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Avatar universal

frequency of pappitations increasing

I am a 33 year old female. I Have been experiencing palpitations for 8 days. Initially, it occured early in the morning and only lasted for a minute. However, the palpitations are now occuring several times a day.  Sometimes I feel as if my heart is in my throat. They occur when I am at rest or when I change positions.I am currently taking adalat XL 30 mg for high blood pressure. I have one functioning kidney. I am currently overweight.However, I have recently lost 20 lbs due change in diet and exercise. I monitor my blood pessure at home and have noticed that  since the weight loss it has been consistently low ( in the range of 95/55). I am wonderiing if the palpiations can be related to my blood pressure being lower than usual. Approx. one month ago I was frequently feeling dizzy, however that doesnt occur anymore. also. I used to smoke,however quit approx. 6 weeks ago.

Thank you for taking the time to review my question.
26 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear Marie,
Lower blood pressure does not usually cause palpitations.  Electrolyte abnormalities, which may be increased in someone with only one kidney, do increase palpitations.  You may wish to have your doctor do some basic lab work to make sure your electrolytes are within normal limits.

P.S. Congratulations on quitting smoking!  This is the single best thing you could do for your health.
Avatar universal
Hi Til,
I can imagine what you're going through.  Just like you, I've been having LOTS of skipped beats in the past week.  Nothing new, I've had a couple of bouts like this before.  This time I even had a Holter monitor.  And I didn't get a satisfactory explanation!  I charted almost 40 sensations of skipped beats in 24 hrs.  But the Report just noted 13 PACs, and little else.  Said I had Predominant Sinus Rhythm, any my entries coincided with periods of Sinus Tachycardia.  Funny, I put my hand on my neck and feel my pulse.  If I catch a skipped beat, there's a pause and usually returns to the earlier steady beat (often below 100).  In fact lately it's been slower than usual, maybe 72bpm.  Checked my blood pressure at the pharmacy, it's normal.  Last year I had this problem, and got blood and urine tests...all normal.  I do have Acid Reflux, and I'll bet you noticed several folks here have that too.

Here's what I learned from posts, out of all the non-serious (?) contributors of skipped beats:  Caffeine, alcohol, certain meds, smoking, stomach/acid reflux trouble, anemia, calcium deposits (cholesterol?), STRESS, sleep deprivation, mitral prolapse valve, menopausal changes, low blood sugar, nutrient/electrolyte imbalances (low on magnesium, potassium, etc), and dehydration.  There's probably some I left out.  No I'm not a physician, just stating some info I found.  I've read that sometimes these nutrients/herbs can help:  Hawthorn, magnesium, potassium, CoQ10, chromium, carrot and spinach juice.  I've been trying some of these...too early to tell what helps.   This sounds disgusting, but perhaps there's stagnant waste in the colon, and an enema could help?  I was very constipated (and straining) right before this latest bout of arrhythmias came on.  I've read posts from others that had the same occurence.

Anyone out there with more advice?
Avatar universal
Hi Nancy, I've also experienced an occassional skipped beat from the age of 23. I'm 27 now, 5' 11", athletic for most my life and usually exercise about 5-6 times per week.  I'm also not a Doctore but have seen 2 Cardio's in the last 2 years with a battery of test. On my 2nd 24HOUR Holter Monitor they found 1 Ectopic Beat. I usually will feel one about 1-2 per month sometimes 1 in a day and nothing for a month etc... I'm also a personal fitness trainer and have done extensive reading on posts, medical journals, web sites, books, etc... You're advice is excellent in Diet and Exerciss and STRESS RELIEF IS NO.1.  I'm only cautioning HAWTHORN BERRY AND CQ-10 Enzyme.  You can find reference in many current books on Herbs and Natuaral Medications at your local book store like Chapters etc. Though the Hawthorn Berry Extract has the relative antioxidants to help support heart muscle tissue it could also increase the occurance of skipped heart beats! I know that it's supposed to help but in my case I found it made things worse! The best alternative, don't go over board is Cranberry Juice, Strawberry, Blueberries... Cranberry carry the same antioxidant in a small concentration as do the Hawthorn berry and extracts.  CQ-10 enzyme studies on CHF patients are not clear whether the CQ-10 supplements are supportive because studies are short and patients are given a number of other medications. Reference at the American Heart & Stroke Foundation Official Web Site.  Also with book reference, CQ-10 supplements with streneous exercise could actually cause damage to heart tissue according to the side effects of this supplement as I have read.  Clear yourself first with your Cardio, then follow a rational exercise, relaxation and diet routine. This will help! Feel free to email alex_dolgonos***@****

Avatar universal
Alex, Seriously...I mean, about the Hawthorn?  I've been taking quite a bit, as a tincture and in a tea mixture.  Hmmmmm......This is the first time I've heard of it making skipped beats worse!  But if you've read this or had personal experience, then I wonder if I have an adverse reaction.  Just started taking the CoQ10.  As an experiment I'll put both of these on the back shelf, and see what happens.  But I'm still taking the other vitamins and minerals, like magnesium/calcium , potassium (through food) etc.

Incidentally, my skipped beats are worse today, as often as every 2-5 minutes, a real depressing thing.
Avatar universal
I too am on the West Coast and hve Kaiser as my HMO. I took verapamil, atenolol and then lopressor for PVc's None helped the PVC's. WIth Verapamil I got very depressed and constipated. Atenolol  my bp and heart rate were very low. I still got the PVC's but hey wer more like a sinking feeling in my chest and th epause was extra long. With lopressor  I felt like I was having an asthma attack which I have never had in my life before.
Avatar universal

Your comment about Atenolol is very interesting.  Since my resting heart rate is fairly low, I wonder if that's why I really feel these skipped beats so strongly.  

Does anyone else out there have both HARD skipped beats/PVC's (pulsing into your stomach, with that dropping feeling) AND a low pulse?  If your pulse is faster, do you feel the intensity of the PVC's less?  

This Forum is a Godsend to all of us...Thank You to the folks who make it possible.
Avatar universal
Regarding palpitations, I have about 6,000 a day now. Last December my holter showed three in a 24 hour period. When I had another holter in March, it was something like 677 skipped beats in 24 hours. Another holter in July showed 1,127 in a 24 hour period. My last one last month only had 877, a mild day. They've progressed terribly, no reason why. I will tell all you fellow suffers out there, do NOT be afraid of verapamil or tenormin. I am taking a combination of these, my EP doctor prescribed 120 SR verapamil and 75 mg of tenormin, 25 mg three times a day. I feel like a new person after starting the verapamil yesterday. I still have some skipped beats to deal with this may be just a case of adjusting the dosage of these meds, or he may add something else, etc...but I don't FEEL them like I did. My chest isn't jumping and pounding. So far, no side effects at all with either drug. Don't give up without a fight, it took me eight months to find a good doctor who knew what he was doing. If you are suffering palpitations, skipped beats, whether it's PVC's or PAC's or atrial fibrillation etc. you NEED an electrophysiologist. It's a specialized field of cardiology. My regular cardio told me NOT to take verapamil, that it wasn't my heart causing all this trouble, it was stress, it was my esophagus, it was sugar, it was ANYTHING but my heart. Finally after pestering him for two months he reluctantly sent me to this EP doctor. Guess I don't have to add the NEW doctor is my permanent doctor now. I wish everyone lots of luck and don't give up hope, keep trying. God Bless all!
Avatar universal
Hi there,

Laurie, had your medication changed your heartbeat rate?  I'd like to know...here's why:

Yesterday it seemed my skipped beats had a mind and clock of their own.  They started coming at almost regular intervals, one or two every 3-5 minutes, for several hours!  No rhyme or reason why they do this. (They still do). Anyway I couldn't hardly sleep last night, full of stress and anxiety about these semi-predictable skipped beats.  (They got better as I lay in bed, but not completely gone).  Plus I could just lay on my back, as turning on my usual side or stomach made things worse.

This morning, I got up disgusted, and thought Forget This, I'm calling my HMO (Kaiser).  Since it's Sunday, I couldn't see my physician.  So they sent me to a nearby hospital, ER. I got in, and they hooked me to a monitor, for maybe 1 1/2hrs.  Yes, they caught several skipped beats (happening further apart, maybe every 5-20 minutes).  They did a chest X-Ray and lab work, and EKG, which just missed a skipped beat.

Finally, the doctor came. He said I was having PVC's.  The lab work came back normal (except CO2 was a bit low, and some LD level was a bit high).  He said the chest x-ray was fine.  I had no unstable angina, which is what they looked for.  Good news, as far as this goes.

He just believed I was under a lot of stress, but assured me that my PVC's are not lif-threatening.  HOWEVER, that didn't comfort me in finding a solution/treatment for the PVC symptoms...feeling like everytime a beat skips, I just dropped off a big roller coaster!  A very unpleasant sensation when you're trying to relax!  Especially when you have them every few minutes, all day or evening.

Okay, here's my question.  This doctor WOULD NOT perscribe any anti-arrhythmic.  Why not?  He says it would slow down my heart rate.  At rest it was around 64...he said it would fall below this, if I take meds.  All he would perscribe is Zantac for my reflux, and Halcion for sleeping remedy.

Is this true?  Anybody?

I'd like to hear from the Doctors on this one.  I'm on the West Coast and can never seem to post a question.  These PVC's are a REAL DISTURBANCE for me now. How can I deal with these very unpleasant symptoms?  I still think it's caused by more than stress, I wonder if hormones are unbalanced?  I'm 40, my menstrual cycles come sooner, and I do get sweats and have to go to the bathroom (urinate) often.
Avatar universal
I take atenolol and it can pull your heart rate pretty low.  I got a shock to find mine was 46 one time sitting working at my desk when i know it's normally 60-something
Avatar universal
Atrial premature depolarizations (commonly referred to as PACs, APCs, "skips", and incorrectly termed as PVCs by many in this forum...PVCs are premature ventricular contractions, and can also be generated as described herein) are generally caused by electrical noise emanating from normally isolated specialized cardiac tissue.  These foci (locations) are often found in the connections of the pulmonary veins to the top and back of the heart. There are a whole host of reasons, many known, that precipitate their activity (which is largely electrical, sometimes accompanied by a nervous, vibrational feeling deep in the chest).  Once they get started, the APDs follow.  Their frequency and intensity depends upon odd things like posture, physical activity, HR (low heart rates are a bit more sensitive).  If they get really intense (many times a minute) and your heart is susceptible, they can lead to atrial fibrillation.

There are drugs that can make the atria less sensitive to the PV foci,  and there are ablative techniques which can toast the PV foci.  Depending on the severity of the symptoms you use drugs or get an ablation.

I have had such an ablation which removed one of many PV foci and cured me of atrial fib.  The remaining PV foci are busy causing some "skips" ... anywhere from 1 to 6 per minute, each and every day.  I am an active soccer player and have learned to ignore these "skips" (this was not easy, since they also occur during play which presents itself as a huge psychological hurdle).  Someday, when either things get worse or the methods get safer, I'll have the remaining foci ablated.  Life is too short to be overly concerned about a skipping heart, once you learn what causes it and how it can be treated.

If I can play competitive soccer with this condition, you can safely assume you'll make it to the next day with it.

Avatar universal
Just reading all of these comments can you tell me what these PVC's you describe feel like. You said you can feel it in your stomach is it just a pulse you feel? I get that all the time or is it like your heart is turning over and you actually feel the skipping sensation? Thanks so much Jean
Avatar universal
The feeling that skips impart can vary depending upon body type, blood pressure, etc.  Some people hardly notice them, others feel every exquisite vibration that they impart.  Basically, a skip results in a overfull ventricle which empties on the next available beat.  When this happens, you can feel it as a brief pressure up into your throat.  The vibrations come from the extra turbulence due to the extra blood volume, and these can be felt from your throat down to your abdomen.  

Depending upon the timing of the skip, you can sometimes feel them during an inhalation or exhalation as a sudden but brief loss of breath...this gets very disconcerting, expecially if you are exercising at the moment.

Bottom line:  They are unpleasant sensations, and it takes a great deal of mental effort to ignore them. The mind is a funny thing...if you learn to ignore them, they seem to go away (but do they really?)...so, since you're not sure, you start paying attention, and you find some are still there (or did they come back because you paid attention and got a bit nervous?).  

Since they are not considered life-threatening, then it's your job to ignore them, as the alternative is to run yourself into the ground by worrying about them.

Good luck.

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