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Excercise induced heart issue

I posted this in the heart disease section (got a couple of responses) and just realized there is a Heart Rhythm section so am reposting hoping to catch additional experts in this forum.

I just had an re-occurrence of an issue I had 6 months ago which lasted about 4 months.

I am an avid cyclist in excellent shape (ride 4 days a week, rest pulse ~ 40). Two weeks ago I did a 130mile ride with 15,000ft of climbing in high altitude with no problem. Last Saturday while riding up a hill I had a weird sensation in my chest (same as I did 6 months ago). My heart rate was around 165 and all of a sudden I felt a "weakness" (feels like a loss of pressure)  in my chest, my breathing became difficult and weakness set in within 10 seconds of the sensation. I slowed down considerably (almost stopped) and my heart rate would not drop as it normally would...it stayed around 165. Eventually after about 45 seconds the weakness feeling suddenly subsided and I noticed my pulse rapidly drop from the 160 range to about 120 within 15 seconds. At that point I felt strong again...and continued on my ride. However, same thing happened on the next hill. There is no pain with this situation.

Two days later, the same situation happened on my next ride. It seems once my heart rate reaches around 160-165...the situation re-occurs.

If I keep my heart rate below 145...I would never know I have this issue….it only happens when I push my heart.

I have been to cardiologist and arrhythmia specialist last time this happened...they were unable to identify the problem.

Any help would be appreciated.

1 Responses
Avatar universal
I am a cyclist also and have experienced symptoms similar to yours during anaerobic efforts.  In my case me heart rate jumped up to 220 for a few seconds and then recovered.  I have been treated for what is called "paroxsymal afib"  which means I recover without needed a conversion.  At times I also experience PVC's and other heart rate irregularities.  When this happens you will see your heart rate monitor jump around rather than the usual slow regular increase in rate.  

These problems can be confirmed with a 24 hour Holter monitor and I did not see in your post that you have been through this test. The Holter is basically a recording of every heartbeat for 24 hours.   Once you are connected just ride as  hard as possible to replicate the event. The exercise stress tests that I have been through do not seem to be capable of getting the heart rate to a level that will bring on these things.  In my case they stop the test well below my lactate threshold.  There is no warm up and I think these events are more likely when you are somewhat dehydrated such as after a few hours of hard riding.

I know of four other people in my cycling group who experience afib and it appears to be more common among endurance athletes.  

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