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Avatar universal

PVC's and tachycardia-Please help!

Hey guys. Me again. I had a horrible episode last night. I am so scared. I was laying in bed when I started feeling kinda weird and like short of breath, then I started having PVC's. It was like pvc, normal beat, normal beat, PVC, normal beat, normal beat, PVC, normal beat, normal beat. I had 3 PVC's that felt so weird (also my stomach was regurgitating or making noises while the PVC's were happening) and then suddenly I started having tachycardia. I stood up and went to my brother's bedroom and woke him up (it was 3:00 am and I couldn't sleep) and he put a hand on my chest and said "your heart is beating fast but in a regular rythm). After maybe 30-40 seconds my heart rate went back to normal. I don't know how fast it was going though but I am guessing maybe 160-170 bpm. I've never had this happen to my before. I never felt dizzy or like I was gonna pass out while all of this was happening but I freaked out so much I thought I was dying. My brother even said I looked very pale and very scared but once my rythm went back to normal I looked fine. Its the second time in 10 days that I've had a "run" of PVC's (I guess they are trigemy?) but the first time I've experienced tachycardia afterwards. I have an appointment with my cardiologist for Friday the 12th, but in the mean time I don't even want to move from my bed. I just feel like crying or going to the ER so I can stay there and feel safe. I have to go to work though but I just feel so so scared and anxious.

I am 32 years old, I've had occasional PVC's (maybe 4-6 in a month) for the past year and a half. Have done numerous EKG's, blood work and one Echocardiogram back in November 2015 (9 months ago) that showed I have a normal heart with an EF of 70%. The size everything is normal and no MVP. I am noticing that most of my PVC's occur either when I am having bouts of acid reflux (I have GERD and Gastritis diagnosed after an Endoscopy) and when its near my period. I am expecting my period in the next 2-3 days if thats of any importance.

I am going to ask my Cardiologist for a 48-hour Holter Monitor and see if it shows something. If not I'll ask for a 30 day one. I am just so scared that I am going to drop dead any time now. Please help!
3 Responses
Avatar universal
First, in spite of the fact that you are really scared, take note of the fact that you are *not* dizzy or faint, even at the extreme of fear.  You do not have crushing pain in your chest.  You are not nauseated, soaked with an odd, cold sweat, or unable to walk or move about due to shortness of breath.

This means that although your heart rate is high (due to fear), your heart is healthy and doing a fine job of giving you oxygen.  Believe me, you can safely get out of bed and do all the stuff you normally do.  You probably will have funny heartbeats, but a lot of that is due to panic or extreme anxiety--but unless you are physically disabled by your symptoms, as I described earlier, the extra beats or tachy mean very little to your health. The heart compensates for all kinds of oddities in rhythm, and does it very, very well.

Yes, GERD can be a factor, and possibly, so can PMS, and you can talk this over with your cardiologist.  In the meantime, be assured you are NOT going to drop dead.

BTW, when you do see the doc, it would be a good idea to ask for a referral for help in treating the anxiety that ectopic beats can cause.   There is also a superb little paperback (and audio book) called 'Hope and Help for Your Nerves,' by Dr. Claire Weekes.  She addresses tachycardia and ectopics and walks you through little exercises to diminish the fear.  Here is a link:

https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Help-Nerves-Claire-Weekes/dp/0451167228
Avatar universal
Thank you so much Achillea! I am just so scared! I can't help feeling like this. I started having anxiety since these PVC's started and I thought I was getting better but now this happens. I appreciate so much the time you took to answer my post and I think its time I find help for my anxiety. I just can't keep living like this. I'll make sure to check out the book and link you shared. I really need help cause my anxjety is getting out of control and its even messing with my digestive system. The good thing is my HR today has been between 70 and 90 (90 when I walked up the stairs. I had to eat and go to the kitchen. I was so scared of going up the stairs and I realized I was holding my breath)

Also do you think the tachycardia was brought on my panic? I was feeling so scared my only thought was to get up and find my brother so I wouldn't die alone. I am so messed up right now.

Thank you again for all your help!
Avatar universal
"Also do you think the tachycardia was brought on my panic?"

Yes--and no.

My suspicion about anxiety and panic (I myself have panic disorder, with attacks that come in 'swarms,' so to speak, every few years) is that this a medical disorder, like seasonal allergy or restless legs, with a strong hereditary component.  I'll bet that if you could speak honestly with a bunch of your relatives, you'd find that quite a number of them suffer from the same problem, but that most of them have kept quiet about it, feeling that they have some kind of moral or character failing that is shameful.

My own attacks come on suddenly, often, it seems in relation to a change in seasons, but when I have zero stress in my life, but when they occur, my existence is changed all at once:  For a while, until I realize what's going on, I cannot think clearly, and like many people, my major symptoms are cardiac.  Geez, I used to imagine that my ticker was in terrible shape because a heart that beats that forcefully and fast REALLY gets your attention, doesn't it?

But no, it's just that the heart speeds up in response to fright, whatever the source of fright--real or unconscious--might be, and boy, do we feel those beats in our chests!  What's the natural response?  "Why, I must be dying!"

The trouble, as Dr. Weekes puts it, is that this becomes a double whammy.  Something--we don't know what--triggers a physiological sense of alarm.  Our hearts speed up or beat erratically, and it scares the living poo out of us.  THEN we get fearful about having another such attack, and that heightened sense of fear or watchfulness makes us produce more adrenaline, to which hearts are very sensitive--and presto, we have yet another panic attack with a racing, stuttering heart.

You can see how this becomes a self-reinforcing cycle.  We become ever more fearful.  The trick is to break the cycle.  I have found that seeing the right doc is the most important thing.  If you're youngish and female and have passed numerous EKGs and other tests with flying colors, the chances are great that you don't need to see another cardiologist.

The major problem is fear, or rather, the fear of fear, and the proper doc to see is someone who deals with fear.  That would be a shrink.  No shame there, for shrinks are real MDs who are licensed to diagnose and prescribe.  I found a peach who tried me on about five different medications for long-term preventative treatment of my panic.  For me, the solution was a low dose of Zoloft, a type of medication called an SSRI (you can google it), which quiets the panic, and amazingly, this calmness both decreases my awareness of the heart, which in turn reduces its excitability and the number of odd beats and tachycardia.

With the right help, you will get your life back and have fun again, rather than being a slave to 'listening' to the noises--mostly medically insignificant--that your heart is making.

Good luck to you.

4 Comments
Thank you so much Achillea, I just booked an appoitment with a Psychiatrist. I am going to the Cardiologist Friday also. I'll let you know how everything goes. I really appreciate all your help!
I hope you do well.
Hi Achillea, I went to the Cardiologist and he wants me to wear a Holter Moniter for 48 hours. He said that my heart is structurally normal and healthy (from the echo he did 9 months ago) so that I shouldn´t be worried. To stay calm. I just wanted to let you know what the Dr said. I am scheduling the holter for hopefully this week. Lets see how it goes :) I haven't had more PVC's since this last episode, which I guess is good.

Have a great day!
Oh also he listened to my heart for like a minute or more and said "your heart beats in perfect rythm and I don't hear murmurs or anything." He took my blood pressure and it was 100/60 which he said was perfect too. So I am happy about that.
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