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Avatar universal

Ongoing Palpitations

I have a few questions about ongoing palpitations and trying to understand the etiology of them. In particular, PAC's. I delevoped these PAC's this past fall. They come and go and can get quite frequent at times. I have seen a cardiologist (an EP doc) and had an event monitor, bloodwork, and an echo stress test. The PAC's were determined basically benign. But I feel anything but "benign" when they pop up. I'll admit that there is  some anxiety involved when they do occur but otherwise I do not have any issues with anxiety.
Could the palpitations be at all related to Epstein Barr virus?
I tested positive with "recent primary infection" after looking into a possible case of Mono and ongoing fatigue last May.
How and why are PAC's hormonally related to women? The EP doc indicated that he sees a lot of menopausal women with PAC's. I am not menopausal but I am 34 and just recently completely stopped breastfeeding. The PAC's seem to be related to my monthly cycle. But I have never experienced anything like this in the 20 years of having menstrual cycles so why now?
Also, I am told over and over that people have these all the time and I probably have too and I am just more aware of them now. There is NO WAY that I just "became aware" of these PAC's. I am not doubting that I ever have had them but I guarentee that I have never had them like now.
When I get the flare ups of PAC's, it is not just the "skipped beat" feeling that concerns me. I also feel very fatigued, dizzy, and discomfort in my chest area. I get sort of an "aura" and can tell they're coming. What is this?
39 Responses
Avatar universal
You are definitely not alone.  I am 37 years old and I, too, have suffered from these premature beats on and off for years now.  I think they started in my early 20's.  Initially, they were infrequent, I had normal tests, and I was reassured that they were benign.  Eventually, they became more frequent and I started taking a small dose of beta blocker (Inderal) as needed to control them.  I found that a small dose (just 10 mg) usually worked very well for me.  Then, the amount of stress in my life increased when I went to medical school.  I began taking a daily dose of Atenolol to control my palpitations and, generally, I would say that it worked very well.  I still had the occasional "skipping" feeling and the occasional episode of persistent premature beats, but they were pretty manageable.  Around the time I graduated, I had an increase in symptoms that responded to increasing my medication dose.  Recently, I have been going through a rough patch with them again.  I have had them every day for a couple of weeks and have had several days where they were so persistent that I could hardly force myself to function normally.  I had a Holter monitor last week (still waiting for the results to come back) and am having a repeat echo today.  Medications are not helping as much as they usually do.  I have been reading the comments here because I have always found it comforting to know that other people have these, too.  I finally decided to share my own experience to reinforce that all of you are not alone and you are not crazy for finding these sensations so disturbing.  I am a doctor (pediatrician).  I have had these for years now.  I have been told over and over that they are not dangerous.  Logically, I know that premature beats in a normal, healthy heart are actually quite common and generally do not cause problems.  In the hospital, we commonly see patients having occasional PAC's and PVC's on EKG's and monitors and we usually do not worry about them at all.  Most people don't even know they are there.  However, knowing all this doesn't make it any easier  to tolerate them when they are bad/frequent.  They feel so awful and make me anxious and completely exhausted.  I wish I had a magic cure for all of us.  Thank you all for sharing your stories.  Hang in there and work on doing your best to relax.
Avatar universal
Although I feel like my PAC's are hormonally related or even initiated by hormones, they have come for no rhyme or reason and follow the same pattern that you have described. since I have only had them since about OCT/NOV I am still trying to associate them with something as well. But I have had the same exact pattern that you describe. Maybe they should put us all in a big room and do a study!
Avatar universal
I was having regular heartbeats also. Two years ago, I found myself in intensive care because of this. My heart was also racing at 170 beats per minute. I was sweating, had pain in my throat and not my chest. I remained calm, but had two heart catheters. One in my chest and leg. I had no blockages. I was finally "diagnosed" (notice the quotation marks)with right ventricular dysplasia and ventricular tachycardia. I was assigned a new Dr. in town and this eager beaver of a Dr. said you can drop dead because what you have is what an athlete has and he drops dead while exercising. This nice Dr. brought in his salesman to pressure me to have a device planted into my heart that woud start my heart again if it stopped. I was horrifed. I told him I did not want to live like a robot the rest of my life and sure didn't want to experience the horror of feeling as if I had been kicked in the chest by a mule(the dr.'s description of the device) when the device detected my heart had stopped. The Dr. was furious at me and sent me home. I changed to another Dr. shortly after and this Dr. felt that if I had been told that I needed the device, then just take it, but he humored me and I asked him what else could be done. He suggested the only other thing I could do was to get a heart MRI, which is the most effective thing for seeing if my heart had any damage. This town, Amarillo, Texas, did not have a Heart MRI and I was sent to Dallas. Baylor Medical center did the Heart MRI and, GUESS WHAT? I did not have what I was diagnosed with. I was very angry that I was about to have the rest of my life changed by a wrong diagnosis. I was told that an ablation(sp?)for the irregular beats or could take medication would fix the problem. I took the medication and after a time, the fast beats and irregular beats left and have not been back. All I am saying is, do not take what a Dr. says a face value. Get a second or even a 3rd opinion just as I did. I got a 3rd opinion even when the 2nd Dr. said, "I guess you can keep going until you find someone who will tell you what you want to hear. That Dr. had to eat his words when the heart MRI came back to him and he said, I have to say you made the right decision when you decided to not have that device. WE WERE WRONG!!!! Remember, Dr.s are human and do not have the answer. Sometimes we need to listen to our own common sense and not let fear drive us to go against what we feel deep down inside.
Avatar universal

What a great story! That it is why is so important to have second or even third opinions and the correct testing to aid in a true diagnosis. You followed your heart and also your head, with that combination proven you right you have a right to be merry!!
Avatar universal
I wrote a message yesterday on here and if some people cal read it and tell me what they think it would help out alot..But see i have a regular heart beat like 80bpm but when its normal i can still feel my heart beat sometimes, depends on if i am worrying, anxiety or whatever..Then sometimes it will just pound fast then slow back down after a minute..had tests done and they came back fine, but it aint fine until this stuff stops happening..They say its all about anxiety for me, which i did start to take Paxil cr and its helping a bit..If i had one wish it would be to stop being able to feel my heart beat because its so annoying and drives me crazy...Pat!!
Avatar universal
Like you, I (and some health professionals I have met) also wonder about the relationship between my chronic infection of Epstein Barr and my arrhythmia.  I am currently using some antivirals (not pharmaceuticals).  Another possible root cause that some researchers and practitioners suspect is heavy metal toxicity.  To pursue this I have just undergone a (urine) test following IV DMPS (which, I am told, is an amino-acid-like substance that chelates especially mercury).

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