So for a few years on and off I get these skipped beats or palpitations, whatever you want to call them. Some days I get them a few times a day, & then don't notice them for awhile, & then they come back. Usually I'll notice them after exercise but sometimes I'm totally at rest and I'll feel like 2-3 skips or jumps close together, like my heart pauses and then beats. I don't ever get more than 2-3 per minute at most. But they are a bit unsettling. I had a stress test 3 years ago, which was normal. I have had numerous EKG's which were normal & chest x-rays which were normal also. I wore two holter monitors for 48 hours two different times and they just showed benign palpitations, I guess you call them PAC's or PVC's.. Blood tests have always been normal too.
I have had a couple of echocardiograms, the last was in August of 2011. It was basically normal too. They said it showdd "trace mitral regurgitation" but the cardiologist said tons of people have that & it was still considered normal.
I do suffer from anxiety, & I started taking 10 mg of Propranolol as needed to slow my heart down, because when I'm anxious, my heart sometimes races uncontrollably. It works ok, I don't take it every day. I do drink coffee just one cup every morning & try to limit to one soda per day(if that). I am supposed to start taking Paxil soon for my anxiety disorder. I also take Xanax as needed for it. So basically, what is causing these jumps or skips in my heart beat? Should I be worried about it? It seems all the tests were fine, so maybe it's anxiety even though sometimes I don't even feel anxious but I still get the skips. I got some Magnesium 250 mg but my doctor said I didn't have to do that. Is there anything else I can do to try and make these stop? Maybe I should ask for a targeted beta blocker like Metroprolol instead of Propranolol, which is more of a generalized one? Thanks for any input!
Dear Johnny: I had atrial fibrillation and skipped beats for about 15 years. I had to get my heart shocked back in regular rhythm about 14-15 times the last few years... up until 3 years ago when I had an ablation they fixed the atrial fibrillation..I still have a few skipped beats once in a while but not bad. But from my experiences with irregular heat beats... I cup of coffee will cause them and if you drink decaf on a regular basis that will cause them too. Decaf is 1% supposedly..and on a daily basis it will cause it. One soda would make mine start. Any thing with some caffeine in it will cause skipped beats if you have a history of them. Chocolate cake, candy, cookies etc will do it.. Sometimes any thing cold that you drink can cause it... bottom line if you want to get rid of them with out medications I would suggest NO caffeine, No alcohol,very little sugary foods and limit your fat intake.. In my opinion they all effect the problem but most especially the caffeine and alcohol...Oh I forgot one other thing that used to cause it... getting around cigarette smoke.. the nicotine I guess dunno... Also most ice cream has caffeine added and they do not have to disclose the fact that it contains caffine...Ice cream will cause it..sorry to send all this ...but I dealt with the problem for years and figured out things that would start my heart to skipping beats... so I avoid them even now that I have had the ablation...don't want it returning...
Claytex, I have seen numerous doctors & cardiologists and had all the tests in the book, & none of them ever mentioned atrial fibrillation to me. All the imaging tests, bloodwork, etc, holter, were all normal. Holter showed palps but they were classifed as benign I was told by the cardiologist. So I doubt that's what I have. I do have anxiety, and of course this makes the skips worse sometimes. I'll try and cut back on caffeine. What I wonder about is sometimes I can go for a long time & not notice them at all, & drink coffee without much issue, and others I seem to notice them more.
Maybe I can up my propranolol a bit, xanax helps some, but not entirely. I'm going once more to the cardiologist, but I doubt they'll do anything major because I've already been told they are benign. So guess all I can do is try and cut back on the caffeine when I'm having them. But sometimes I get them when I'm at rest totally relaxed & sometimes after exercise. Just seems to be kind of random. Basically they feel like a skip here and there, sometimes a jump.
But I doubt I would have to have something as drastic as ablation because none of the doctors have ever indicated to me that it's anything of that nature. Maybe I can just try & modify diet a bit & cut back on coffee/soda when I'm having them. Thanks for your response.
I agree with Claytex that even with pvc's, pacs, short runs of tachycardia getting rid of the caffeine will help reduce them, if not completely stop them. I, too, have persistent intermittent afib, but in between bouts of afib it is not unusual for me to have the other irregular beats. Exercise, lack of sleep, caffeine, icey cold drinks, anything spicy, too many refined high carb foods, eating too much at a time -- all these can bring them on for me. The anxiety is an issue, it will have you producing adrenaline which will contribute to the problem. I use Norpace Cr, Atenolol and Xanax. I believe they do ablations for pvcs, but that would be something to discuss with your doctor. These irregular beats are unsettling and I wish you luck dealing with them. I'd be interested to hear how the Paxil works out for you. Keep us posted.
I'm going to cut down on my caffeine. I don't think I have afib. What are the symptoms of it? Because none of the doctors have ever told me I have, and I think they would have, or some of the tests would have shown it if I had that? The only thing all the tests showed was that I seem to have a normal heart, with occasional palpitations/pvcs/pacs which they told me were benign. I am a good weight, I do need to exercise more, my sleep is decent. I do think the anxiety is an ongoing issue for me. Hopefully I can find the right med combination to help reduce/stop these palpitations. But yeah, the doctors & cardiologists have all told me that the palpitations I did have were benign..
Also, I don't think doctors do ablation at all unless every medication has been exhausted first, or the palpitations are like many many thousands per day. For me, even at my worst, I only get about 15-20 per day, if that. So i doubt they'd ever do anything besides medication for me. And even one cardiologist told me not to worry because he said mine were benign. But I still notice them of course, & they annoy me! 10 mg of Propranolol helps my anxiety, and heart rate, but I can still get the skipped beats. I only have to take it as needed, maybe someday I'll try taking a beta blocker every day and see if that helps control the palpitations a bit more. But if they are benign, guess no big deal really.
You would know it if you had afib so don't worry about that. Premature beats are related to afib though (pacs) so many people that have afib also have pvcs/pacs. I agree with the other posters that you're best chance of getting rid of the few palps you have is through a healthy diet and exercise. Like you say though, they are benign so nothing to worry about even if you can't get rid of them.
Dear Johnnyky Personally I don't think cutting back on caffeine will help... My experience is that you have to totally cut it out period... I think your wasteing your time and effort if you only cut back. Just my opinion...later claytex
I took Atenolol for 7 years and it helped keep me in regular rythym. It slows the heart rate and that helps with anxiety as well as irregular beats. I agree with Claytex -- the caffeine needs to be eliminated completely. I don't even use decaf products as they still have caffeine. I drink herbal tea and carob instead of chocolate. I guess it depends on how bothersome it is. Since mine puts me in the hospital, I am willing to give up just about anything to avoid that and feel well. Good luck with this.
Thanks again for the responses. I notice that cutting out coffee (which is hard because I am NOT a morning person & LOVE my morning coffee) helps reduce the number of skips I have during the day. I still have one soda per day, but for some reason it seems coffee triggers them worse than a soda. Guess because coffee has much more caffeine in it. So it seems for me, during a flare-up of skipped beats, cutting out coffee helps, and they tend to die down on their own. I rarely get a day when I don't have at least one or two skips, but most of the time I never get more than about 5-6 per day. Occasionally I'll have a period when I get 15-20 per day but usually no more than that.
One question about beta blockers..I take 10mg of Propranolol as needed for anxiety, and it helps keep my heart rate slow if I am anxious..But I am wondering, I have seen on the internet where beta blockers can make palpitations/skipped beats worse?? Since I started taking Xanax for anxiety, that seems to help and I feel it's a bit safer on the heart than a beta blocker..But maybe I'll ask my doctor about Atenolol, is it more heart-specific than Metoprolol/Propranolol? If I do take a beta blocker regularly someday, I'd definately want one that would not make the skips worse!
I took Toprol first and it made me pretty tired. I had to split it in 2 even tho it was a continuous release. Then I got another cardiologist who put me on the Atenolol, saying I would probably feel better on it, because it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. I'm not sure about the differences between beta-blockers. I think I have only been helped by the beta blocker and it never made my skips worse. It may do that in some people, just not in my experience. Beta blockers are pretty benign meds. I have had pac's and pvcs and short runs of tachycardia for years and years and I'm still around. If you're having just a few, maybe just getting used to them and knowing they are not going to kill you will help. It's a quality of life issue and most docs in my experience are not worrying too much about that. If it's not going to kill you, they pay less attention. Keep us posted on how you're doing. Good luck to you.
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