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Chest 'thumps'

  Hi all.  I'm a 26 year old male.  Since I was 19, I have had these occasional sensations I can only describe as 'thumps.'  It feels as though my heart literally flops.  While they only happen every now and then, they can be scary.  Usually they occur after I climb up some stairs, but have also happened while I was doing nothing.  Sometimes I get lightheaded and short of breath.  I have been to the doctor (numerous occasions) seeking answers.  They have (at 19 and 23) given me ekg, stress, a 24-hour monitor, and once did a sonogram (to check the valves?).  All tests came back normal.  The doctors seem to say 'panic attack' in the end.  I haven't been to the doctor in a good while now for fear of crying wolf.  Is this something I should follow-up, or has anyone faced similar experiences?
  Thanks in advance,
Dear Tom,
What you are describing is typical of PVC's.  The thump is not actualy the PVC but is due to the prolonged filling time of the next heartbeat resulting in a forceful contraction.  This is nothing to be concerned about and is very common.  (My next door neighbor came by complaining of the same thing the other day).
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies.  Please feel free to write back with additional questions.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.  The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.

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