hi everyone, i have had pvcs/pacs since 2004, they vary in terms of regularity, more so when im stressed. I am a 6"2, 28 year old male, around 180lbs. i have been going the gym for 4 months, and eating healthy for a long long time. i dont smoke ( not since i quit when i was 20 ) and i rarely drink alcohol, and I don't touch caffeine. about a week ago I had a PVC or PAC that took my breath away as i was standing in the kitchen, because i was worried about my heart at the time, it sent me into a full blown panic attack , where i went to the hospital convinced this was the end. the doctor and nurses were quick to tell me its a panic attack to settle me down, then gave me an ecg/ekg which is a real quick test. they told me i was fine and that I hadn't had a H-A. since then i have had 2 PVCS/PACS which have been accompanied by a sharp pain running through the heart along with the beat. the first was the other day when i was lying down watching a movie, i had 1 strong HB that was random and felt like a kick, this powerful one off beat had a sharp pain running through it, like a really long needle was pushed through my heart into my left shoulder blade. the 2nd one happened today when i was sitting in the garden trying to relax. a honey bee flew right into my right ear, making me jump. when i got out of my chair to get away from it, i turned around and watched it for 2 seconds buzzing round a flower. right at that moment i had a pvc/pac. not a strong one, just a normal one. but this normal one had that same sharp needle pain running through it, that feels anything but normal. now every forum i visit looking for answers is filled with people that have these pvcs/pacs and are freaked out by them, but all of these people have had all the tests done, echo, stress, holter. me, i have had nothing except the ecg/ekg and the doctors stethoscope. the british NHS is not very free with its tests. and because my medical history shows i am inflicted with anxiety. they dont take me serious. i waited 2 months for a hospital cardiologists appointment less than a year ago, where i though i was going to have some in depth tests performed. instead i got a quick ecg/ekg, and the cold stethoscope of the cardiologist who refused to give me any further tests. i have never been diagnosed with pvcs/pacs, i am just going by what people describe them them as, and the descriptions are just like mine. so i could have pvcs, pacs, or both, i just dont know. now less than one year later, a new sensation is involved with pvcs/pacs. and i know the NHS wont give me an echo or a holter monitor, but i still have to ask, because i cant afford the the private care prices. i know pvcs/pacs are genuinely benign to healthy hearted people. but i dont really know enough about mine to be convinced. i have been anxious for over a week now, and as an anxiety sufferer, i am well aware of the tricks the mind can play on the body in terms of sensations. but this week the list of symptoms not including the ones i have already mentioned are these.
1) heart pain (what feels like) when taking in a deep breath ( has been felt 3 times in 1 week)
2) waking up with dead left hand and right foot ( could be trapped nerve )
3) jolting awake when dosing off constantly, can last all night. (hypnic jerk)
4) the constant jolting awake brings on what feels like an irregular heart rhythm.
5) acid reflux
6) lack of appetite
7) bloated abdomen
8) painful stomach spasms ( left rib cage) , feels hollow, and when pains, the the pain can be felt in my chest and in my back (left shoulder blade)
i have no prior heart condition, no one in my family has had sudden death as far as i know, the only heart attacks were due to poor health, and they were elderly people. my brother has pvcs/pacs ? and hes 43. my parents are 77 and 63. that is as much as i know about my family's heart health.
now, most of you will probably want to say go and get checked out asap. but i am in turmoil here because i cant afford the tests, privately, and i know the NHS will not give them to me. and if my GP sends the hospital a letter, i will probably just receive below par care as was the case last year.
thank you for the time you have taken to read this long post.
I am surprised you can not get a echocardiogram and stress test, perhaps a Holter monitor. These are not expensive tests and I believe most insurance companies in the USA would allow them...some may require a referral from a primary care doctor. But, Obama is making progress moving the USA into a "single payer" (the government) medical system in which the services may be as hard to get here as your describe in the UK.
Given the mental stress you are undergoing I wonder if that approach might get approval for more extensive heart testing. That is, talk with your primary care doctor stressing that you are suffering increasing mental distress and that can lead to anything good physically. I have not more than this type idea on how to deal with your NHS.
I am an old guy and on Medicare, a federal (NHS) service for people over 65 in the USA. It has been very easy to get specialized attention here, no referral is needed. I've even had open heart surgery on Medicare. I also have secondary insurance (Medicare pays 80% of its allowed charges) which does not require any referrals. But, I see the USA heading down the same dark path you are suffering from with NHS.
As a person who has pvcs and pacs your symptoms don't sound overly alarming. I will sometimes get some painful ectopics. I believe it has to do with how much blood is left in the heart when the extra beat pops in or something like that. They are disconcerting to be sure and the thought of having periodic chest pain out of the blue the rest of my life isn't something I relish but the medical literature out there does not deem pacs or pvcs a threat to ones health if ones heart is structurally normal. Even those with some possible heart disease can tolerate them well so long as they aren't having runs of them which it sounds like yours are very isolated. That said, I know that having the proper tests can at least put a person's mind at ease. I would say if you really want them done then save up to pay for them privately. It may take a little while but if it is going to give you peace of mind then definitely try and save to get that.
That being said, I would approach your regular doctor to get your acid reflux addressed. Acid reflux can have an impact on pvcs and pacs. As well as really working on your stress and anxiety. They will cause the ectopics to act up as was evident when you got startled by the bee. So though your ectopics are not caused by stress or anxiety, the stress and anxiety and acid reflux will trigger them. So your best bet for not letting these things take over your life mentally and emotionally is to proactively work on getting a handle on the triggers. This will put you in the mind set of taking charge of what is going on rather than letting what is going on drive you. Stay strong. Odds are you really are just fine but if you really feel it important to have the tests then work towards making them happen for yourself. Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.
I am glad to hear you are still kicking. Your profile states you are in your 20s. Unless you have a family history of heart disease which would be congenital in your case as opposed to lifestyle more than likely considering your physical size and lifestyle habits I would lean more towards any further heart issues being more of the structural accessory pathway or stress kind as opposed to full out heart disease. Of course I can't diagnose you but odds are rare that you would have heart disease at your age. That said, if you do think you are having some sort of serious heart issues then you should contact your doctor and go and get checked out.
So what other symptoms are you feeling beyond what you described in your first post? I would think if there is something serious going on public health services would take care of you and I am sure they would try to give you the best care around. Doctors don't become doctors just to treat people poorly. I would say if you are struggling in the public system just be persistent and follow the steps needed to take in order for your medical care to be covered. I think in general there is a lot of referral and preapproval needed. Which is why I say be persistent. The best way to get the doctor's attention is to keep reminding them of your issue and how often you have it. They may disregard it at first because a lot of issues resolve on their own but if you have a persistent issue be persistent and the doctors will listen at some point. We really do have to be our best advocate. Well I do hope that you are able to get the help you deserve so you can feel better. Please do keep us posted on how you are. Take care.
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