I have been recently diagnosed with MS. I have a lesion in the posterior aspect of the left medulla, among others. The medulla, that's a scary spot, isn't it? I have a 13 yr history of irregular heartbeart, and abnormal heart rate. Over the years, I've had all the tests, and my heart has been deemed structurally sound. No one knew what the problem was, and unfortunately sometimes didn't believe me. Is this my answer?
Welcome. I do not know if MS can cause heart problems. Someone else may be able to answer that.
Having MS is the brain sounds really scary at first. My first MRI report freaked me out when it mentioned the brain stem. What I have since learned is first where you have lesions does not necessarily mean you will have corresponding symptoms and second the brain is a vast area and signals can move around to some extent unlike the Optic nerve or spine. My brain has rerouted for 42 years. Also just because you have MS everything is not MS. I for example have Asthma and Hypothyroid which have nothing to do with MS.
The heart has its own pacemakers, and doesn't depend on the brain. The vagus nerve (CN10) does slow the heart (sinus bradycardia), but that is about it. There are other things that have a greater effect on your hearts rate and rhythm, such as sick sinus syndrome, wandering pacemaker and junctional blocks. Issue with cardiac arrhythmia need to be addressed by a cardiologist and should not be considered related to a lesion on the medulla.
I've been to the cardiologist more times than I can count, unfortunately. EKG's, ultrasound, holter monitors, gallons of bloodwork, all that jazz. They finally put me on a betablocker, while admitting they didn't know if it would help...it didn't, and I have since given up on answers. A few years ago in the ER, the admitting doc said, the problem is not your heart, its your brain. After they got me a bed, I didn't see that guy again, he was the first and last person to say such a thing to me. Anyway, I haven't told my neurologist yet, because initially it didn't occur to me. Now I'm thinking perhaps I should say something...?
Hi Val and welcome. It seems quite clear to me that NONE of our organs stand alone and that includes the heart. The various systems, structures and functions of our bodies are intricately interdependent.
I've had a history of occasional heart palpitations over the years. Almost a year ago now the irregularities went into high gear. My BP would bottom out periodically. My heart rate bounced around between the low 50's and high 90's or into the 100's. With the palpitations came feelings of fullness and pressure in my chest and moments of air hunger that made life miserable for a while.
I too had all the cardiac testing. The chemical stress test threw me into heart block that took weeks to resolve but no structural problems were found. No blockages either. Just an excellent EF and the miscommunication between the first and second story chambers of my heart about when was the best time to squeeze.
The cardio has had no apparent interest in figuring out what causes this problem. He has thrown several different beta blockers at it. That helped for a while (other than the side effects) but it seems they may be adding to the problem recently. He doesn't respond to my request for a electrophysiologist to look over the Holter results. He HAS conceded that the MS could be a factor.
I've continued to have periodic random highs and lows in my BP and irregularities in my heart rate and rhythm. Some days it's as debilitating as the MS. I went to my primary physician two weeks ago. She asked me to do some self education about dysautonomia to see if what I experience seems similar to what I find. I've already had strong suspicions of this connection. I'll look at it more carefully in the coming weeks.
We have had several discussions here about how MS is linked to the autonomic nervous system and how that adds to our misery and disfunctioning bodies. Not every neuro seems to be aware of this or willing to accept it. Others have seen it too often to deny its existence.
You might find it interesting that my 1990 MRI showed a lesion in the medulla. I was having a lot of symptoms then that could have been traced to cranial nerve involvement but the docs told me I wouldn't be sitting there talking to them if the medulla (part of the brain stem) really had something showing up on it. That lesion disappeared somewhere along the way (it didn't show up on the 2009 MRI) but the symptoms have cycled along ever since.
I was diagnosed with MS last year after cranial nerve X did a nasty. That incident dropped the bottom out from under my BP and HR, took me to my knees and emptied my bladder unexpectedly just before I could finish walking the dog on a hot August afternoon. My newly practicing, very perceptive family practitioner started me on my diagnostic adventure. She has remained my mainstay of support and core medical care provider all along the way.
I'm afraid both of us may end up learning to live with the uncertainty of a heart rhythm at the mercy of MS activity. It's wonderful to know the structure of my heart is so healthy but I feel vulnerable when I know a heart out of sync with itself doesn't always get it's job done. The symptoms are random and completely beyond my ability to control. I hate being so helpless at the mercy of a disease inspired by a whim rather than logic.
I'm sorry you had to join our ranks as an MSer Val but glad you found our community on MedHelp. I look forward to sharing experiences of this journey with you.
You aren't crazy. They just don't know how to help or diagnose it is all. Not that that is a small matter . . .
Mine is acting up too, near syncope, heart rate variability, blood pressure fluctuations, and I have no lesions. The cardiologist thought maybe a little cardio exercise, and increasing salt and water intake might help. There is no pattern to it. Some days it's all over the place, and other days it's fine.
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