Very scary pause

Hi folks. I was wondering if anyone ever gets pauses which cause dizziness and if so, have you ever had a pause which seemed much worse than your usual pauses. Monitors have shown I get 2- 5 second pauses. I have never fainted but often feel as if I am about to. Today in work, I was in AF..just the usual..and all of a sudden I got a pause which was absolutely dreadful. my face and hands went numb and I couldn't see for a second or two. i felt worse than i ever have with a pause and am surprised ai didn't faint. I usually don't talk about my arrythmias in work as it is hard for others to understand when one looks completely normal. today though, I shouted out for my colleague who I share an office with as I felt so out of control. my heart then started going extremely fast (and regular!!!) for about 20 seconds. I was so petrified I was shaking and started crying...out of relief when it ended and shock. I know that may sound dramatic but I feel so familiar with my arrythmias that today was outside the norm for me and has scared me. My colleague was wonderful. She said my face and neck were completely white for a couple of minutes. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

37 Replies

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  • Vony, I don't experience this but if I did I would be hotfooting it to my GP at least. What are you waiting for??

    Sandra

  • I have an appointment with the general cardiologist tomorrow incidentally. The problem with these cardiac events is that even if I had have gone to A and E it was over within minutes so nothing would have been captured on an ECG aside from the usual AF. I will tell the doc tomorrow though. I have felt shaken by it all day xx

  • Vony I'm sending healing thoughts, I get a lot of pauses too my cardiologists says its normal.... But the more you wait for them or listen out for them the worse they get....guess we need to try and chill out more.

  • Thank you Kaiser for the healing thoughts. The thing about what happened today though is that I couldn't have ignored it. Usually my pauses are momentary and unpleasant but I am used to them. Do you ever get pauses like the one i described today? I hope not but am also keen for reassurance that it was just a pause and nothing more sinister. I honestly thought my heart was going to stop:( hope you are doing well:) xx

  • Yes I get them if I'm really stressed out, and in bed relaxing....it's very scary, I feel like my hearts jumping out my body.

    It's so depressing having af problems

  • I too get similar pauses for not quite as long. I have fainted, 3 times didn't fall just slumped. Fortunately with hubby at the times. Ambulance called when in Debenhams, but of course all back on track by time the came. Best wishes Pat

  • Poor you fainting. it is such an awful feeling...I felt totally out of control yesterday. Normally I can feel my pauses will be brief as they are 'familiar' to me...yesterday was different. hope you are doing well now and no more shopping trips ruined! xxx

  • A fiend of mine had to have a pacemaker fitted because of such debilitating pauses. Hopefully you won't have a repetition of such a scary incident.

  • Thank you Jennydog. Did your friend used to feel totally ghastly during the pauses? Normally I don't...they are unpleasant but over very quickly. Not like the one today. It absolutely scared the life out of me. I hope it never happens like that again. Did a pacemaker help your friend? xx

  • I can't check the exact details with her right now as she is in Cyprus on holiday. She and her husband spend about 6 months of every year there. She is 75 and has had pacemakers for over 20 years. Apparently she felt dreadful and listless for a long time and doctors found that her heart was regularly doing very long pauses between beats. The pacemaker totally controls her heart. She looks and feels fine to me and her extended visits to Cyprus would confirm this. She leads a very full life.

    She tells me that her current pacemaker can be recharged in situ. That sounds good! As I may eventually need pace and ablate I am always interested in her condition and she gives me the confidence that a pacemaker is nothing to be frightened about.

  • Is her pacemaker implanted in her chest in the usual way? I wonder why I didn't get one like that last year.

  • Yes, it's on her left side, above her left breast.

    I have radiotherapy damage to my left shoulder with odaema in that area. I asked how this would influence the location of a pacemaker and was told that it would be placed on my right side.

  • There is a tiny one that can be inserted into the heart.

  • I have read about that. It's inserted via the groin. I told that Registrar that I rather fancied that type but he indicated that it would not be suitable for me.

    I tend to think that there will be major advances in pacemakers before long so I'm hoping it will be some time before I need one !

  • Vony Over several years, I had moments of passing out (with those same issues you describe)--enough so, that when I felt them coming on. I found a chair or would lie down. It wasn't until a few years ago that my new GP, at the time, sent me to a cardiologist. He eventually put in a pacemaker to pace my heart and metoprolol to keep the 300+ beats down--along with flecainide for my AFib. I had an ablation this past June. I still have some rare moments where I feel a bit "woozy," but I have been assured that I won't pass out.

  • I think you should explain what happened, like you have here, to your cardiologist as you may need a pacemaker- you give a good account and mention how pale you appeared etc- the modern pacemakers are much smaller and very effective so not to be worried about

  • Good advice RosyG. thank you. i will take your advice and explain all tomorrow. i never want that to happen again. never experienced anything like it. A pacemaker has been suggested by a general cardiologist when i was in CCU before but the EP said i can cope with pauses up to 5 secs and to "ride the storm"....well I can't ride a storm like that too often. it was absolutely horrible xx

  • Vony

    I suggest that you write down today's events in bullet point format in chronological order and giving approx times including any relevant bits in the couple of hours either side. Also include other people's comments and observations as well as your own. Give it to the consultant to read as they will retain much more that way. Also by doing this you are less likely to miss out some things. It may also be some of points that you consider less relevant that are actually more relevant to the consultant. On a separate sheet include any other past incidents.

    Good luck.

  • I have a app on my phone it monitors my pulse through the flash ... I have these drops in my heart rate they show on the monitor, strange frightening feeling like your heart has dropped into your gut I usually get head aches breathless and become quite tired , my heart rate is kept low generally 48-51 bpm when at rest , I also get the racing heart and that comes with different symptoms. Read as many post on here as you can and glean information from post that are similar to your symptoms and see if any advice helps. But always remember the best medical advice will come from a trained professional... But the support from here is great . Take care

  • Vony , My very first experience of AF was exactly like that six years ago when I was travelling alone on a plane. I was terribly weak and didn't know what was happening, but the stewardess took me down to the back and gave me oxygen. I was ok after fifteen minutes so they took me back to my seat where I apologised to my neighbour, who said, "I thought you were dead. You looked as dead as some people I saw in West Belfast during the troubles."

    I did nothing about it, but the same thing happened about six months later at work when my local pharmacist happened to be visiting me on a social call. He put me in the car and took me to the GP, who called an ambulance to take me to A&E. I lay there until I recovered and they sent me home. Nobody connected it to my heart for a couple of years, and my heart failure was only diagnosed last July.

    I tell you all this to allay your fears, as, although I do think you should get it checked out, it can be a sudden drop in blood pressure, or perhaps not connected with your condition at all. Worrying about it adds stress which is unhelpful in any situation.

  • Yes, my husband had this and was diagnosed with Sick Sinus Syndrone. This was easily remedied with implantation of pacemaker - his heart paused for up to 7 seconds.

    Glad you have an appointment booked and hope you get some solutions.

  • Yes, I have 😨 and I felt like that! Luckily I was able to catch a run of pauses on my Alivecor and my cardiologist was not happy, said my medication was the cause so I had a choice of ablation (so I didn't need the meds) or pacemaker. The medication was to stop my heart speeding but it seems it also slows down suddenly too. The ablation was pretty successful but I still have the odd dizzy moment and I'm not allowed to use any meds as PIP.

    I hope your cardiologist comes up with a reassuring explanation for you, that sounded really terrifying.

  • You are naturally shaken by this experience - who wouldn't be? I too have pauses, they were causing my dizziness. My worst dizziness I attribute to a pause and everything went pretty black and grainy for me in my vision for a short while and I thought I was going to pass out. Ive been told not to worry that I won't die - I'm actually just frightened I'll pass out and what happens then! I think if the EP says you can cope but you feel you can't that it's worth talking to him using the words that you were frightened and expressing all your worries and fears. It won't sound as bad to him/her as it feels to you - see what they can advise. When I began medication it stopped my dizziness totally, though I still hve pauses and palpitations and fast runs and slow! (Bad luck for me). Stories of similar experiences from others may help you but your true answers lie between you and an an honest chat with the Consultant. Tell them you feel you can't cope with it and ask if they can do anything.,

  • This describes exactly how i went yesterday....black, grainy vision. your advice is so good. thank you Julie xxx

  • Vony, if this happened to me I would be suspecting it was a minor stroke and would have sought advice immediately.

    Jean

  • It was definitely in the context of a pause followed by a change of rhythm. the numbness was both sides and i am sure because the blood was getting pumped round. i am on apixaban also xx

  • *not getting pumped around!

  • What a frightening experience, Vony - it's good that you are seeing your cardiologist today. I think there is only so much coping that one can do and, honestly a 5 second pause would scare me rigid. PeterWh 's advice about written evidence is the way to go and also make sure that your EP is kept informed.

    Best wishes.

  • As always, the kindness and caring of folk on this forum is so comforting and heart warming. thank you everyone xx

  • Vony

    My dear friend; to answer your question I did used to have bad pauses (6 seconds that I could see on Alivecor recording) and asystole on hospital monitor (whilst standing talking to nurse - well actually arguing with her that one of my leads must be loose and her telling me it was 3 leads and to get back on the bed!) and got quite blase despite them making me feel bad. However last year in August whilst waiting for my second ablation I had one that I thought was going to kill me; it's so hard to describe as my hearing went and vision coming in from the sides and I just 'not there'. It was petrifying. As I often write I had resisted a pacemaker but no more. I had an emergency appointment with my EP and this time it was he who held my nerve for me to wait until after the ablation; it's brings it home when they write about concerns about sinus arrest in your notes.

    You need to discuss urgently what your treatment options are; despite the AF mantra won't kill you; sinus arrest can. Tell them how fearful you are. Are you on any drugs? Has another ablation been offered? Do you need a pacemaker now?

    I did have that second ablation; destroying the damaged heart tissue has stopped most of my arrhythmia and crucially for me I have had no pauses that give me symptoms in the 14 months since. I have a very scarred heart; I am Bradycardic ~low 40s and have a lot of junctional escape rhythm rather than SN but I function very well as I was fit for many years and have an excellent ejection fraction ~70%.

    You do need help now though; it is not panic it is reasonable to expect prompt action with these symptoms.

    I'm so sorry your condition has escalated causing you fear again after taking back control.

    I am still here and feeling better this last year after 18 months of things getting worse and worse. Have faith that your doctors can do this for you too.

    Sending my love.

    Jo

  • PS when my EP says I need a pacemaker I will have one no quibble; I trust his judgement over mine (a rare thing indeed).

  • So good to hear from you Jo. I went to the general cardiologist today. she was absolutely lovely...so nice she made me cry lol. she said that during my Ep study, the EP found another faulty pathway which causes atrial tachycardia. she said that this is perhaps the rhythm i went into briefly yest after the pause. she said if i had have stood up i probably would have fainted. she is going to order an urgent 7 day holter and see what it shows. she also said if that happens again to go to A and E. but we all know the frustration of these events...over and done with by the time we get hooked up to an ECG machine...leaving it a mystery as to what has happened:( Feeling really down and frightened at the minute. Have felt so positive in recent months and had a fairly stable summer with less burden of arrythmias. Jo, so so happy you are doing well. you deserve it after such a struggle and I look forward to being in the same boat as you sometime in the future. I do worry we haven't truly got to the bottom of my diagnosis sometimes but then I think it is sure to come to a head if that is the case. Feel like I have to be cautious and vigilant though and this leaves me feeling unsafe. I don't think that is anxiety though admit I am one to catastrophise but yesterday was a very very real event xxxx

  • Funny thing was that the scary pauses were always after or in the middle of tachycardia runs not during AF (although often had a lurch on converting back to NSR) so this might be the cause. I've not been getting the tachycardia now either.............Had 3 episodes of AF in last 4 months but not as violent despite rate being up to 170 and terminated naturally without a lurch so it is very different now.

    Good luck with the tests - maybe time to consider a second ablation if they have mapped out your arrhythmias - certainly I feel safe and secure now in a way I didn't before.

    Jo

    xx

  • Vony

    If it does happen again don't go to A&E yourself unless you live less than a mile or so from the A&E) but dial 999 and a paramedic in a car or in an ambulance will be sent and they will hook you up straight away. That way it's very much more likely that they can catch something in the aftermath but obviously they may not.

  • Will do Peter. people on here are so supportive. thank you xx

  • Sometimes when it's ourselves we miss the obvious whereas others see it clearly!!! I have done that!!!!

  • My 7 day ECG monitor showed that I was getting 3.5 second pauses but mainly during the night. I had a BP monitor that bleeped and I could hear the pauses if they happened when taking my BP.

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