How you know if you are in AF, sinus rhythm or having ectopics?

Ok so my burning question today is about knowing what your heart is doing. My heart runs fast. It runs slow. I also get ectopics. But I don't know what an ectopic feels like. I know when it's slow it feels draggy and achy. When it's fast it goes like the clappers. But how do I know what run of ectopics feels like? my cardio app sometimes has some very perculiar lines on it - don't resemble a heart beat - and they mystify me. Anyone else got a heart that ranges between 30 to over 200? I know my app doesn't pick up ectopics so if I'm running fast anyone know if it's accurate?

15 Replies

  • The recommended app is AliveCor which gives an ecg tracing. You can get this reported or post it on here and many of us can give a reasonable analysis of your rhythm.

    Other apps that use the phones camera are not accurate and cannot be relied upon

  • Thanks I'm always aware my app not picking up ectopics when slow apparently .

  • An ectopic feels like a skipped beat - mine feel a bit like quick, quick, slow, pause, normal. Unlike AF which feels much noisier and thumpier - well that's how I experience them. There was a thread recently about Fitbit being more accurate for HR than pulse monitors or finger monitors.

    I use the Alivecor (Kardia to give its new name) to do an ECG trace as a record rather than just take pulse rate.

  • So I'm intrigued what the pause feels like maybe that's what I'm doing and it feels like an ache on my chest. Will look at Fitbit etc. Thanks.

  • Well I wouldn't bother personally much better use the Alivecor and then you would know from the ECG.

  • The Fitbit etc won't tell you anything about what rhythm you're in eg ectopics or af. Only AliveCor Kardia will do this

  • Hi Julie, my heart rate used to rin much the same. I think the best advice would be to see your gp or cardiologist & for them to explain the difference while looking at your ecg. Do you see an EP or arrythmia nurse? Are you on medication for your AF.

  • porsche hi I'm on medication but due to heart rate dropping have just been taken off metroprolol and left on flecainide only. I had ectopics whilst on lower dose of both so we increased flecainide. However ablation is now right on the table yet I'm wanting to try to control this with medication. My previous dose of lower flecainide and beta blocker today was ok but I had ectopics - EP says can't go back to that cos had ectopics yet I'm still not feeling brave enough for ablation. I'm off rate medication yet heart still going slow.

  • Just wondering... have you been checked for sick sinus syndrome? Sounds a bit like it to me.


  • expences hi I'm unsure what that is - see my reply to @porsche do u think this sounds like sick sinus? I don't know what treatment wkd be but I'm also told I cld need pacemaker BUT I would wonder do I need to go through ablation if pacemaker is needed since you can take medication with pacemaker.

  • Only your cardiologist will be able to diagnose this problem, but it is a problem with the AV node (natural pacemaker) where the heart rate can vary between bradycardia (less than 60) and tachycardia (fast). I had a suspected episode myself where my heart went down to 30 the up to 180 in minutes! The A&E doctor thought that it could be SSS, but it never happened again.

    On the subject of ectopic beats, mine feel like a thump when my heart beats again after missing one. Not nice if it happens a lot.

    All the best.xx

  • expences thanks for explaining mine does that 30 to 174 etc. But it's low for a while as if it's revving up to accelerate and then ping off it goes! The fast bit is never very long at all though maybe minutes or 10 mins at most.

  • Dont know if you have had an event monitor or not but it is device that records you heart over a few days but only records when you feel something odd happening. You press a button and it records the "event". Then the doc analyses it. This might be helpful for you if you havent had one done.

    The other thing for me is that I have a supersensitivity to caffeine, it sends my pulse right up within minutes! As long as I avoid it, everything is fine.😚 Crazy eh.

    Hope you get it all sorted soon.


  • Oops, meant thhe SA node is the natural pacemaker, been retired too long 😴

  • I think sick sinus node is the same as PAF. I too had the same symptoms as you. I suffered a lot of Ectopics which triggered the AF, another ectopic beat would halt it. I too was on Flecanide but had such a slow heart rate it caused heart block. Stayed on Sotalol for many years even after being offered an ablation (coward). Finally had a cryoblation and haven't looked back ( fingers crossed) . Anyway in answer to your question,for me an ectopic beat felt like a thud or a jolt followed by normal heartbeat.

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