Heart palpatations while sleeping - AF Association

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Heart palpatations while sleeping


I'm now almost 4 months post my second ablation. The good news is the there is no sign of AFIB returning, confirmed by a recent 24 hour monitor. While I've been taken off Flecainide, I still take metropolol for a still relatively high heart resting rate. However, About two months ago, seemingly out of nowhere, I started to experience an increase in ectopics that have sometimes been so sever that they require me to rest and stay off my feet until they subside. Additionally, I have this odd feeling inside of me in which my heart is jumpy or nervous feeling, kind of swirling around (like the feeling one gets when speaking in front of a large group), mostly when I am lying down, or attempting to go to sleep or when waking up from sleep, but sometimes when merely sitting. This feeling is separate from the ectopic heart beats and don't necessarily occur at the same time. It could be anxiety which is often associated with arrhythmia, but I didn't experience any of this feeling for the first two months after my ablation when I was feeling great. It came on very suddenly and has lingered which makes me wonder if it may be something other than anxiety or merely my heart deciding to be angry for a little while longer. My EP says he hasn't seen a recent case like this in which the AFIB is controlled, but these other symptoms persist. He still feels that things will calm down over time but it hasn't been fun. I'm continuing to exercise as recommended by my EP but at a reduced level until I feel better. Any thoughts or similar experiences?

18 Replies

I still get "flutters" post second ablation when starting to exercise or often wake with fast heart rate if lying on left side. Always calms down within a few seconds or when I shift to other side, though. It's as though the ablations have given me a "reset" back to years ago when afib was just in the occasional odd flutter or thump stage. Maybe just give it more time. I'm not positive, but I think there may be less of it when I'm consistent with COQ10 dosage, too.

Sounds like vagal response. Whenever you get these feelings sit and practise 7:11 breathing - slow your breathing down and meditate.

There is a Sanjay Gupta video post about slowing your breathing down to stop ectopic and improve vagal tone. Doing it on a daily basis will also help. Sleeping propped up at night will also help.

Here is the link to the YouTube video - can't find the HU post but also look at FB - York Cardiology


Kleasmile in reply to CDreamer

I take a deep breath and hold it and I feel that my ectopic beats stops..Im 6 months after ablation for a.fib..and I have days with lot of ectopic beats..


I haven't had any procedures, but my afib is a bit better controlled by nebivolol for a little while, however, separate from afib I get lots of strange out of sync beats day and night, it's those that seem to trigger the feeling of anxiety in the chest, and if it goes on longer, the head.

Hi further to some of the other posts, The first thing I would say is that 4 months is still a little early to assume your heart isn't still in the recovery phase. I would give it at least 6 months or even a year to see if things settle down a bit more. Secondly, having had an ablation, I do think your heart is never quite the same as it was before. That isn't being downbeat, just acknowledging that these procedures wouldn't be done if they weren't significant enough to change the behaviour of your heart, maybe after many years of misbehaving. My ablation has been largely successful in curbing attacks of AF, but it has still left me with ectopics and lots of bumps and thuds. I'm a bit frustrated by this, as it would have been nice to go back to how I was thirty years ago, but I'm realistic enough to accept that just going back to a time when I could manage my condition would still be a great improvement.

The fact that you have had a positive monitor test is good, but I am slightly surprised your doctor hasn't had more experience of patients who still have odd heart activity without AF. I'm certainly in that category. Of course if you are unhappy you should,continue to quiz your EP, but I would still suggest giving it a bit more time to see if your heart becomes a bit more compliant. Good luck.

daveboy99 in reply to Bob56

My situation exactly as you have described your own ,Bob, so thanks for helping to boost my occasionally flagging morale.


Thanks all for your comments. Thanks for the video CDreamer. I have been doing the 7/11 technique but to no avail. Perhaps I need to do it more than just once per day

Yes, still early days and hopefully things will calm down.

CDreamer in reply to Jhcoop55

The breathing does work for many people but obviously not everyone. you do need to do it for at least 5-6 minutes and doing it daily does help. Whether or not it does, it will help the anxiety and improve vagal tone so will have an effect over time.

I have been told that ectopics are a good sign - it demonstrates that your heart is trying to go into AF but isn't.

I know many people on the site have reports this sort of reaction and some seek medication.

it is important to ensure they are ectopics - ECG will reassure you that is all that is going on. Unfortunately there is not much doctors can do as they are not considered anything of concern.

I got a lot of ectopics which I was aware of in the first 6 months after ablation, then nothing for about a year, then they started again, breathing would stop an episodes but I would get other episodes, then they disappear again. Any stress, even argument with Hubbie, can trigger an episode - the important thing is to know they are uncomfotable, can make you breathless but are not considered dangerous.

If you have a Kardia (Alivecor) it will help you keep track.

Jhcoop55 in reply to CDreamer

CDreamer, Thanks for your comments. As noted, I had a 24 hour monitor test performed that shows a continuous EKG- much more thorough than a 6 second ekg and shows variations in heart pattern over a broad period of time. My test showed over 2000 ectopic beats during the 24 hour test (yes, 2000, that is not a typo). Obviously some of the ectopic beats are barely noticeable but many of them are very strong. If ectopics are the bodies way of attempting to fight off AFIB, it is working overtime as I had no signs of AFIB during this period or any other period since my last ablation

I do have an Alivecor but it only tells you if you are in AFIB. Even when I get ectopics, as long as my heart rate is below 100, the Alivecor registers that as being in normal sinus rhythm (which is technically correct). Do you have an Alivecor that detects other arrhythmia other than AFIB?

Currently on Metropolol which theoretically keeps my pulse down and can be somewhat helpful for ectopics. It helps the former but not the latter for me

I'll keep up the breathing which I have been doing daily. I'm fit, I don't drink, no caffeine, and stay away from all stimulants that can trigger things

Just need to be more patient.....

CDreamer in reply to Jhcoop55

I think so. Are they atria or ventricle ectopics? I get both and 2000 in 24 hours is not that uncommon.

Everyone has ectopics it's only we AFibbers seem to be much more aware of them. I have to say though that many a day makes one rather weary!

Hope you get some relief soon.

Jhcoop55 in reply to CDreamer

Thanks. 2300 atrial and 140 ventricle.

CDreamer in reply to Jhcoop55

Hope they decrease in time, mine did.

CDreamer in reply to Jhcoop55

PS - you can set your Alivecor to take anything up to a 2 minute trace you know.

I am 11 months post ablation and still have extra beats and hard pounding heart sometimes. For me it is typically caused by something I have eaten like gluten/wheat, artificial sweeteners, alcohol. And sometimes, as many have mentioned, when I lay on my left side, I have to roll to the right to stop them. Overall I am not bothered as much by them like before the ablation.

CDreamer in reply to needlestone

That is typical vagal response.

I've been "lurking" in this community for a while, but your post has brought me out of lurker-dom. :) You describe just how I'm feeling. Especially the hard to explain swirly, jumpy, nervous feeling! I had to laugh as I read that, a perfect description, but one that might make a doctor roll their eyes. Anyways, like you, just 4 months out from an ablation. Off the flecainide, though I like being on it, kept everything calm and even. Still on metoprolol and eliquis. I'm gradually ratcheting up my exercise, can even run in short spurts and feel better for having exercised. Just wanted to thank you, knowing someone else is feeling the same way was reassuring. Thank you! Hope you're feeling better soon!

I'm sure you and I aren't the only ones experiencing this. Amazing that our paths are so similar. All we can do is hang in there and persevere.

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