Heart Disease Forum
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Avatar universal


Hello and thanks for taking my question. I started having a heart rate that would go to 150's sometimes higher with some chest pain and sometimes shortness of breath and also with the lovely feeling of I was going to die. My doctor said it was panic attacks but I am not real comfortable with that diagnosis. I have so far had many EKG's even during the times of the racing heart and all come back normal with sinus tach. I have had all bloodwork including thyroid checked and that was also normal. Stress test that came back fine. I recently had an holter monitor and I am now waiting for the results on that. The problem I am having accepting this is...In the past month or so the chest pain seems to be more constant than not.  How can anxiety cause this chest pain all the time. I have also noticed that my heart has seemed to do this funny little jump. With all these tests that have been normal can I relax and accept this as anxiety and know it is not my heart. Would these tests have picked up whatever could have been wrong? I have been extremely worried about this. I dont think I have that much stress in my life.I am a 30 year old female, I just quit smoking last week,slightly overweight which I am also working on. I have 4 children 10,7,4 and 1. Thanks for any help you can give me.
25 Responses
74076 tn?1189759432

There are several keys to trying to answer this question.

1. you want to capture the arrythmia on a 12 lead ekg.  if it looks like sinus tachycardia -- like you wrote it did --

2. we need to record and document the initiation and/or termination of the rhythm.  Anxiety will look like a gradual acceleration and gradual termination.  An arrhythmia will usually start with a premature beat and sudden onset and sudden termination.  Hopefully this will be picked up by the holter monitor.

If this doesn't answer the question, they may want to do an EP study.  This is an invasive procedure where extra beats are electrically stimulated in  your heart to try to induce the arrhythmia.

I hope this helps answer your question and good luck.
Avatar universal
Hi, I am in exactly the same position as you.  I am 31 and gave birth in May 2004 for the first time.  I was admitted back to hospital two days after coming out because I had high BP, racing pulse and felt awful (I now know this was a panic attack - nothing else) but because of a careless comment by a midwife, I was left thinking something was wrong with my heart and since then, it has been a 24/7 obsession.  For the last 8 months I have suffered constant chest pains, racing heartbeat which comes from nowhere and those funny little flip heart skip things, which I now know are PVC's.  My doc also said it is anxiety, which I found hard to believe because the only thing I am anxious about is my heart and these symptoms!  So I too have had blood, thyroid, ECG, recent echo (all normal) and am due to have a 8 day holter very soon.  So it was originally a panic attack that caused my symptoms, and because I got so freaked out about it, I now notice every PVC I get and have to live with the chest pains.  They are gradually getting better as I learn to cope with the anxiety.  Feel free to email me if you want.  ***@****
Avatar universal

after having a long break of the same symtoms you are having now, they came back about 2 years ago. my heartrate went up and i have daily pvc and pac, rarely svt and short apisods of afib.
i took atenolol as needed and my heartrate went down, i dont take atenolol any more because i know i have a healty normal heart. my heartrate since last summer is normal now. i do still have chest pain and it still can throw me off, right now i take daily aspirin do to the discomfort. maybe your chestpain is muscular since you have a 1 year old child which you may carry a lot. i have 2 children and i think its a lot of work (i also work part time) i personally cant imagine to take care of 4 kids without feeling overwhelmed at times. good luck to you
Avatar universal

Just wanted to let you know that as unfortunate as it is I think alot of these symptoms come from motherhood. I have six children 21, 18, 16, 12, 3, & 1. I started obsesing over my heart durring my last pregnancy. I had my son in January 2004 and it has took me until recently to come to grips and say okay this is anxiety calm down you'll be okay. From my first month of my pregnancy I had PVCs (I had never had them before or just didn't feel them). All of the sudden my world went out of control I felt everyone of them. I had chest pain, trouble breathing, insomnia due to the extreme worry. All I could think of was something is wrong with my heart what will happen to my children.
My regular doctor had me wear a holter monitor and diagnosed me with PVC's brought on by the hormones. All through my pregnancy I had myself convinced it was something more. By the end of pregnancy I was sure I had Postpartum cardiomyopthia. After delivery my blood pressure was elevated to 150/98. My OB wanted to put me on meds but, my internist insured me it was all the stress, worry, and the physical strain of labor. I know where your comming from. If you want to talk email me ***@****.
Avatar universal
Sorry but I also forgot to mention the pain and sometimes numbness down left arm. I also forgot to mention I have had 3 chest xrays and a ct scan...thanks again.
Avatar universal
Thanks everyone for your comments. I just don't understand how anxiety could do this to you. It's absolutely outrageous. I didn't start this until July of 2004. I do carry my little one around alot. So that could very well be part of it. Once more thanks again!! Traci
Avatar universal
i too am having the same problems as what everyone else has written on the post, i am fixated with the possibility that something is wrong with my heart and noone is finding it and soon it is going to be too late.  i don't have regular pvc's but i just have the aches and pains on my left side that lead me to believe that it is heart related. i have had all the tests, blood work, stress, but no event monitor. i also have a 14 month old that i stay home with which only adds to my stress of please don't let something happen to me when i am alone with her.  i hurt into my back and down my left arm and sometime chest pain and shortness of breath (light smoker) but i can't tell if it is my heart or just muscloskeletal it happens at random times of the day just sitting on the couch or washing dishes so that is the only thing that makes me think that it is not my heart because i am not doing anything strenuous or stressful. i pick my baby and carry in my left arm so that is also why i am saying it is not a heart issue.   i am going to the dr once again on monday to see if it is anything heart related. i haven't had the chance to post a question to the dr on this forum lucky you for getting to. look forward to what the forum dr says
38309 tn?1270893703
Trust your instincts. If you feel that something's not right, then don't hesitate to get a second opinion from a cardiologist. Anxiety and heart problems go hand-in-hand. Don't discount your symptoms, or fear embarrassment. Have confidence in yourself. Internists do NOT have the same clincal experience or education as specialists.

More than likely, the symptoms -- palpitations, chest pain or SOB -- will gradually dissipate after pregnancy but sometimes medication is advisable to help your quality of life and protect your health in the interim.

If you have high BP, then consider yourself at high-risk for damaging your heart, or worse. Losing weight, eating a healthy diet etc. helps, but so can taking BP meds.

Pregnancy changes you, don't kid yourself or let someone tell you that what you're feeling isn't real. Giving life is a beautiful thing but it has physical trade-offs.

You've come a long way baby, but the field of Medicine has not caught up with female heart disease.

-- from someone who has been there.
Avatar universal
Hi.  Just wanted to add my two cents, and say that I echo what carolina03 had to say regarding specialists and pursuing answers. We have come a long way, but we have a little further to go.
It makes me a bit frustrated when I hear the label "anxiety" attached to every female who has cardiac symptoms.  I'd definately have a cardio evaluate me if I didn't feel satisfied with my internist's diagnosis, or continued to have problems.

There are some on this forum who were thought to have "anxiety"  and it turned out to be something else.  They regret that now. I'm thankful for my internist who had enough humility to say "I think we need to send you to a cardiologist." After a few tests and a fresh pair of ears and eyes, a correct diagnosis was made as well as a treatment plan that has yeilded very good results.

I'm not sayin it's a heart related problem, and I'm no Dr.  If they do the EKG, echo, holter, stress test and it all comes back fine, than  you can rest assurred that it's not your heart.  But I would encourage you to not readily be labeled as "anxiety" or "hormonal" if you keep experiencing concerning symptoms.  

Sure, pregnancy and child rearing is exhausting work, but sometimes it's an easy label for us women.

I wish you all the best on your quest for optimum health.
Avatar universal
Actually my blood pressure is really good. It's been a little high during a few of those episodes but in general it is usually around 118/75 when up and about and 105/60 when laying and resting. The second time at the er I had woken up and my heart was just racing. Went to er and they at first though vtac(i think thats what they said) anyway, they had me on the ekg and were watching it going no that's not right and gave me a shot of ativan to calm me. Within two minutes the numbers started slowly dropping until my heart was back to normal. Doc said if it was true vtac that ativan would not have brought it back to normal. I am just very confused right now about it all. I know my hormones are changing right now because I am finally losing all the extra hair that being pregnant gives you. I keep hoping that all this is related to my hormones readjusting. Thanks for all your input. All of you have been wonderful.
Avatar universal
It is hard not to fixate on your heart when its doing things that you know does not usually happen. Would anyone happen to know what your heart rate can get up to with a panic/anxiety attack? Thanks all, Traci
Avatar universal
It's easy to understand how so many of you are worried about your heart as I've also had anxiety in the past. However, I do suffer from a cardiac condition. I would suggest not wasting anymore time on these heart obsessions. Anyone of us could die at any given time, why worry about what you don't have control over?

If you are having symptoms that prevent you from living a normal life, I would suggest having a good look over (ECG, ECHO, HOLTER, and BLOOD WORK). If those studies are normal, look into other causes for your pain. Some people suffer from inappropriate sinus tachycardia, a condition that is interrelated with panic attacks and a host of other symptoms. Also be sure to look over your family history for both cardiac and mental disorders.

Best of luck to you all
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