Rapid irregular heart rate

I had a Chinese meal yesterday two mugs of really strong tea (non decaffeanated) and a glass of baileys. Developed a very fast irregular heart rate soon after which lasted most of the night. Has slowed down a bit this morning but I still feel unwell. Just had my bisoprolol and waiting for things to calm down. Feeling rather scared.

21 Replies

  • That sounds very unwelcome. Hopefully it will resolve promptly and you will soon be able to relax and be your usual self, but with a bit of knowledge gained.

    It is surely better to be able to point the finger at a fairly obvious cause rather than to have no good reason for your heart to go astray. And it may just have been the combination of things, so each one on its own may be not enough to set your heart off another time and you won't have to give up anything and feel unable to enjoy things you like. Just apply the brakes slightly! Just one cup of good, strong tea perhaps.

    I think I'd try to be brave at some stage and test the water with all three of the possible culprits in isolation and see if it was just having them all in the same day.

    All the best. Onwards and upwards!

  • Many Chinese takeaways use MSG in their cooking (though fewer than there used to be) and that is a good trigger. Also some things mixed in with dishes (eg for me their noodle dishes).

  • There can be a load of sugar in Chinese as well, can there not?

    MSG + Sugar + caffeine + alcohol = AF (for me anyhow)


  • Chinese food contains monosodium glutamate which can trigger fast AF. I avoid it because it triggers mine and I always have decaffeinated drunks. NO more Caffeine!

    Try to relax, take some slow deep breaths in and out for some time. Avoid anxious thoughts as this triggers adrenaline which then puts your body in a state of alert and so your heart rate will remain rapid. I have been in CCU 16 times so I know how you feel. Good luck

  • It is the sort of salt used to flavour the chines food which is likely to have caused it.

  • Chinese is definitely off my menu, even without AF. Last time I drank 'proper' coffee I had 6 hours of tachycardia - very, very, sad but true.

  • could be any one of these ! Probably MSG though , but I avoid all 3.

  • Strong tea would do it for me too - it's good to know if caffeine is a trigger. I hope that things have calmed down by now - take care.


  • I found Chop Suey set me off, but not all Chinese meals. When I asked at our local take-away they used MSG in some of their dishes, including Chop Suey.

    You could avoid all those things, or do as Rellim says and try each one individually to find your trigger.

  • I have been diagnosed with AF for just over a year and still have doubts that it is a correct diagnosis as giving up caffeine completely has got rid of (nearly) all of the symptons. I was told long before I had that news that I was probably caffeine intolerant but I didnt completely give it up (I so loved coffee cake!) and ended up in A&E. For me all those other things just make it worse, I think coffee is the really bad boy for many of us.

  • A practically lone Chinese report in favour of caffeine


  • Thank you for this, very interesting. Maybe I really don't have AF. I will look further into it.

  • Chinese was a regular Saturday evening treat for us but although I never new a trigger I stopped having it and tea too and alcohol boring yes but anything to keep the af at bay it scares the hell out of me ,so made these sacrifices in favour of better health , been a year now without any of these only one I do miss is a good Budweiser now and again just too scared to even try a couple of bottles keep well Paul

  • I always avoid MSG. The day I had my pacemaker fitted I chose chicken casserole from the hospital menu for dinner but it was not quite as I expected and was rather exotic. My head started to sweat and I felt flushed and suspected that it might have MSG in it. I began to feel light headed and dizzy and called nurse. She had me lay flat on my bed and checked my BP that had dropped considerably. She thought that I might be dehydrated and had me drink some water and injected something into my cannula followed by a saline solution. My BP gradually start to recover but she kept me laying down for some time. When I felt better I sat up and had my dessert.:-)

  • Well worth it to make the sacrifices - I certainly do so. I have found a few things from the Chinese that I can have without causing too many problems - beef chop suey (bean sprouts) with only a little sauce, chicken in lemon sauce and sweet and sour balls.

  • A F, No more coffee only decaffe tea no chinese meals, borring but AF better,

    used to have up to 8 cups coffee a day, still miss my coffee but thats life.

    Happy christmas

  • MSG was a massive trigger for me and I also avoided alcohol and caffeine. Now back on all three (in moderation). Yippee!


  • Chinese food, caffine, tea, alchohol and sometimes chocolate are all triggers for me. Can have a few choccies and that is okay but it is hard to stop at a couple!!! I also find any salty food is bad partly because it also dehydrates you, which dosent help. Always find that there is loads of salt in prepared meals in supermarkets. Very rarely buy these. do all my cooking, sauces ect so I know exactly how much salt is used (very little) and no additives. I have actually been caffine free for years found out many years ago it makes me hyper long before I had AF.


  • My EP said no processed foods or prepared meals; no salt; no sugar and a few other things. Also many drinks have sugar and additives. Even brands marketed as with no added sugar - one brand can have a sugar content if 7 times another brand!!!!

  • Thank you all for your advice and kind words. It's good to know you are so supportive.

    Wishing you all a very happy healthy Christmas x

  • MSG appears to be my only trigger for AF. Any chinese restaurant or take away meal will set off AF which will last 12 - 15 hours.

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