Heart Rhythm Community
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Flu shots and Arrhythmias

Hi everyone. I deal with heart arrhythmias like all of you and I really worry when the flu season comes. I am scared to get a flu shot thinking my heart will go crazy on me and possibly lock up. Have any of you ever had problems with the flu shots before?

One other thing. I have been through all the testing and been told i'm normal, but the truth of the matter is to me, is that anyone who experiences iregular beats of their heart like this is not normal. Something happended along the way that changed the function of the heart permanently. My ep doctor told me some people's bodies just change. I do not buy it. What are you thoughts on this?
12 Responses
187666 tn?1331176945
I don't get a flu shot even though I suppose I'm in a higher risk category with asthma. Arrhythmias are not considered "heart disease." Some folks have heart disease with arrhythmias but arrhy's on their own are not considered heart disease. I haven't had the flu since 1973. I do get the occasional cold, have had bronchitis, a touch of pneumonia and pleurisy but not plain old flu. Those are usually triggered by an asthma episode which is different.

I do believe our bodies change over time (all I have to do is look in the mirror - yuck!). Things can crop up like heart rhythm issues, allergies, skin conditions. For me I think I was probably born with my arrhythmias since I've had them for as long as I can remember.
995271 tn?1463927859
I had the same thoughts on the Flu shot but never had a problem.  I get them every year.

Oddly enough when I do get sick, I'm arrhythmia free.

I'm about to get the tetnus/pertusis booster too.  It's not concerning me.
1182699 tn?1297578384
The only times I have been arrythmia free in the last 16 years are the 2 times I've had the flu.
1298588 tn?1330322581
I don't think a flu shot will cause arrythmia. My heart is super sensitive so that even small changes in my daily routine affect it and cause skipped beats, but I had a flu shot last year and nothing happened (except for a fast heartbeat on the way to get the shot because I'm scared of needles!) My point is that you're probably safe, and if anything the flu would be worse for your heart than the shot!

Seriously, skipped heartbeats are NOTHING to worry about. They are common and not dangerous as long as your heart is healthy. I have experienced frequent ones for the past year and been certain I was going to die until I talked to a cardiologist who assured me that my fears are completely ungrounded. I have finally begun to believe him, and I hope I can help you to do the same. Think of them as hiccups: annoying but TOTALLY HARMLESS. They can be caused by a variety of factors as I've learned in my own experience. Sometimes they'll be triggered by hunger, sometimes by overeating, sometimes by a rapid change of position. I guess we just have to trust that our hearts know what they're doing!!
Avatar universal
I have been getting a flu shot every year now for years. It never affected my a-fib, or caused an attack.
Avatar universal
"..I have been through all the testing and been told i'm normal, but the truth of the matter is to me, is that anyone who experiences iregular beats of their heart like this is not normal."

On the contrary, pretty much everyone--everyone--has irregular beats, and they get more common with age.  The difference is that most people do not feel them (you can google this or check wikipedia, etc).  Every cell of the heart muscle is 'contractile' and would beat at its own rhythm, except that a specialized area of the heart called the Pacemaker generally acts as, well, the pacemaker, so all the cells are supposed to fire in unison at the right time. However, every now and then, a cell or a few of them get independent and fire out of order, temporarily disturbing the rhythm.  Some are more independent than others, but usually the Pacemaker does keep the peace most of the time.  Or we'd all be dead.
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