeah I'm on the fence about it, but since I don't know for sure if it's SVT, I of course think the worse.
May I ask, are you familar with panic attacks and/or anxiety?
Because I must say that I am suffering from something I can't pinpoint since the initial, let's just call it, SVT episode.
It doesn't seem to occur when I'm at home, yet when I go to school (where my initial episode occured and I thought I was about to die) and get into class, my heart is already racing a bit. Feels around 90+. After awhile I suddenly get this strange, powerful and overwhelming feeling that over takes my stomach and chest. It isn't like a psychological one, It's an actual physiological feeling. It's so extreme for that 2-3 seconds that once it hits, I sort of jolt because it takes me off guard and I feel like my heart is stopping (yet during the episode, I can't actually tell what my pulse is at, or feel my heart beating anyways, so I don't know HOW I can mentally think it's stopping). My heart then continues to rapidly beat and I sit there feeling like it is going to happen again. I also get a bit of shortness of breath before and after these events.
These seem to occur when I'm out and mainly at school. I'm quite upset by these, because they're pretty debilitating. I think they're panic attacks caused by me being subconsciously upset that I might get an episode at school again. But I don't know, so I get scared if it's actually a heart/electrical issue or not.
I get home and I feel much better and I suspect since this has happened a lot now at school, that if I stayed home (which I've done) I don't get an episode, yet when I go I seem to do.
If it is anxiety/severe panic attacks I wonder if these tie into the general shortness of breath and breathing problems I tend to get nightly.
I have had panic disorder for about 30 years. What you are describing to me sounds like a textbook panic attack. What you are feeling is a very real physical response to what your body is perceiving as a serious threat. Your shortness of breath could well be anxiety. When I have a panic attack I feel like I am suffocating, so I hyperventilate, my face and lips go numb, I get sick feeling, sweat, heart pounds, ears ring and in general feel like I'm going to die. It's awful. You need to talk to your doctor and tell him this is happening. By staying away from places you had panic attacks and staying home where you feel safe from them, you will get to the point you can't leave your house. I did that too. I couldn't go anywhere by myself. Hopefully once you get to the doctor he can sort everything out and some of your anxiety will go away. Take care.
It could be panic or it could be ectopics initiating svt that is short lived. The only way to know is if it is caught on a monitor. You will want to catch it. When you go to school you are physically exerting yourself to get there which is kind of like exercise. Once you sit your heart starts to slow down and during this slow down a pac or pvc can jump in. When it does that is what can trigger an svt episode. The ectopics can also simply cause the heart to react. My heart rate will speed up a bit after a few ecotopic beats. The heart sometimes doesn't know what to make of the pauses and speeds up the heart to compensate. Or you may be having ectopics and simply feeling those is causing some panic in you. It would really depend on how fast the heart is going and whether or not you feel it start and stop on a beat. If you feel it start and stop on a beat then it is classic svt. If not then the faster beat is simply a physiological or psychological response. But again, I stress that svts that stop on their own and don't sustain for an extended period of time are not dangerous. They are disruptive but not dangerous so please do not let this rob you of your life. And if it is simple panic if you confront this then you will not trigger sinus tachycardia when you feel something odd with your heart. We all get odd beats from time to time. It isn't anything the heart can't handle so continue to follow up to get evaluated by a doctor preferably a cardiologist but put your mind at ease that any of this is a danger to you. Chances are extremely good you will fall into the benign range with your heart rhythm issues.
Thank you. Still unfortunately waiting to get in to specialist.
I'm struggling quite bad tonight. I'm having this odd feeling overtake my body, like a physical feeling. Almost like I know something bad is going to happen. It also feels like my heart is pumping blood properly as I describe it, because I start to feel odd in how I feel and see. It's followed by a huge heart racing of 100-120 BPS. It started out of no where tonight, and it hasn't been this bad. After it subsided, it has come back 2-3 times already and I can't get it to stop.
I can't tell if these are panic attacks or actual ectopic issues, or something. Because this feeling is now lingering tonight and it never has before.
My left side of chest also seem to be little sore and warm.
I was taking my blood pressure during the odd attack happening again, and it was like 130 over 50, and then I got hit hard with the feeling and my heart started to racing. Never been 50 before so I was quite concernd over that. I alnost wonder if my heart isnt pumping properly during these events that ar ehappening now and that is where the strange feeling comes in.
If you are having pacs or pvcs that is considered an irregular heart beat. As well when you are in an svt episode your heart, though likely pumping normal, isn't pumping efficiently. That said, unless you have some sort of heart disease, which at your age would likely need to be hereditary, what is going on is very likely something your heart can handle. I will say when I am having a higher number of pacs and pvcs than just a couple a day it does feel as though my heart is off somehow. Like the signal is stuck or off somewhere. Not really sure what that is but just making the point that heart rhythm issues can make you very aware of your heart but it doesn't mean they are a big danger to you. It is important to get this address but it is also important to keep level headed about this issue because stressing or panicking will make the situation worse for you.
But to address your question, certain pacs and pvcs when they hit at certain time can cause you to fall into tachycardia if you have the accessory pathway kind especially. I would feel some sort of fizzle feeling as best I can describe it and my heart would then take off into the 200s. It would make it very hard for me to breath and I had to sit down for fear of passing out though I never did pass out. They are however, two different issues, ectopic beats are the trigger, svt is the response. If you have an accessory pathway svt then that can easily be fixed. But just so you are aware I am now in my 40s and others have even been older with these heart rhythm issues our whole lives and your hearts are still fine so just try and calm yourself as best you can when your heart starts to act up because you really will be fine and the calmer you can remain the less intense these things will feel. Well do keep me posted when you are finally able to get into see someone. I know the stress of not knowing what is going on can play tricks with your mind but really do take some comfort in the fact you are young and likely very healthy so what you are experiencing is more of a nuisance and distraction than anything else. Stay strong and I do hope you get to the bottom of this very soon.
What is fascinating is that she put these feelings into better words than I ever could. Mainly this part:
"I also sometimes experienced a sensation of the heart stopping and restarting - immediately after the restart I would feel a MASSIVE, uncomfortable surge of adrenaline and the heart would beat very fast for a little while. I could never figure out if I was getting an adrenaline surge that caused some odd heart behaviour that I felt before I actually felt the adrenaline, or what. Sometimes my heart would also start beating EXTREMELY fast from resting for no reason at all - it was literally immediate - this was also accompanied by an adrenaline rush but no preceding feeling of the heart stopping. "
"I should also say that when I say it 'stops', I mean it seems to stop pumping blood...I get the impression there is still activity going on in the heart but that blood is not being circulated. Could it be ventricular fibrillation, or ...? Maybe adrenaline is not causing this, but rather my heart goes into an abnormal rhythm and my body releases adrenaline in an attempt to self-shock into proper rhythm? "
Like you were saying, it might be pumping fine just not efficiently. What is odd is that the original event I posted about, which was a more severe form of the 1-2 similar ones I got yearly before that I brushed off, these events now seem different. The odd feeling of perhaps blood not pumping properly and my brain and other body parts start to feel foggy, then a rush of a adrenaline and heart racing. So these are similar to the original event but more or less, lesser versions occurring (heart racing wise, but still fast) and more emphasis on the original odd feeling.
To be clear it is not likely you or the other poster has had Ventricular Fibrillation. You would die from that pretty quickly without medical intervention. It is also very rare even in cases of people who have ventricular tachycardia. I can maybe see VT being a possibility but depending on when our ectopics happen they can feel differently so it could also just be run of the mill ectopics or svt. They can all feel pretty dramatic. Until it is actually recorded we are only guessing but do not fret that it is VF because that is the one thing we can pretty safely rule out. In any event when you go to the doctor make sure you describe what exactly you are feeling to the doctor.
Thanks, I was definitely thinking it wasn't vf either.
I'm starting to wonder if I'm having severe anxiety attacks along with this.
Just now, I started having a very odd feeling. It may be adrenilane being pumoped into my body.
It is a very sickening feeling and I notice I started to shake. My legs and arms shake, my jaw felt time and jittery and my chest was having odd contraction, tightning and loosing like a twitch you'd have in your eye lid.
This to me seems quite odd and non-heart related or electrical, but I realy don't know.
Just got back from a cardiologist electrophysiologist
She seemed to be very knowledgeable in the SVT field and other issues and believes I'm having a two sets of issues.
First, she explained the main issue. The episodes I originally posted about, which occur a few times a year. She believes in my case that my electrical system is too efficient which causes so once a blurp happens my heart reacts the way it does. Plus, combined with the adrenaline I pump from being upset. She also noted it was normal for, during the episode, for the heart to just crash back down to like 70-80 and that is where you get that heart stopping feelings.
She thinks the second issues I face since the original march episode could be electrical related but most likely self induced by my own worry, anxiety and panic attacks.
I've been set up for an echocardiogram and 24hour monitor (which she wants a 30 day after that).
She believes nothing is life threatening and she will piece together the facts and get the tests and prove it, so I just need to believe. I'm still having hard time being positive because besides the main episodes, like in March, these sub-like incidents are ruining my life as they cause me to have high heart rate at school, odd jolt like feeling perhaps of panic attacks ect.
She also thinks I need to stay from triggers such as caffeine. Sad, as I love tea. I'll get the test and go from there.
Thank you michelle and everyone else. Long nights reading replies does help, I hope the best for you.
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