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Health anxiety re my heart

(12 Posts)
Notcontent Sun 12-Jan-14 22:18:01

About 2 years ago or so I started getting occasional PVCs - or at least that's what I think they are called. That sensation of a skipped heart beat or a particularly forceful one. Sometimes weeks go by without it happening and at other times I may have a few a day.
I saw a doctor and had an ECG, an echo and a 24 hour halter monitor thing but all came back normal.

I am 40 and slim, never a smoker, Etc. But this really worries me and I am constantly convinced I am going to have a heart attack. It's really getting me down.

Could they have been VES - ventricular extrasystoles? They are v common (everybody gets them from time to time, some people are more aware of them than others, particularly the 'thump' after a compensatory pause) and harmless unless they happen too regularly.

As you had normal investigations ie you know you have a structurally normal heart, a normal 24 hr ECG and you are a non-smoker, you risk of a significant problem is really diminishingly small.

Go back to see your GP - either to initiate a reassessment or to address your anxiety.

Notcontent Sun 12-Jan-14 23:47:21

Thanks, perhaps I should go back, although I did a few months ago just to seek reassurance. But it worries me so much...

PJ67 Mon 13-Jan-14 23:13:14

Hi. I get a lot of palpitations. I can't remember what the doctor called them after doing the tests but he said that even though I could get thousands every day(on bad days they happen almost every 5 to 6 beats, so 12 or so a minute) they are not harmful just a very uncomfortable feeling. I can have them constantly for a few months then they can go away for months. I had some red wine last night and they're back full force today. I have been prescribed medication for when it's bad but the cardiologist said it was up to me if I took them and they're just to avoid the discomfort not because they were dangerous.
All your tests being normal is very reassuring, everybody gets them sometimes, so I wouldn't worry too much.

jellybeans Mon 13-Jan-14 23:27:33

I am in the same boat. I googled a lot of stuff which was reassuring. The scariest ones I get are called bigenemy/trigenemy or something where I have a run of skipped beats eg beat beat skip beat beat skip and it goes on a while. The docs/hospital weren't concerned as my ecg and holter were normal. It's bloomin scary though i totally relate. The more I relax though when i get them the less bad they seem to be. I also wonder if trapped wind can cause it as i often notice them together.

MajesticWhine Mon 13-Jan-14 23:37:41

I get PVCs. The heart beats too early, then pauses, for what feels like a long time, and then does an extra big beat to start up again. When they were bad, I got referred to a cardiologist who said that they are totally benign and that 17% of the population have some sort of arrhythmia. It is a very disconcerting feeling though.

HettiePetal Tue 14-Jan-14 01:24:03

You poor thing - I know precisely what you're going through, as I spent years going through it too. Hopefully I can reassure you just a touch.

OK - I started getting skipped beats when I was pregnant 18 years ago. It was like a thump in my chest followed by a flutter in my neck. Sometimes just one - sometimes a run of three or four. It was a daily event.

I was terrified and saw the GP who gave me an ECG. Results came back normal & I was temporarily reassured - but the thumps kept happening and felt serious so I continued being terrified. I could not believe a healthy heart would do this. Surely anything affecting the heart is serious, right?

I also thought I'd end up having a heart attack, or that the rhythm would go so haywire one day that I'd drop dead. I got loads of reassurance, but could never be quite convinced that that there wasn't something seriously wrong with my heart and the doctors weren't taking it seriously enough.

I am no longer in that scary place though because I have finally come to realise that the simple fact of the matter is that healthy hearts DO do this all the time, in everybody. A skipped beat (ectopic beat as it's known) is a variation of normal - but it is normal. It is not indicative of malfunction & does not mean that you are at risk of a heart attack. Not only does it not cause heart attacks - it CAN'T cause them.

I still get them all the time but I don't care anymore - I get them when I lie down on my side at night, and I know when my period is coming because they increase in frequency. I'd rather they didn't happen, of course, but since they cannot possibly hurt me, they are nothing more than a mild annoyance a bit like hiccups.

If you go to any anxiety forum you can see that these skipped beats are universally experienced by people with anxiety (all that adreneline rushing around in anxious people is probably why we "feel" them more than the average person does) - and are also universally the cause of a great deal of fear. It will reassure you to read other people's experiences of this - it helped me a lot.

HERE'S a brilliant article explaining why they are not to be feared. I hope it reassures a little bit & I recommend you read through the forums and see just how common this is.

Erebus Tue 14-Jan-14 18:48:12

Hettie- though I am not a 'sufferer', I wanted to chip in and say well done for your post- the voice of experienced reason assuring and advising.

MN at its best.

sublimecorpse Tue 14-Jan-14 21:04:12

I've been having palpitations since November. It's awful isn't it?

I've been to the Gp, bloods and ECG normal.

Goodness knows what's going on but Gp is confident that it's nothing sinister as no other symptoms etc and propranolol is helping.

I've put it down to stress and anxiety and I'm sure that worrying about it makes it worse.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Sun 19-Jan-14 22:45:51

I get loads of these, have been to the doctors... Nothing wrong. Indigestion or coffee can set them off by irritating the vagus nerve, and hormones affect mine. I got loads when first pregnant, and always get loads before period. They honestly honestly can be totally harmless and do NOT necessarily mean anything is wrong with your heart

monikar Mon 20-Jan-14 11:25:51

I too have experienced this, due mainly to anxiety. I read in a self-help book that a good way to alleviate them is to exercise, just something gentle like walking for half an hour or so a day. I tried this and was really doubtful but it did help and I notice them very rarely now.

The problem with anxiety is that the worrying about the symptom does make you more aware of them, and then you worry more.

AimeeDubucqdeRivery Mon 20-Jan-14 13:13:49

notcontent I went to the gp a few weeks ago due to an increase in ectopics. They can now do a 7 day tape instead of 24hrs, which I had, the results of which were reassuring. Perhaps you could ask for this...I did have to take it off after 4 days though as the sensor thingies made my skin sore, but it was long enough to work out what was going on.

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