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Heart Skips and Gastric Reflux

I have noticed that virtually every time I experience episodes of heart skips I also experience episodes of gastric reflux, including substantial stomach gas. When I contain the reflux (via Zantac, Gaviscon liquid, etc.), the heart skips stop. I have been thoroughly tested for for both symptoms and neither is serious. My question: Is there clinical evidence yet that links or explains the connection between these two symptoms? (e.g., Evidence that an irritated esophagus can cause heart skips.)Thanks for your help on this.
23 Responses
Avatar universal
Many patients report this connection anecdotally. However, there is no good scientific evidence that there is a relationship. Nevertheless, reflux should be treated to prevent damage to the esophagus, and if it also decreases PVCs, that would be good too.
Avatar universal
I too, if you read my post right after yours, have had bad stomach gas with heart flutters, both happen all the time, so can't say one starts the other, but do have both. gas so bad, i belch and rummble all the time!! They have found nothing after months of tests. aciphex cut down on gas a lot.nancyjo
Avatar universal
I to have the same gastro/palpitation problem. With all the posts over the internet it appears to me there is a definite link.

There are two types of Dr's. The Dr. who strictly goes by the book and until that book is changed will not commit to the undocumented. Avoid these.

There are other Dr's that listen to their patients with an open mind. If they see enough occurences of what you complain about they will believe you. I have a Cardiologist & GI Dr. that totally agree that GI problems effect the heart. They treated me with acid reduction meds and it is now under control. If I stop the meds or eat the wrong food my problem returns.
Avatar universal
I don't usually have pvc's, but I, too, have heart skips whenever I have indigestion and bouts of gas.  There is no doubt that there is a connection.  It's the only time that when I take my heart rate (on the neck) that I notice there are skips.  It can be very frightening, but in my case that's the only time it happens.
Avatar universal
I have suffered from "benign" PVC's for a few years but have never had any symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, reflux, etc. that were severe enough to believe there might be a connection.  Recently the PVC's became so frequent (several thousand each day) and I spent a sleepless night where my heart literally felt like it was flopping around my chest all night long that I was desperate to try something, anything!  After reading a previous post on this site, I tried taking an over the counter antacid medicine (mylanta) and my PVC's improved dramatically!  At first I thought it was a coincidence, but now each time the PVC's are really bothering me, I have taken the antacid and the PVC's were either greatly reduced or gone altogether!  I don't understand with so many people reporting a connection between their pvc's and stomach problems, that doctor's still won't consider it may be true.
Avatar universal
At last, I am not going nuts.I have suffered from PVCs for the last 8yrs annd everytime I get Gastric Reflux without fail.I have had many ECGs when things have got bad,but as many of you will know by the time you have reached the ER they have resided.24hr tapes have also shown no unusual abnormalities.I am at present trying difrent medications from the chemist and plan to see the Doctor next week ,as the PVCs are becoming more fequent.I am convinced that there is a relationship between stomach and heart. I am at present on Sotolol 40mgs twice daily,and all these seem to do is supress them slightly.Any comments most welcome.
Avatar universal
I'll agree that there is some kind of connection between Gastic Reflux/Heartburn and PVCs and lots of internal gas.. although I have yet to find a Doctor who will agree or admit there is a connection except for one surgeon friend of mine who says it's a "possibility."

I am on Prilosec 40mg/day for chronic heartburn, have radically altered my diet in the past few months to try to remove all spicey foods, all alcohol, caffiene, carbonated beverages, basically *anything* that can cause heartburn.  Even though Prilosec is supposed to "shut off" about 95% of stomach acid production, I still get a burning beneath my breastbone.  

The only "heart" symptoms I have seem to be the occasional skipped/extra beat business.  Usually lying down and trying to relax will calm them down.  I don't get them constantly all day but it seems they are more related to being bloated/full of gas with that "have to go" sensation.

I also suffer from anxiety/depression/OCD/agoraphobia/panic attacks (In other words, I'm a freakin' mess!).. and this has been going on for 10-15 years and am finally going to see a shrink next week to get something done about it.  I live alone and am self-employed so my person-to-person contact is limited to friends coming over, shopping, and that sort of thing.

But the PVCs are very worrisome.. it seems worrying about them causes more of them.  Some days I will feel fine and go without any at all. Other days, just the opposite.  But I notice a definite relationship to the skipped/missed beats and being bloated/gassy.

I might also mention that I am 51, and my brother, who is 46, has identical symptoms.  He wore a telephonic heart monitor for a month late last year, recorded every strange heartbeat, and the result was: nothing wrong.  Just anxiety/stress.  We have an elderly mother who really knows how to lay on the guilt as thick as cake frosting, and feel she is the cause of most of this.  I don't have rapid pulses.. my pulse is typically 60-ish to high 70-ish.  Every time I've had my BP checked at the Doctor's office it's been in the 140/80 range and I was told "that's fine."

But I am somehow convinced that gastro/reflux/heartburn/anxiety/stress and these PVCs are inter-related.. I am hoping that seeing a shrink for my problems and getting some kind of SSRI medication will get me out of this syndrome.. I feel like I have lost control of my well-being..

Does this sound familiar to anyone else?  


Avatar universal

Oh there is an absolute scientific corrilation to stomach acid
and pvc's. Coffee is bad not so much for the caffiene but more for creating stomach acid. If you have beats, you should be taking at Pepcid AC daily. See acid base rx influence electrical impulses. The aggitated vegus nerve could supply enough energy to cause beats. Please do not take beta blockers etc. not vert effective. Bland food , no coffee , cholcolate , tea is better.
Eat less , better to be half empty that to full , don't over eat.
The less stress on the digestive system the better.
I can't remember the barbituate used for epilepsy , the old inexpensive one... my god I'm getting old. BUT that will be highly effective with beats. It really does not make you tired..
Nitrates are bad also. So don't over eat , eat good healthy foods
, do not stuff at night , that can lead to beats all the next day.No hot food at all. (spicy). The beats will go away if you take the epilepsy drug , however valium and benzodiazapines will not work... and doctors today would have a hard time prescribing it. You should focus on the digestive system when beating the beats , and lose weight in manyu cases that will work. Eat dinner
a medium dinner and thats it , no midnight snacks. Eat eggs
for breakfast , eat light in general and in a couple of weeks you will see the beats go away.

Thank You,
Avatar universal
HI.I am 27 years old and have been experiencing heart skips(PVC) for about 8 months.
I am so disgusted that there is not more information for people experiencing these types of overwhelming cardiac arythimias.
you would think your doctor would have more to say than "it is nothing to worry about, they are benign"
I disagree.......benign in an immediate sense...but the expense you pay psychologicaly is definitely not benign.
I also experience serious gas during my PVC.
I am currenly wearing a holter monitor and had an echo performed yesterday.
the tech said she saw the PVC i was having...but I was not feeling the ones she saw.
thank god I have had some while i have ben wearing the monitor...so everyone does not think I am insane.
well.....i am just upset period. sorry for ranting.

Avatar universal
It's interesting that there are so many sites regarding palpatations and GERD.I have been on Tambacor and Verapermil for about 6 months for Afib and flutter. I haven't been bothered with either since adjusting the dosage over several months. (knock wood) I have also had very typical symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease. I take Zantac prn for this and the hiatal hernia I have been diagnosed with. I just got in from seeing a gastroentrologist who is going to perform several tests to see how bad it is. I told her about the Afib and asked her if she thought there might be a connection (I have thought so for several months.) She agreed and said she has heard of this often in her practice. My EP(cardiologist) says there might be a connection. In closing, it seems more and more Drs are allowing that there is a possibility that Afib and GERD are somehow connected. Finding the right dr could save you a lot of grief, time and money.
Avatar universal
I posted earlier in this thread (see above)..

I saw a psychiatrist (M.D.) on Monday and he diagnosed me with depression/anxiety/stress/OCD.. in other words, I'm a freakin' mess.. he felt my persistant heartburn, (I'm on Prilosec for that and he told me I could double my dosage from 40mg/day to 80mg/day if I wanted to..).. occasional PVCs, and all of it were ALL stress-related (family situation, financial situation, I won't get into it..)..

He put me on Celexa, an anti-depressant (http://www.celexa.com) a Seratonin regulator.. and told me to my face that occasional non-painful PVCs are *definitely* related to hiatal hernia/heartburn/stress/anxiety and are most likely totally benign.. just scary.. your mileage may vary.

My BP is typically 120-ish to 140-ish over 65-ish to 75-ish, pulse typically 65-75.  (I bought an OMRON brand "Intellisense Wrist BP/Heartbeat monitor a couple weeks ago and use it a couple times a day..)..

Seeing a shrink for the first time in my life was actually a very pleasant experience, and I'm glad I did it.  I also have a book called "Symptoms" (can't remember the Doctor's name who wrote it, but it's commonly available) and looked up irregular heartbeats in it and his comments about occasional PVCs are very reassuring.. they can in and of themselves induce panic, which induces more PVCs.. a vicious cycle. He says constantly taking one's own heartbeat is completely unnecessary and that people who do it become consumed with doing it, thinking something is "not right."  

I've tried for a week to start a NEW thread on this Board to get one of the Doctors to reply directly to me, since they won't reply to replies, but every time I try, it tells me the Board has already gotten its share of new postings for the day, so how you people manage to get in and start a new thread is beyond me.. very frustrating.. anyway, that's my story.. waiting to see if 20mg of Celexa daily each evening will straighten out my stress/anxiety and reduce the freakin' PVCs..

Any/all comments welcome especially from anyone with a similar story to tell..


Avatar universal
Hi Harv:  I read your post and under other topics in this forum I have recommended a book entitled "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weeks.   I have had anxiety, panic attacks, all types of heart sensations, and horrendous heartburn, etc.   Although these physical symptoms are nothing to sneeze at, your head does have a lot to do with how you feel and react.  Before you invest time and money with a psychiatrist, do yourself a favor and invest the $7 or $8 for the paperback.  It is easy to read and the most help I've had through all of this stuff.  Good luck!
Avatar universal


Thanks for the book suggestion.. I'll get it.  I appreciate all the help I can get, although sessioning with the Shrink really did help me quite a bit, to have a professional MD listen and suggest, and he told me quite a few things about myself that I didn't really know or understand.. there are just some situations that you get locked into that you simply can NOT work out by yourself no matter how you try to rationalize/justify your way out of them.. so while Shrinks aren't cheap, I have no problem paying his price if it helps straighten out my mind, and results in getting rid of these symptoms..  I've been dealing with them for over ten years and with the convincing of friends, decided to take this step.. I don't regret it..


Avatar universal
I am positive that my heart problems are related to caused by my stomach.  If you look at a diagram of the nervous system, you will see that the Vegas nerve has a direct conection between the heart and the stomach.  Almost everytime I have had a PVC I have also experienced Gastro Intestinal problems.  It was getting so bad that I was having a hard time functioning.  I was drinking gavascon by the gallon and the Zantac was not working.  I have finally found relief from acupunture. I felt better after my first treatment and can't wait to get my second.  My acupuncturist did not look at me with a glassy eyed stare when I told him that my stomach was causing my heart to get all screwy.  In fact he agreeded with me.  So my advice to you all is to find yourself a good acupunturist.  Don't just go to the first one you see in the yellow pages.  Find one with a good reputation and hopefully you will have the same results I have had.  

Avatar universal
I am 31 and have gastric reflux bad. I also have skipped heart beats, thump beats, quivers, and flutters in my heart.  I am also diagnosed with anxiety dissorder. It seems that all three of these things seem to be frequent in arrithmia sufferers. I don't know if the arrithmias are from the anxiety or gastric reflux, because I remember as a child around 5 years of age having the skipped beats and flutterings in my heart on occassion. I did not have anxiety or gastric reflux at this time. Could the arrithmias have caused the reflux and anxiety disorder? It is scary but my doctors say it is nothing to worry about. I also have a Grandmother that is 87 years old and she says her heart has skipped beats all her life and she doesn't have a pacemaker or hasn't had by pass surgery or anything wrong with her heart. She was just now recently told her arteries are clogged and I believe the doctor said he wasn't going to do surgery. So my question is are flutters and quivers and skipped heart beats life threatening? Thanks Ted
Avatar universal
I have also been experiencing these skipped, or ectopic, beats.  I actually did not realize that my heart was skipping beats at first-- I just noticed an occasional (about 10 to 15 times a day)fluttering in my chest that was accompanied by a split second of feeling suffocated.  It wasn't until I put my fingers on my pulse while lying in bed that I noticed that every time I had a flutter, my heart would not beat.  It would resume beating normally after a second or two.  The fluttering almost feels like a small spasm in my chest.  I am due to see a doctor this afternoon about this condition to see if I should be worried about it, but I am glad to see that I am not the only one suffering from this annoying, if nothing else, condition.
Avatar universal
I have Gastro Reflux and they supposedly ballooned a stricture in the esopahgus 2 months ago.  This stricture is also supposedly back (perhaps the doc never did balloon this)  But, I am now experiencing for the past 2 weeks..every day, a 3 hour long severe heart irregularitie episodes.  They are so bad that I get dizzy with them and when they start, my left arm all the way to the fingers feel funny.  I agree about the possibility that the Vagas nerve which travels from the heart down to the stomach may be the culprit.  I see a Cardio man next week amd am scard to death that he will not connect the stomach problem and do invasive testings.
Avatar universal
I read that book over 15 years ago and still use her advise when I get myself worked up over something.  She saved me.  I was afraid to go out of the house because of my heart skipping around so often.  Her book is now in my closet (worn out) and I am free from anxiety attacks!
Avatar universal

I want to post the single most cogent paragraph about "Skipped Heartbeats" that I have so far found in Dr. Claire Weekes' wonderful book "Hope and Help For Your Nerves", which is still in print and available wherever you buy paperback books..

Page 50.


A nervously tired heart, a heart stimulated by too much alcohol, nicotine, caffeine (coffee, tea), irritated by indigestion, will sometimes "miss" beats.  The stufferer descri bes it as "missing" beats, although no beat is actually missed.  The heartbeats are merely spaced unevenly.  The patient feels as if his heart turns over and a tickling sensation catches him in the throat.  He may cough and stand still, wondering what will happen next.

"Missed" beats are in no way dangerous, and your heart will not stop because of them.  They are annoying, but that is all. Exercise abolishes them.  So do not let "missed" beats frighten you into lying on the couch again.  Most people over forty have "missed" beagts now and then.  Many young people have them.  THEY ARE NOT IMPORTANT."


Note: I am not a doctor, and I am not giving you medical advice.  I am a stressed out person and this book is absolutely the best book about getting over stress, anxiety, and its myriad of symptoms generated by it, that I have ever read.  It reads as though Dr. Weekes is sitting next to you talking directly to YOU.

You WILL FIND YOURSELF AND FIND COMFORT AND SOLACE AND HELP IN THIS BOOK if you believe you are stressed and have anxiety/panic disorder, agoraphobia, other phobias, OCD, or any of the other very common modern problems associated with those disorders.

I am now on Celexa, an SSRI, for my anxiety and stress RXd by a Psychiatrist.  It is helping me more than I can explain.  This book is a wonderful adjunct to Celexa.  I am starting to feel like a real person again.

If you feel your extra/missed/skipped beats are being caused by anxiety and stress, do not wait ONE more day.. see an MD Psychiatrist and talk to him about SSRIs, and buy Dr. Weekes' book, and I PROMISE you you will come back here and thank me..

Good luck and good health to all of you..

Avatar universal
Hi Harv:  I am so glad that you bought, read and got something out of Dr. Weeks' book.  As I told you in a previous post, this book saved my sanity and straightened me right out - after years of anxiety and panic.  I can truly say that I am finally at peace.  Seems that you and the post after you also feel the same.  Good Luck! - Mary Linda
Avatar universal
Hi, I'm new to this forum so please bear with me... It is interesting to note that you all are calling these missed beats PVC's. The feeling of a missed beat can be caused by two areas of the heart. A pvc is a premature ventricular contraction originating from the bottom half of the heart and a PAC which is a premature atrial contraction originates from the top part of the heart. A "missed" beat is actually an early heart beat which I believe someone mentioned and it doesn't generate a palpable pulse because the heart doesn't have enough time to fill. If you are having pvc's they are usually not serious if always originating from the same area of the heart...it's when they come from different focal points that there may be some concern and you can only tell this by observing them on holter monitoring or ECG. More commonly, pac's occur, generally not life threatening. All irregular heart beats should be analysed by a physician of course!!! Self diagnosis is a scary thing, why...because you may miss something OR you may worry yourself that something is more serious than it really is. You should try being a nurse...you know ... too much knowledge etc, etc, etc :-)
Avatar universal
A related discussion, heart health related to intestinal health? was started.
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A related discussion, Can papitations cause pain? was started.
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