Unusual palpitation and feeling of pressure in the chest

Hi. I was just wondering if anyone has experienced a bizarre symptom I get recently. It is a single sudden thump right in the centre of the chest, usually when I stand up from sitting and start walking a few steps. I really don't like the feeling of it.it feels like my heart has dropped down a bit. Very hard to explain but it feels very wrong. I am very familiar with what AF and other arrhythmias feel like but not this strange sensation. It is happening more and more frequently too. Also, when I am in AF these days, i find a sensation like a lot of pressure in my chest and like i can't get a full breath in. I have never felt AF so physically uncomfortable as I have of late. Can anyone relate to these symptoms or does anyone have any explanations?

14 Replies

  • I have experienced what I can only describe as a gap in my heart beat, then a big thump, or a big heart beat, so much so that it made me gasp. I don't know what it was but as I get masses of ectopics when not on my drugs (and I wasn't on them), then I guess it was a big ectopic, if there is such a thing, or a cluster of ectopics?

    I have read somewhere that ectopics can be followed by a big beat or at least feels like it.

    I'm just guessing really.

    I did ask my EP about it, but he didn't say anything, just looked quizzical !!!


  • When my GP explained ectopics he tapped out a rhythm with a big beat in it. I had never experienced the big beat.

  • Yes I get something like that. My GP and cardiologist don't seem too worried, even though I do. Christmas day last year I had a bout lasting around 20 minutes, with BP and pulse going absolutely beserk that I ended up in the acute medical unit for 2 days. There are 2 names I heard, prinzmetal angina and premature ventricular contractions. Over the last few months it has got worse lasting hours at a time. Hope this helps, good luck.

  • PVC=Ectopic.

  • Thanks Bob, I was just about to say that.

  • Hi Vony

    I experienced some very strong thumps from my heart; not often as single ones but often every other beat for a time. I can see my chest move with the power of them. When I captured these on the Alivecor they were a type of ectopic (extra beat); a PVC Premature Ventricular Contraction. I figured that the reason they were so strong was that the ventricle (which has the welly to pump blood all round the body) was contracting too soon before it had filled up with blood and it was the strength of the contraction on an empty chamber. I have a very strong mechanical pump of a heart after many years of a happy and active life; which I am thankful of and probably why I have remained asymptomatic for so long with Bradycardia. My ejection fraction of the left ventricle was measured at 71% on my MRI last December (pretty much as good as it gets) and wonder if being younger and having a stronger heart could make these feel worse for you.

    I couldn't identify a trigger; though they happened mostly in the evenings after I had been sitting or mornings when I had been lying in bed for hours. I had daily episodes over a period of weeks but they mostly disappeared of their own accord (not entirely).

    Maybe it is our young and strong hearts making them more noticeable?

    Obviously yours could be something completely different!

    I have a very good clear ECG from the Alivecor but don't know how to post a picture if not a new post. If you think it might be of any use and know how I can post/send.

    Take care and keep well.


  • Thanks everyone for the replie and all of which make very good sense. The thing that worries me is that i have had so many ECGs and holter monitors over the last 3 years and all have recorded lots of PACs and PVCs which i either couldn't feel or recognised as being such. This beat in the very centre of my chest is so sudden and forceful but maybe it is the same thing just feels different? I don't have an Alivecor monitor but i am seriously thinking about getting one. Thanks again folks. The strange thing for me is that my arrhythmias were always triggered by sitting or lying down and nowadays i am better sitting/lying and worse on exertion. Sigh!

  • Hi Vony

    I was on continuous monitoring for 3 days in the hospital last week with up to 20 PVCs a minute and couldn't feel any of these. So even though there are PVCs they don't all play out the same. The thumpy ones did settle of their own accord after a few weeks (still get PVCs just not too many thumpy ones).

    Hope you are feeling well.


  • Hi Vony,

    I have had a similar experience to the one you've described my GP put me on a 24hr Holter Monitor (a device that records heart rhythm) and the tracing showed what was diagnosed as VEB's (ventricular ectopic beats) both my cardiologist and GP weren't overly concerned, but these single thumps (sometimes three in a row) when they occur, make me feel quite anxious. I've had them now for at least six months and so far nothing untoward has happened - I do agree with you these thumps feel very wrong! Like you, I'm also an Afibber.

    All the best,


  • I get the same "big thump". It is enough to wake me up when I'm fast asleep!

    I asked about this at the HF clinic and was told that is an unusually big electrical charge that doesn't happen often but is a big surprise when it does.

    It's as though your heart misses a few then makes up for it with a "big thump".

    If you are having breathing difficulties then it could be fluid backing up into your lungs. If you think about it makes sense - your heart has had mixed messages about when to beat and pump blood around, so when it has too much in it it backs up into your lungs. You may need a diuretic to help to shift it.

    Are your ankles or legs swelling? Have you had an Echo test lately?

    I ask because I have heart failure and that's the feeling I get too. out it.

    Be sure to see your GP and tell him/her about how you are feeling.

  • Hi Phil.thanks for your reply. I don't have any swelling and thr shortness of breath and feeling of pressure is literally only when i am in an arrythmia. The last echo i had was just over a year ago and all was fine. I will explain these new symptoms when i see my EP again. Thanks again and i hope you feel well

  • Thanks for that all of you. I've been getting this for some time now. It's not bothered me too much to begin with, but at the moment, I can't seem to shake them. I wear a loop recorder implanted in my chest but still don't get clear answers. Could there be even more?

  • I am with same problem Vony, have you got any reason for this?

  • Hi MTTR...i wrote this post a while back but it is funny you should comment on it as i had not had this sensation in recent months until 3 days ago and i was speaking on the phone about it 2 days ago saying it only happens rarely despite daily arrythmias. It is very strange..it has never been captured on a monitor and i just assume it is nothing untoward as nothing bad has happened. I think it fits with what HappyJo suggests in her answer above. Hope you feel well :) 

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