Should I be chasing for answers?

For the past year I have been suffering from an irregular heartbeat, intermittently.

On 18th February this year having an episode that had lasted over three hours, I was taken by ambulance to A&E. Paramedics recorded my heart rate at 37 bpm with a pause of 1.6 seconds. By the time I arrived in A&E it had settled down & my heart rate was 74 bpm My BP was 153/87. Blood tests were said to be unremarkable & chest xray was clear. I was discharged & advised to return if I became symptomatic or suffered any adverse features to my bradyarrhythmia.

On 20th February while at the hospital with my wife, who was having a scan, my symptoms returned & I was advised to go directly to A&E. by the time they had connected all the leads my heart rate had returned to normal. The diagnosis given was Tachycardia - Bradycardia.

On 28th March I had an echo-cardiogram & was fitted with a 7 day monitor.

I am still waiting for results but in the meantime I am having regular events which make me feel very unwell. Each time my heart misses a beat, on the next beat I feel as though I have been slapped on the chest & a feeling of pressure rises up & into my throat. These events are becoming more frequent & can last from between 1 & 7 hours.

I have been reluctant to go back to A&E as my heart rate, although uneven has not dropped to a level that might be considered an emergency & although it can go high it also wouldn't be considered an emergency.

My GP has told me that it is likely that I would need a pacemaker but I don't understand enough about what is wrong. Would this be likely to be AF? Should I be chasing for some clarification? Should I be getting myself to A&E when I have these events or an I correct in thinking it won't be considered serious enough to require immediate attention? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

26 Replies

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  • it's good that you are being monitored and also that you are having episodes while being monitored as they will be able to see what is happening. Regarding A and E. I think it's best to be on the safe side- If you faint or feel ill then do go and explain what is happening.

  • Thank you rosyG, I had the monitor fitted for 28th March too 4th April. I had a number of events while wearing the monitor. I am concerned that it is taking so long to get any results & I have been much worse since then. Until now I haven't had any episodes of fainting but I have had some giddy spells while seated. I am a wheelchair user & although able to stand & walk a little it's not for long. It seems to me that unless I am literally at deaths door the hospital don't want know.

  • then I would definitely go to A and E hen this happens- if you are feeling dizzy while seated this needs looking at . Try and go during the day when they should be able to access your results but obviously go at any time if you are feeling ill, You have to make a fuss if they are not looking into things urgently

  • Thank you rosyG, it sounds sensible to me. I suppose one of the things that put me off going to A&E was that on the first occasion, after being told I was being admitted, at 1 am I was discharged. My wife is also in poor health & having gone home at midnight she would not have been able to come back. The hospital staff called for a taxi which cost me £60, money we can ill afford.

  • that's quite wrong- you shouldn't be sent home at that time of night for all sorts of reasons!!Don't be pu off as if you need to go at night you must do so- I should refuse to go home in the middle of the night!!

    Even in A and E on the three times I have been when AF was very bad they waited until he morning and just monitored me

  • Having been told that I wan't to get off the trolley & stand up as I was at risk of a heart attack. When they phoned for the taxi they told the driver I might need him to stop at a cash machine, lol. Anyway I'll not say any more about this as it starts to get political & I know this isn't what this group is for.

  • I would ask my GP to chase up the results for me. Is the hospital contacting you with the results or have you been given an appointment to see someone such as a cardiologist. The results should go to your GP anyway so I suggest you follow that up as a priority.

    You would expect that if something urgent was amiss you would have been contacted by now. However you only have one heart and need to ensure you are diagnosed and given treatment sooner rather than later.

    It's very frightening having such symptoms especially where the heart is concerned. Don't wait if you feel ill get to hospital, they can chase up your results there and then.

    Can't believe they sent you home at that time of night, not acceptable. One thing you learn with this condition, you need to be very proactive and in some cases pushy in order to be heard.

    Take care and best wishes, this is a nasty condition and most of us have had awful terrifying symptoms at times which have scared us silly so be comforted in that respect as we are still here to tell the tale. You know best whether you need to go to hospital so don't delay if you feel you need their attention. X

  • Thank you meadfoot, I will push for a telephone appointment with my GP tomorrow. Hopefully they might have some results & possibly want to see me. Another symptom that I haven't mentioned here is an awful feeling of fluttering in my chest & also a variation between missed beats & weak beats. I have tried to be patient & not to worry but I think I've waited long enough. I suffered a dissected carotid artery about 7 years ago & have been taking aspirin daily since then. I have read that aspirin will be of no benefit in this situation. Perhaps I should take this up with my GP?

  • When you speak to the receptionist at your GP surgery ask if your results have come in. The receptionist can say yes or no but cannot give you the results. Only then make an appointment. This could save a wasted trip.

    If no is the answer from your GP call the hospital who fitted your Halter monitor, ask for Cardiology, then ask for the section that fitted the monitor. Ask them when will the results will be ready.

    Waiting can be very stressful if you are relying on others to provide information for a worrying condition. Try to be pro active and push for your results.

  • Thank you Jumper, I have to make an appointment for a fasting blood test (a seperate health issue) I will ask about results then. It is clear from all the answers on here that I must push for action.

  • I know that fluttery feeling only too well. Yes have a list of questions ready, the aspirin one is key. If you are diagnosed with af then aspirin is not helpful against af stroke risk, you would need an anti coagulant if your scoring necessitated it. That's not to say you wouldn't need aspirin for your other issue.

    I am not medically trained I emphasise, just an arrhythmia sufferer like the rest of us here,. Your doctor will have the answers or refer you to a cardiac specialist,. They will get you on track. Good luck and let us know how you get on. X

  • Thank you meadfoot, thanks to all the advise here I have now written my list of questions & will hopefully get some answers very soon. I'll keep you all updated.

  • DO NOT get a pace maker. That is the last resort. Try meds. If that fails get an ablation. It took me 3 of them to get cured but the third one was the charm!! In rhythm for 3+ years now. Thank you many times over Mayo Clinic.

  • Meds are not the answer for tachybrady syndrome, that is why I had to have an ablation, and if that failed I would have had to have a pacemaker.

  • Oh dear, I am sorry to hear your story; take a look at my username! In 1993 I complained of a 'wonky heartbeat' but after taking my pulse for about 7 seconds, my GP said there was nothing wrong; I continued to complain, so he sent me off to see a specialist. I had a 24 hour monitor fitted, and when the results were back he said, 'we can see that it is doing it, but there is nothing wrong with you'. So began 24 years of putting up with it; I continued to mention it to my GP, and he continued to shrug with indifference. Recently, during routine screening for diabetes, the nurse said, 'I cant take your blood pressure because your heartbeat is all over the place.' I commented that it was about time someone had noticed it! Atrial fibrillation was properly diagnosed at last and I am being looked after extremely well. To be fair, I think I read somewhere in this forum that they didn't take it very seriously in the past, but once I had been poo-pooed by my GP and the specialist, I was very reluctant to raise the issue again. My advice to anyone with a 'wonky heartbeat' is to get down to your GP and tell him / her that you want it investigated. I had an ECG at the doctors' surgery, and it took all of ten minutes. I got a print-out from a machine that made the duty doctor's eyebrows go up. Make a fuss!!!

  • Sorry I have been off computer since your original post but I do have some comments. Obviously the Holter monitor should give some diagnosis but from your description it does not sound typical Atrial Fibrillation to me. The tachy/brady rhythm is a completely different thing for sure and your dizzy spells do indicate that your blood pressure is dropping during these events.

    Whilst I agree with Ryan that a pacemaker is no good for AF , if you do have very slow bradycardia, and unless you are a trained athlete a rate of 37 is very low , a pacemaker may well change your life. The pauses you describe will be ectopic beats most likely when in simple terms the upper and lower chambers get out of phase and no blood is pumped. These are normal in healthy people, up to 200 a day, but when they become very frequent they are quite distressing and unpleasant. A slow heart will amplify these.

    Just to be sure here. AF is a very irregular and irregular rhythm In fact no rhythm at all, just a fast fluttery feel on your wrist when you try to take your pulse. Typically this will be over 150bpm if you could count it and although it is possible to have slow AF this is not common.

  • Thank you BobD,

    Please forgive me for not acknowledging your answer sooner. I wrote a reply but it seems I failed to submit it & I've only just realised. If you look at my earlier post of today you will see that I have followed advice given on here & had an emergency appointment with GP this evening. He was not happy that I had been kept hanging on so long without answers & is going to be chasing up the hospital for results & cardiology appointment.

  • You need to go to the hospital when this happens!!

  • Thank you lotus4, it seems to be the opinion of the majority on this site. I will go on the next bad episode.

  • Once I went to emergency about 10 pm had cv and they told me I could go home at 2am I said no I am not getting my husband out of bed at that time so they said we need the bed so I said I would go sit in waiting area till 7am the reply was cant let you do that you are not well enough hello well enough to go home but not to sit in waiting room they tucked me up brought me a cup of tea and said I could leave at 8am have to stand up for yourself

  • Thank you Maza23,

    That was what I sugested I could do & was told it was not allowed. There was a hint that security would evict me if I stayed. One thing about all the replies on here is that I will now be more forceful in getting results but also I have decided to battle to get a re-embursment of my £60.

  • Mine paid for taxi. Seemingly had account with local taxi company. London.

  • Thank you lallym, I've decided that I am going to fight to get this money re-imbursed.

  • Hi

    I do hope that you feel better 🌺

    I have worked jn A & E as a staff nurse for over 10 years

    And i know the staff hate sending people home late It's not good at all

    You need to be very assertive i m afraid

    The staff are so busy most iof the time and fail to really take notice at times due to workoad

    You have say " i cant go i feel too u nwell " not telljng you to lie but just make a point strongly 😳

    You have a moniter now which is good

    Whike you wait fir results if at any time yiu feel " unwell my dear" go to A & E

    Because you have no diagnois yet its best to go to A & E they will do ECG and hook yiu up to a moniter on the wall and yiur nurse looking after you will be in the look out for any dramtic changes

    Its safer to do this untill you know what's going on as the bradycadia could be many things

    🌺

  • Thank you Jamila123,

    it's good to have some input from someone at the sharp end. I was aware that the A&E at the time was extremely busy & the doctors had to make choices. There were certainly a number of patients at the time who were in a far worse condition & these had to take priority. I wouldn't have been lying to tell them I felt very unwell, even though my rhythm had appeared to have settled. It wasn't good to be sent home at 1 am & I felt very vulnerable. I shall bear your advice in mind if it happens again.

  • I managed to get an emergency appointment with a GP this evening. He asked for an ECG to be done before seeing him & sods law not a single blip. Never the less he listened very carefully as I told him of the symptoms I am having. He did have the report of the EKG & that showed no seriously adverse problems & the valves were ok. He is reasonably certain that it is a problem with the signals. He is going to chase up the hospital to get the report on the 7 day monitor & an appointment with cardiologist.

    Many thanks to everyone for your advice.

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