Palpatations and eating: Whilst my AF is at... - AF Association

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Palpatations and eating

pottypete1
pottypete1

Whilst my AF is at bay and long may that situation last, I am now having runs of fast heart rate whilst and after eating. This lasts for about the first hour then everything settles down again.

I have had a barium swallow recently and am having a brain scan as the Gastroenterologist I saw recently wants to get to the bottom of the severe nausea that I have been suffering from time to time.

Pete

36 Replies
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BobD
BobDVolunteer

All sounds vagal doesn't it Pete. Maybe consider some treatment to calm that pesky nerve. My Bowen man sorted mine out last time it went rogue.

pottypete1
pottypete1
in reply to BobD

Yes Bob I have been of this opinion for some time and did talk to my EP in April about it. Despite me living near a big hospital it took 7 months to get an appointment with the Gastroenterologist who was very good and wants to get to the bottom of it, I am having an MRI scan on my brain (they won't find much in there) as he says that there can be a connection particularly as I told him that I do have a lot of headaches.

I think there is also possibly an issue with my Esophagus which as we know is very near the back of the heart and obviously when I eat food it then passes very close to my heart. My heart having been through the mangle doesn't like the irritation.

Not sure what the solution is but I do hope they come up with something.

Pete

Sorry to hear you not too good Pete Could it be a form of migraine that's causing the nausea Hope all is sorted asap

I don't think it is migraine as I have those as well at unassociated times. I am pretty sure that Bob has hit the nail on the head with the pesky Vagus Nerve being the culprit.

Difficult to treat no doubt but that is life with a sensitive heart.

Pete

So if it is what can they do for you

Your guess is as good as mine Vonnie. I suppose if my Gastroenterologist is keen to find the cause he must have some solution at the end otherwise there would be little point in investigating just to say you have "x" or "y" or "z".

Dr Gupta has posted a number of videos about the Vegus System and the heart - worth watching as are many of his videos.

I am taking Magnesium Taurate and have stopped taking proton pump inhibitors (Lanzoprozol) which was supposed to help with my reflux.

Pete

They reduce the amount of acid produced though which can lead to other problems

The Lanzoprozol does that not the Magnesium. Magnesium is supposed to help with ectopics but not sure what good it is doing me. The Lanzoprozol stops the absorbsion of Magnesium I believe.

I would like to be like jeanjeannie50 and take no tablets but that is not possible right now.

Pete

Wouldn't we all Pete Jeannie has been lucky it worked for her a very brave thing to do Long may it last

Hi pottypete, I have the same issue and I too am awaiting gastro tests. Having a barium swallow in a couple of weeks and a 24 hour ph acid test. Rotten isn't it especially when it impacts on the heart, not good. All the best.

Hi Pete :-) I posted about odd symptoms when swallowing food in my very first post here over a year ago...

Having had various odd 'scary episodes' for years (which I now know were P-AF ) I suddenly started to feel faint and dizzy with a racing heart when swallowing food, I seemed ok swallowing liquid. It suddenly occurred to me to check my pulse and it was fast and chaotic. These 'mini episodes' lasted just a few moments and stopped when I stopped eating. I was just getting over a bad chest infection and thought I might have damaged myself coughing.

The GP seemed to think it was some kind of blockage in the throat but I was convinced it was connected to my strange episodes so an ECG was arranged and possibility of P-AF first mentioned. It went on for two weeks then stopped as suddenly as it started , I have had it occasionally since.

When I attended my first arrythmia clinic to try to get a diagnosis I explained in detail about the swallowing episodes, no comment was made neither was it written in my notes everyone just dismissed it.

I am now aware from researching the topic that some events like pressure in the abdomen which can be the result of a large meal can cause the vagus nerve to be stimulated and that can lead to a temporary disruption in the heart beat and palpataions / light headedness . Although I hadn't eaten a large meal I think inflammation of the oesophagus/ abdomen caused by constantly coughing had affected my vagus nerve and swallowing food tipped the balance producing the symptoms.

pottypete1
pottypete1
in reply to doodle68

That is exactly how my symptoms manifest themselves. Add to which I find it difficult swallowing sometimes rather like a great big air pocket is passing through my esophagus. I also have a tickle. After the tickle I start sneezing and this also causes the problem.

I have tried eating smaller mouthfuls but it makes no difference.

After I have my brain scan in 2 weeks time I will be getting feedback.

Like you I have had little feedback.

At Christmas the nausea was so bad that I could not eat my Christmas dinner and for days was sitting in the corner really feeling very bad. That phase has passed and now I get all these fast runs and chaotic beats right after food plus this afternoon it has also happened off and on all afternoon.

Underneath it all my heart is beating in NSR so I am a bit more relaxed than many times in the past many years.

Pete

Hi Pete, I am not saying that this is the case, but - Headaches; A lot of people mention that they have headaches, at the same time not really identifying the type of headache!

Some are caused by tension/light/chemicals, also in (different) parts of the head ie, front, side, back etc. In my case, most of my headaches, (in the forehead) (chemically incuced) are caused by certain foods/drinks + of course medicines/tablets. In other words, a headache is telling you/I that something is wrong Or something is inside you, ie food Or drink, that is not agreeing with you.

As yours appears to be vagally linked, have you looked/examined the chemicals/ingredients that you are consuming. Sorry if I have stated the obvious, unfortunately it is often the most innocuous of foods/drinks, including ones that you have had all of your life, that are now the culprits.

Pete this article is not quite the same 'condition' but interesting...

It doesn't mention the vagus nerve though ...

''The mechanism by which swallowing induces tachyrhythmias is still unclear. One theory hypothesizes mechanical stimulation of the left atrium by the distended esophagus ''

Deglutition-Induced Atrial Fibrillation

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

pottypete1
pottypete1
in reply to doodle68

Thanks Meg

I will have a look. Believe it or not I am trying to work right now taking off quantities for a big roof plus doing windload calculations. Ah!...... calculations and palpatations _ maybe there is a link there who knows. Maybe I should have retired years ago instead of still working.

Pete

pottypete1
pottypete1
in reply to doodle68

Yes very interesting. Sounds familiar.

Of course my AF converted to Atrial Tachycardia last summer which was finally resolved by ablation last August.

Hopefully it won’t get any worse and will not be a big problem.

Right now my heart is nice and calm but I must admit I did take 1.25mg Bisoprolol with my evening Flecainide and Warfarin tablets tonight.

Nice to be relaxed which is good for the mind and soul.

Pete

doodle68
doodle68
in reply to pottypete1

Pete :-) I hope these odd symptoms resolve themselves as mine did, yes relaxing is good particularly for poorly hearts ...

Yes I know that food can be a trigger for headaches but I have never really managed to identify anything.

I think I can discount light and chemicals as we have eliminated many of the chemicals in our house because of all of my skin allergies (yes I am a walking medical dictionary).

My diet is relatively bland, I do not smoke nor to I consume alcohol.

I hope that the Dr can come up with something after my brain scan.

Pete

Pete :-) I am quite relieved to find someone with similar symptoms to those I had experienced, I was beginning to think I had invented a new condition or was going mad :-)

Since I read about the vagal nerve I won't be scared if it happens again.

BobD
BobDVolunteer

Pete do please investigate Bowen. I know it depends a lot on practitioners but it has helped me a lot in a number of different areas.

pottypete1
pottypete1
in reply to BobD

I’ll behonest Bob I don’t know who or what or who Bowen is, I shall certainly do some research.

Pete

CDreamer
CDreamer
in reply to pottypete1

It's a very gentle hands on body technique - it really can help.

bowen-technique.co.uk

I am writing a general post about this - it's very common but the links are not always made. When I have developed it I will provide links to studies etc. but in the meantime....

I've been studying and experimenting for over a year and what I have learned both horrifies me in that - why isn't this taken up by gastroenterologists? I saw too many over too many years who only prescribed more medications which helped short term but caused other affects long term. I developed Ulcerative Colitis aged 28 and was told I needed a large section of my bowel removed - but I wasn't having that and so I started researching for other ways and found that by changing my diet I was able to rectify most but not all of my problems.

And what I have learned encourages me in that I find that very simple measures in changing diet and habits along with reducing stress works! Functional Medicine - or Lifestyle Medicine works - much is explained in the Four Pillar Plan - but basically we all need to slow down and adopt a Slow Diet - cook from scratch and eat slowly.

It is well known that the ANS - Autonomic Nervous System - of which the vagus nerve is a part can have an affect BUT its a whole lot more complex and what is less known is that the gut flora directly affect the ANS and the immune system so it's also about the Gut as a Biome - ie - gut flora.

The ANS is split into different parts:-

One part of the ANS is called the Sympathetic Nervous System = Fight & Flight and what this does is send blood and energy to the muscles to prepare for fight or flight - a survival mechanism. Only we rarely have to flee or fight from predators these days so the stress we suffer accumulates and we don't deal with it so it affects our digestion because the other the Parasympathetic Nervous System = Rest & Digest - and its called that for a very good reason!

Your body does not easily manage stress and digest food simultaneously. You are wired this way for some good reasons. When you are being attacked, your body is not concerned with digesting food, instead, it will garner all of its energy to focus on the attack at hand. Depending on the severity of the attack, this may cause your digestion to completely shut off, leaving the food in your gut un-metabolized.

In the case of a less severe attack, your digestive system still slows way down and could cause you to suffer in a number of ways. Low-grade stressors impact your metabolism include a poor diet, certain medications, work-related anxiety, a lack of sleep, or negative thoughts, to name a few.

Stress can cause your esophagus to go into spasms, when the valve at the bottom of the oesophagus stays open it causes acid to travel up, causing what we know as heartburn. PPP's don't help long term as they cause a permanent decrease of the acid in your stomach causing indigestion. Under stress, the mill in your stomach can shut down. Stress can cause your colon to react in a way that gives you diarrhea or constipation.

When the flora in our gut is out of balance - and there is a constant war going on between 'good' bacteria which helps and 'bad' bacteria which doesn't it affects all our organs, including the brain and the heart. The imbalance can be caused by numerous things but big antagonists are processed foods and sugar and not eating enough fibrous, green veg which feed the good flora, poor stress management and poor sleep patterns.

My suggestions are:-

- look at your diet and if possible consult a nutritionist who will work with you to suggest adjustments which will help

- look at including fermented foods such as kefir, kumboocha, sour dough breads, probiotics, live yogurt etc into your diet

- eat small portions - go by the BANT Eat Well plate for proportions of veg, protein and fats and starches and carbs and fruit. Make sure you have enough good fats - Avacados, nuts, Olive Oil and butter and avoid the processed spreads.

- adopt a 'slow' eating habit - take a LONG time - never eat on the run.

- allow at least an hour for every meal - rest for at least 30 minutes after eating and for me that means literally not standing up for at least 30 minutes after a meal if I want to avoid tachycardia or AF.

- eat very a low carb diet - eliminate any processed foods and sugar from your diet but do include starch resistant foods such as cold or reheated potatoes

bant.org.uk/about-nutrition...

If it all feels too overwhelming - change one thing at a time.

Best wishes - CD.

pottypete1
pottypete1
in reply to CDreamer

Thank you so much for taking the time to send me this comprehensive reply.

I think I need some time to digest 😜 what you have said so bear with me.

I do eat the good Yogurt, everything is cooked at home and I don’t/can’t eat big meals. I always sit still after meals and never eat on the run. So at least I am doing something right.

Pete

songbird74
songbird74
in reply to CDreamer

Very low carb makes a huge difference for me for weight heart and blood sugar. I wish there was a good functional medicine specialist in the UK. At the moment I rely on Dr Hyman’s Eating plans and am doing his 10 day detox this week

CDreamer
CDreamer
in reply to songbird74

There are plenty in the UK, but only one that I know of NHS funded. I work with a newly formed group running educational talks in the SW - we have 2 FM doctors - 1 a GP and the other a consultant hospital doctor. We are moving SO fast we can’t keep up. There is a huge groundswell movement wanting this. If you are in the SW then PM for details.

songbird74
songbird74
in reply to CDreamer

I am in Ross on Wye, Herefordshire so sort of SW and would love to know more.

Very interesting CD. I think you should put this advice on the forum as a post on its own.

Jean

I have had that, usually when having runs of AF, and last time I had a 'run' I also had difficulty swallowing and a couple of episodes of when I breathed in involuntarily while I was chewing and food went the wrong way causing violent coughing. I also had headaches and pain in my neck when breathing, not to mention an upset stomach! When I first mentioned the eating + tachycardia thing I was told to eat frequent small meals which as I can't eat large meals anyway didn't seem helpful. I am still waiting for the report of my chest x-ray when I was in A&E as I am sure there was something odd going on.

Thank goodness the phase seems to have passed for now but it would be so good to know what causes these things. Best wishes for finding an explanation for your nausea, I think there is nothing worse 😖

If I eat caffeine-containing foods or very sugary foods I will get palpitations.

pottypete1
pottypete1
in reply to annemk

Yes Caffine is an issue as is alcohol. However, I get my problem just by eating normal foods

Hi Pete, what the others say is my experience also: Vagal AF. I am now very careful to tune into my body throughout the meal to ensure I'm not over-eating. And if I eat a main meal after about 5 - 6 pm, I'm 'done for'! It will be either AF or fast heart runs. I now have my main meal usually earlier (3 - 4 pm is good, especially if it has animal protein), and limit anything before bed. I find the pressure on my belly squeezes the vagal nerve, my diaphragm and my heart, and is likely to lead to trouble.

I think id agree with Bobd and your own instincts,that is is vagal nerve connected.I find smaller meals and sitting still for half an hour so after eating,not bending over for same kind of time helps.

As you say,your poor old gullet has been knocked about a bit over the years!

All the best Potty Pete.I had an mri recently...they did find a brain,but all was ok.

Best wishes x

I have had this same problem for years! It's very upsetting and some times my heart races through the night. I need to learn more about how to calm the vagus nerve. I suspect that it is at the heart of my issues. LOL no pun intended. I have headaches often, but I chalk those up to hormones, and time on the computer at work. They are frustrating and debilitating at times.

I am a strong believer in the Vagus nerve and many problems-including afib-but how did Bowen technique calm it down? I have just started the mechanical link osteopathy technique and was told that the fascia on my left vagus nerve is very tight-so, I a curious to see how things with it will be when she loosens up the fascia!!

OMG. Finally a thread that resonates so closely with me its unbelievable. I have GERD and a hiatus hernia and food / reflux is a constant battle for my palps. I also have just changed my anxiety tablets and it has sent my stomach and palps through the roof. I changed my PPI's from lansoprazole to renetidine which doesn't control the acid as much but is better for digesting food. The lansoprazole seemed to stop my food being digested properly so it would sit and give me furthers palps. Lesser of 2 evils. My gastroenterologist wont recognise the effect on the heart and my cardiologist the same. They just want to keep giving me tablets which are not helping, thats pointless. I feel my heart is super sensitive and the vagal nerve is the main culprit? How do we address This? When professionals wont address This! Life changing and so frustrating.

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