Advice on reducing ectopic beats please

My GP packed me off to hospital yesterday where two ECGs were taken ( and bloods, blood pressure, X-ray ) and the diagnosis is that my palpitations are caused by ectopic beats. Is there any advice on how to minimise their incidence? I have already cut out caffeine ( although cardiologist said I can go back to a little, my Nespresso machine will be used twice a day!) . The palpitations are still really scary so I would like to reduce them to a minimum or zero! Thanks

Last edited by

24 Replies

oldestnewest
  • After a successfull ablation 12 months ago, I was still getting bouts of ectopics, not as bad as before ablation, but still enough to, at times, get me worrying. I started taking Magnesium Taurate at a minimal dose and slowly increased to 3 capsules twice a day. This must be the level for me as the ectopics have all but gone and when I do get them, they are very short in duration and very low intensity. They have almost totally gone and I rarely even notice them when they do occur. Might be worth talking to your GP about MT.

  • hi lizzie, i am post ablation but still troubled by ectopic beats and have been looking into dietary things that could trigger them. When looking into food ingredients in packaged food, it shocked me to find that i was consuming lots of sugar , a small low fat yoghurt I have daily has the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar.

    I think that in my case high sugar items are a trigger for the ectopic beats.

    I suggest that you look at your diet and keep a log of what you consume in order to find your own triggers. A start would be to drink more water and consider minimizing sugar intake and alcohol and increasing fruit .

  • I agree with you totally re overdosing on sugar. My heart problems have often started by my eating a bar of chocolate or two! Those packs of 4 bars for £1 should be banned. I also discovered that artificial sweeteners/additives would set it off too.

  • I think banning those 4 bars for a £1 is going a bit far

  • Yes, but you can probably be good and not eat the four over the next 24hrs!!!

  • I agree about the chocolate, but a better way would be for you to buy all the chocolage up and send it to me. I promise I won't eat it. (by the way, that's a lie).

  • Thanks for the reply.

    I think that the modern day diet of packaged and processed foods is a big contributor to a fib, and with the medical profession unable to give a cause , it is up to the individual to keep to your own correct weight / fitness and find any individual triggers , whether they be food or physical or emotional.

  • Just te reassure you, everyone gets ectopic beats, it's just for some reason we are very aware of them ? Most normal people get about 200 a day.

    Eileen

  • Everyone reassures us that ectopics aren't harmful... but they are a darn disturbance that is significant! I think as AFibbers we are much more aware of the anything out of the norm as we become hyper vigilant waiting for the "next AF episode". You have my sympathy!

  • Hi Lizz

    IMO if you have an arrhythmia you need to see an EP. Sounds like I have similar to you, arrhythmia but not AF, I'm in sinus apparently, which I don't really understand! Anyhow, my EP has tried me on 3 or 4 drugs and only the last one has worked without side-effects. He changed drugs quickly just by phone or email. Now I'm free of what I think were ectopics. In fact A&E told me they were ectopics, masses of them all the time. Really uncomfortable and worrying so know exactly how you feel. Didn't cause me any problems know of though, but so nice to have it under control now. I'm not sure this would have all happened without the EP, he just knows what he's doing and what drugs to use.

    If any use, this is what I did pre-new drugs (which is Disopyramide by the way).

    • I slept on my right

    • Went tee-total (dam, drat, bother (*&^%&^)

    • Decaf tea and coffee only except occasionally when we're out

    • Graze all day and only have small meals

    • Became aware of when it happened (for me this is particularly after eating and when lying down), so learned to just ignore it on those occasions. Also emotions, good or bad, so my wife and I tend to avoid some things. I won't even watch a poor film or listen to music I don't like. Sounds daft but it worked.

    • Took deep breathes before doing anything, standing up, bending over, whatever.

    Can you ask to see an EP? Or have you?

    Regards

    Koll

  • Hi Koll, no I haven't. This is all quite new, only a month since it started and I have had just one visit to hospital. My GP seems fairly clueless and prone to panic. I am to have a 24 hours ECG when I get to the top of the list (6 weeks or so) and an echocardiogram when I reach the top of that list (6 months or so) . So quite a long haul. Guess I'll just learn to live with the herd of horses in my chest from time to time!

  • Hi Lizz, In a way I'm personally glad to hear your GP panics. It's the one's that don't react that worry me. Good to hear you're having the monitor fitted, obviously things are happening. I just had to wait ages for a monitor from the New QE in Birmingham, massive high cost top-of-the-range hospital, not enough monitors, silly really.

    I'm only a patient, but in my limited experience, the EP is a must so I'd get primed to ask for one. But see what others suggest first, especially the volunteers (Bob, Ian and others).

    The 24 monitor will only work obviously if you have arrhythmias every day. I had one fitted last year and of course had a clear day!!! They can fit them for a week, that's what I've usually had, but if you get symptoms, or can trigger them yourself by doing whatever (drink of wine etc), then 24 hours could be good.

    It seems clear that there is a lack of understanding at GP level. I think one of the top tips that I learned here only recently, is to be proactive with arrhythmias.

    K

  • Hi Koll - Excuse my ignorance but what does IMO stand for?

  • IMO = "In my opinion". Sorry Jean, I shouldn't use abbreviations. Got into the habit on other forums! K

  • Good advice Koll, I already do most of what you do, I am trying out not eating at all after early evening just in case it triggers stuff when I go to bed, difficult when you get the munchies around 9pm. Already Tee Total and don't drink caffeine so they are not my triggers, have now invested in a foam wedge for my bed so I do not have to fight with 6 pillows, trying to get used to it but certainly more comfortable for my back. Palpitations scared me when I first started getting them and they increased until I was having them on and off day and night then you get resigned to them but they drain your energy mental as well as physical. Waiting for tests then waiting for results is a nightmare all of its own but at least you know something is being done. How novel for a GP to have anxiety that is normally something they try and pin on you. If you have any bad attacks ring the clinic who will be fitting your monitor they could fit you in sooner, when I was waiting for my 2nd monitor I rang them when I nearly passed out and they got me in same day. Good Luck on your journey. Janet

  • PS. Forgot to say that if you need rhythm control drugs, as I do, be aware your GP can't (I'm fairly certain) prescribe them.

  • Hi Lizziefin, may I ask if you are on Warfarin? Your GP is able to prescribe this as a matter of course.

    Insist on seeing an EP and keep on about it! If it takes six months to get an echocardiogram goodness knows how long it will take to see your EP. My husband kept ringing the hospital about my appointment and I got it within two months!

    It is your heart and health, we all of us seem to have to fight for what we want.

    Good luck and hope it gets sorted soon.

    Di

  • No Ang, I am not. I was offered no medication at all. They did a clotting test on one of the blood samples so I assume that was fine. I forgot to ask the cardiologist whether ectopic beats give a higher stroke incidence as I was somewhat taken aback by the" you're fine, nothing to worry about " stance when it feels so weird. In some way you almost feel that when the ECG is taken that the palpitations are really bad just as evidence of what it feels like inside! I know that's ridiculous! As for insist on seeing an EP, how do you do that? Maybe when the 24 hour ECG shows something interesting ? Knowing my luck it will be perfect!

  • Hi Lizziefin, I was also told for years that it was nothing to worry about then I found these AF Association posts and what a change it has made for me. I did not know about an EP until then (Electro Physiologist), I then saw my GP and told him that I wanted to see an EP sooner rather than later. The first thing your GP should have done is prescribed Warfarin while you are having tests. I photocopied a lot of information from this site and made my GP read it and left it with him. They are what their title implies, General Practioners, they are your first port of call before seeing a Consultant. We all have to fight them for what is our right that is to see someone who knows about AF. An ordinary Cardiologist is concerned with the mechanics of the heart, an EP is concerned with the electrical side of the heart.

    Hope this helps and you can get things sorted out very soon.

  • Hello Lizziefin,

    When I had a scary episode of AF in 2012, where my GP called an ambulance, I was given a 6 week (not 6 months like you!) wait to see a EP consultant at Harefield Heart Hospital in Hertfordshire. As I was too scared to go on a booked holiday without knowing more, I rang Harefield Hospital and paid to see the same EP consultant the following week privately. It cost ~£200. If you can afford to do this for peace of mind, as I did, it did help. I had blood tests that day on the NHS but had to pay £80 for a private ECG. I then carried on seeing him with further tests on the NHS.

    I had several 24 hr ECGs in the preceding years which only picked up a tiny number of ectopic beats. Echocardiograms were all normal too. I am in sinus rhythm(regular beats) but have paroxysmal(episodes of) AFib. All my AFib episodes, bar the one in 2012, only last for a short run of beats at the moment but have been helped by taking Magnesium. I take 800mg daily.

    Incidentally, Magnesium is given by drip in hospital to revert patients in AFib to a regular rythym so it's worth taking as a supplement. You can take as much as you tolerate without it giving you the runs.

    In the meantime don't worry. I'm still here and mine began more than 12 years ago. X

  • A cure?

    this is my story and I hope it can help anyone who reads its. For years now I have been aware of ectopic beats. At first way back in 2011 I would feel one every now and again then in September last year they suddenly got very bad - I had two 48hr Holters which showed I had around 7 to 10% of my beats were ectopic. I was also suffering from a lot of burbing and of course had the constant feeling of anxiety and dread you get with ectopic beats. I went to several different doctors - all said the same thing - your heart is fine - no idea why you have these beats - yes it is horrible, sorry nothing we can do. By march this year the situation was so bad I was in permanent state of bi and tri gemini with some periods where the ectopic and normal beats would alternate. It got so bad they were battling to do MRI's and Untrasounds - same response - do not know what it is sorry. I then went to a highly recommended cardioligist who after one exam said we have to put in a pace maker immediately one with an icd. He told me the ef of my heart was 40% and I had cardiomyopathy. I was in a state of shock. He told me I had to have the op done immediately. Fortunately I had my doubts and I visited yet another cardio who told me that this guy was just trying to make money and that a pacemaker would not help me - that said he could not help me either. So I did tons of research and adopted a shotgun approach to cures and SOMETHING HAS WORKED - I have not had an ectopic beat in 4 weeks - they gradually started diminishing about 7 weeks ago. I am so happy for the first time in nearly a year I have no anxiety and I can sleep at night without my heart thumping and skipping in my chest. So here is what I did - hope something works for you.

    Chiropractor

    I read that Chiro's can treat Roemholds syndrome - my chiro did the research in his community and started various treatments to my back and chest and even stomach.

    Supplements

    I read that magnesium and potassium deficiency can cause ectopic beats and that it can take a long time to build your magnesium back up - so I started taking high quality supplements

    Holistic Doctor

    I went for a full panel of tests - one strange thing came back - I had a very violent and strong reinfection of epstein bar - doc gave me some treatments for that as well as something called solunat 5 and Folgar12

    Diet

    I went LCHF - and followed the whole 30 for a month

    Church

    I am not religious - but on a trip to Malta we were taken to a church on a tour where the guide assured me that any health condition you asked to be cured would be cured in a year - so I asked for my heart to be fixed

    So which one of these worked? Was it all a coincidence? Who knows and to be honest I do not care - Something worked and I am so happy i cannot describe it :-)

  • Try reducing your carb intake to less than 50g of carbohydrate (low Gi, low fructose) per meal, and compensate by having natural fat instead.

    All the best!

  • Magnesium, magnesium, magnesium. I wish I had discovered this years ago. Completely changed my life.

  • I had ectopic beats way before I had my cryo ablation. Noticed afterwards i was still getting them and they seemed not to be getting any better. I found out in the mean time that had aflutter. Now, mind you this is like 6 months into my post ablation period. My ep prescribed a calcium channel blocker. Low and behold not only did the flutter get taken care of but my ectopics all but disappeared. As the others previously have mentioned ,I also stay away from all stimulants such as alcohol,caffeine ,nicotine,over the counter cold meds,etc.

You may also like...