AF Association

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I have experienced most of my ectopic heartbeats, if not all, when I had a full or bloated stomach. The feeling that my stomach had something to do with this extra "hard" beats was always there. To explain this to my doctor always felt so stupid. The way I made sense of it was the following: Because I have an enlarged atrium I thought my heart was larger than normal and because of that, when my stomach was full, I could “feel” my heartbeats.

I have researched the Vagus nerv and found the following:

The vagus nerve is also called the wandering nerve, because it travels throughout the body. It actually extends from the brain to the stomach. It is also called the “mixed” nerve because signals are going in both ways. An irritated vagus nerve causes symptoms that vary widely, for me it was the Ectopic heartbeats.

Any comments about this vagus nerv and ectopic heartbeats would be very interesting and helpful.

23 Replies

Hi, Janco,

I have the same problem. Bloated stomach provocates ectopics. Being MD it is easier for me to understand it. As you find vagus is mixed. A vagal reflex starts from the upper part of the stomach. So the vagus direcly sense if the stomach is bloated. The vagal reflex hits the heart- That's all.


Janco in reply to Mercurius


It helps me to understand it better, but still feels weird!

If you search for videos of Dr Sanjay Gupta of York Cardiology you will see he has posted on this forum, his FB page and YouTube about ectopics and how to improve Vagal tone and to ease ectopics when they start. As he suffers himself from ectopics - he always checks the latest research and often posts his thoughts, suggestions and explanations on a Saturday,

There was an excellent one a few weeks ago.

If you put Ectopics in the search box you will also see all of the many previous posts on Vagal AF, vagus nerve and ectopics.

Janco in reply to CDreamer

Thx CDreamer

Very interesting! He is very helpful!

As mentioned previously, a video from Dr Gupta hope this helps.

I thought I was going nuts I had really bad wind (belching) and my heart was beating hard and felt wobbly. I thought I was going to have an af episode but I took gaviscon and it stopped. The only other thing was in had quite a nasty pain between my shoulder blades too

A lot of my AF episode happen after I've eaten. I know the Vagus nerve is involved. Often using the Valsalva Manoeuvre can put me back in NSR. Wish it was my only trigger then I would always be able to cope.


Yes i have same problem

If have been on a detox for a year trying to cleanse body since afib attack

And what i noticed was certains foods strangely enough effect me

strong cheese peanuts things with tyramine in

I also notices if i eat a large carb food or any proceesse sauces in they all can start a bloating then mega ectopics that sometime lead to afib

Also postion sometime can bring in ectopics

Oh my crazy heart 😳

Dr Gupta talks about just this in utube

There is a link for sure


Hi Janco

I can also totally relate to your and other posted comments. My events were mostly episodes of missed beats. Even though I have just recently had a successful PVI ablation I can still feel the odd palpitation. Also I have recently managed to get most of the epigastric problems under control which has also helped. My EP understands but there is still a lot of medical people who do not understand what problems us AF ers have to cope with and the presence of the vagus nerve.

Janco in reply to guitarman49

Hi guitarman49

I agree, sometimes the Dr will just listen and say....Ok, and go on speaking, and then I feel so stupid and start questioning my own experience, and how I should have have explained it, or if it was really that bad.

These were exactly my problems and I always had difficulty explaining them to the doctor who mostly pooh-poohed the notion that my stomach would have any real impact upon AF but the cardiologist eventually agreed that vagally mediated AF (which is not necessarily a fixed and definite diagnosis but more a diagnosis by exclusion - I have no abnormalities within the heart and my AF is said to be idiopathic, of no known cause or origin hence possibly vagally mediated) AF might be in play in which case rigorous attention to digestive matters might help - it has helped immensely within the last year or so during which time I have had no attacks, ectopics, palpitations or flutters of any kind which stands in stark contrast to years gone by when I would usually have a couple of attacks per year, always in spring and fall, always preceded by digestive disturbances.

Presently, having taken a number of steps to improve my entire digestive process, I seem to have overcome these issues, at least for now and hopefully for the long term

peaches0716 in reply to netpi

Please tell me your recipe for success in helping the digestive system. I am currently in the hospital now for this Vegas nerve_, I also have idiotic pathic. It starts after dinner_, extremely bloating, and the heart beats and the call to 911. Please help me. I also just lost my job.

Trilby8 in reply to peaches0716

Hello peaches - I've gained a great deal of help re the vagus nerve/bloating/ AF/ palpitations since discovering : Deb Maselli ' Are Your Heart Palpitations and stomach bloating connected' - she explains everything simply and how to manage / eliminate the problem. She also has a small booklet titled 'Beat the Bloat' which I purchased from Amazon. Ginger/ digestive enzymes/ probiotics / magnesium as advised by Deb have helped me. Good luck and I hope you find this helpful - Cathy

Mine always happened with food triggers not so much a full stomach. I stopped gluten/wheat and artificial sweeteners and now don't have ectopics anymore unless I accidentally have something with these ingredients. Check out sensitivities to food you are eating too. I did mention one time to my naturopath that I feel my heart beat in my buttocks and she said that was from the vagus nerve.

Janco in reply to needlestone

Hi needlestone

I'm glad you mentioned the buttocks-heartbeat! Thing.

I've had similar experiences before but then not long after it I have to go to the toilet/loo and then I feel much better!


I suspect mine is similar. I'm waiting an appointment and shall try to explain this.

Take a look at my comment in the next post titled "AF versus journey in a few lines."

I too thought food and stomach issues were the cause but I have learned this not to be so. Perhaps what we eat somehow affects the nerves or stomach issues impact the spine. The vagal maneuver sure does. The subluxation of the spine likely gets worse or changes as time goes by so maybe this is why our symptoms change.

I asked Dr. Gupta if chiropractic treatment could help. He thought it could be worth a try but he did not have confidence that it would. Yet, he probably has not researched this or spoken to a qualified chiropractor or to a patient who has achieved positive results.

I have read a study posted on this site that electrically stimulating the vagus nerve in the right ear, can start and stop AF. So it seems reasonable to think that if the natural electrical impulses from the vagus nerve are compromised, AF might be a result.

Has anyone seen any research on this? I asked a cardiologist the other day about chiropractic options and she was totally negative. When I asked if she had seen studies that supported her view, she became very defensive.

123Abc123 in reply to EngMac

I see a chiropractor monthly but the treatment hasn't affected my AF. I don't think most other professions acknowledge chiropractic as useful.

CDreamer in reply to EngMac

There is good reasons why cardiologists are defensive:-

1. They know nothing about Chiroprators who have to train for 9 years to qualify by the way.

2. About 10 years ago there was a campaign by an academic calling for Chiro adjustments in the thoracic region to be banned because of unsubstantiated evidence that they caused cardiac malfunctions.

There was quite a lot of press coverage at that time which I think stuck in the minds of many doctors.


I think netpi's approach for vagally mediated Lone AF is good and a great way to get another positive out of AF whether it fixes AF or not.

I am currently working hard at this chewing more, eating slowly, changing my diet (e.g. 90% gluten out, 50% of sugar out) plus other ways of improving my gut health without lots of supplements. My tongue is slowly losing the horrible white furriness and I feel better. Still too much burping but three things I have learned with AF is you have to be persistent, consistent and patient. Good luck.

CDreamer in reply to Hidden

Have you tried Kefir?

I have been brewing it for the last few weeks - disgusting taste but it seems to have improved my gut health when nothing else has touched it. Advised by my Nutritionist.

Hidden in reply to CDreamer

Thanks CDreamer, yes that may well be helping I buy it from a top biodynamic community farm in Sussex and I put a bit on deserts and in the mix when making muffins.

Hi 123ABC123. The chiropractor has to do the correct treatment for the heart. I am on my third chiropractor and this one may do something that helps. Others did but in a limited way.

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