Looking for any advice please : I’ve been... - AF Association

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Looking for any advice please

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx

I’ve been experiencing frequent palpitations, skipped and miss beats for several months now. I have had many ecgs including a 24 hour one which just shown sinus tachycardia therefore my GP was happy to put it down to anxiety.

The first couple of days of April this year I started experiencing a sort of dropping sensation like I was going to faint. On the 5th April I got really dizzy and fainted and my heart rate was around 180bpm I attended a&e and my ecg shown sinus tachycardia. They suggested I should have a longer ecg and echo and that I may have SVT, they said if it happens again to go back to a&e. However my gp refused to give my the further tests as she was confident it was anxiety and ‘not necessary’.

I had another episode exactly like this on the 5th May this year and attended a&e again with a heart rate of 150bpm, ecg shown the same. The doctor suggested it was anxiety not SVT and just gave me propranolol.

It is now the 27th May and I am starting to experience the same dropping sensation like I’m going to faint and I am afraid I’m going to have another episode of palpitations.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this or does anyone have any clue what I should do? I feel as though no one is taking me seriously due to my anxiety and I’m terrified, many thanks

Own Gp suggests anxiety

Other GP suggests SVT

Chest pain clinic suggests POTS

A&e suggested SVT

Other a&e doc suggests Anxiety

48 Replies
oldestnewest

Hello again Erin

Sorry you are having such a rough time. I think we are all rooting for you and taking you seriously.

I know very little about POTS but I think it may be worth getting a referral to investigate for this.

I know that CDreamer has posted extensively on this.

Hang in there, this will be sorted for you eventually 🙂

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to oyster

Hi oyster thank you for replying I really appreciate it, I just want to get to the bottom of things. I might go back to my gp and ask about a referral but I’m expecting to be told that it’s ‘just anxiety’ as usual :/. I will take a look at those posts thank you

oyster
oyster
in reply to erin_jonesx

Yes, seem to be lots of threads coming up if you put POTS in the search box top right. The first on the list features a detailed reply from CDreamer

healthunlocked.com/afassoci...

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to oyster

Thanks so much, I’ll do that

Find another GP. Sounds like you are being treated abominably.

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to etheral

I agree but I’m apprehensive on moving practice and it being worse

Hi erin_jonesx,

TBH, when I started my AF journey I had 2 and half years of palpitations prior to AF. Try as I may I could never get to my GP in time for an ECG so it all went undiagnosed. Then in early Jan 2010 Atrial flutter hit which ( while in A & E) converted to full blown atrial fibrillation. I received brilliant care from my Surrey GP in those far off days, so imagine my concern when I moved to Cornwall and found my quality of GP care dramatically deteriorate even to the point that as I am on Warfarin and self test my INR the first practice I went to wouldn't support self testing. It was only when I'd got a ill judged diagnosis from this practice that I complained to the local CCG, to no avail.

I then did a phone around to a number of GP practices in my area and found one who would support my self testing, I attended an interview and was accepted as a patient. Excellent GP care ever since.

The purpose of this rambling is to suggest to you that you consider changing your GP. Talk to people in your local area and ask for 'reviews' from them of different GP's practices and change. Seems to me that your GP wouldn't recognise full blown AF if he/she fell over it.

Depending on where you live I realise this may be impractical but I'd seriously give it consideration.

Another option is when you have another of these 'interludes' if you can, take yourself off to another A & E unit at another locality. You don't have to have a GP approval or referral to go to A & E !!

John

Hello thank you for replying, I’m sorry you experienced such a bad practice, I will ask around and look at some reviews. Last time I was in a&e for it they suggested if it happens again to go back so I guess I will

I changed my GP and this was a positive experience. I would suggest you ask for referral to EP for 2nd opinion and complain to anyone you can find if refused.

Maybe take someone with you to next appointment to argue your case.

Good luck 🍀

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to lallym

Thank you for replying I’m glad you change was a good one, I am going to ask but scared I’ll be told it’s just anxiety again. Thank you for the advise

Are you anxious? Obviously a high heart rate will make you anxious but do you suffer from anxiety in general? Dismissing heart symptoms as anxiety in women is common and worse when it comes from female GPs who should know better. Has she suggested any treatment for the supposed anxiety?You could try supplementing with magnesium to see if this improves the problem. You definitely need to get to the bottom of this as fainting is not on. Good luck in finding another GP.

I do have anxiety yes but recently it seems much better and under control yeah she has prescribed me sertraline I have been on it for a few months now. I will try the magnesium thank you and yeah I really want to get to the bottom of things

I have just put in a search for Sertraline and guess what pops up? Arrythmias, tachycardia, orthostatic hypotension. These are rare side effects but some people do get them . Has your problems got worse since starting the Sertraline ( which is actually an antidepressant) ? If so this could be a part of your problem .

I’m not too sure if it has been worse since starting it, but it may be part of the problem

If you read the posts on this site you will find it quite common place for such reactions from the medical professionals so don't be put off. Ask for a referral to an EP (you may have to go through a Cardiologist first). Finding out what is wrong (SVT for example has many types) and getting fixed will take some time, many months normally as the drugs can be a bit of trial and error. In the mean time try magnesium suppliments (not magnesium oxide), magnesium taurate or citrine may be a good start or a suppliment called "heart calm" which you have to buy direct from the manufacturer. First thing to do is have a hot epsoms salts bath, put the full packet in (about 4 large cups) and soak for 20 mins. Drink water first thing in the morning and have a banana a day to boost your potassium levels.

What your going through is very worrying and anxiety does make it worst, when you have an attack, lay down at an angle of 45degrees, breath in slowly for 8 seconds, hold for 4 seconds then breath out through a small opening (make it with your lips) for 7 seconds, repeate about 12 times and there's a good chance that you heart rate will return to normal. If it does not just lay for an hour and if it still a problem call 999. Now this 999 call is to get the paramedics to take an ecg, they will then take you to A&E where they will monitor you and get a cardiologist involved (you may not be aware they have done this). If you do this enough times you will get to see the specialist you need to treat your condition.

Hi thank you for replying, yeah I have seen many stories where people have been in the same situation it’s disheartening. I will ask for a referral but I’m afraid I will get the same response that it’s ‘just anxiety’. Thank you for the advice I will buy some magnesium and try the other things you have suggested. They did say if it happened again to ring 999 again so hopefully I do.

BobD
BobDVolunteer

I spent ten years wrongly diagnosed so know how frustrating it can be. That was twenty years ago mind and GPs should be more aware of AF and similar arrhythmias these days. Anxiety and AF are common bedfellows so often hard to separate. If you continue to be ignored then why not buy a kardia (look them up) and if you have an i phone or i pad you can do you own ECG to show when it is happening.

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to BobD

I’m sorry you experienced that for so long. I have bought a Kardia and took recordings whilst it was happening but they just shown sinus tachycardia. I shown them to my gp and she didn’t seem to be concerned

2 questions. When your heart speeds up to 150+ bpm, do you find the need to urinate every 15 minutes. Does the episode last for pretty much the same time each time and like a switch, goes back to normal from say 150 to 65 instantly?

I haven’t noticed the need to urinate and it went back to normal slowly reducing

Only speaking from experience but, that does not sound like SVT. I would go from 60 ish to 150bmp or more instantly and return to normal instantly, 2 hours later. Would need to urinate every 15 minutes during that period. I assume you are in NSR during the 150bpm. If you are able to count the beats, all be it fast, you are in NSR. If when you are counting there seems to be an echo and it is all over the place, then, it could be AF.

Does not sound like either to me. The frequency is going to make it difficult to catch on an ECG. It was 3 years before my PAF could be caught on an ECG. You need to try to get an ECG during the next episode by whatever method possible and the Ambulance service would probably be best, they will not mind since, it is a heart issue.

Thank you for replying, yeah it seems to be around once a month so it’s difficult to catch if it does happen again I will just ring an ambulance

I am so sorry you are having difficulty in getting you GP to listen to you. If you do decide to change doctors there is a site iwantgreatcare.org which reviews doctors, practices and consultants by your postcode. Failing that try google searching your area for GP practices and find reviews. Be prepared for the possibility that once 'anxiety' is on your medical record any GP who reads it may be led by this (I read my own records and I was classed as an 'anxious type' when I was undergoing investigations for an neuroendocrine tumour and I chased up my GP as they were taking a long time).

I totally agree with an earlier answer, take someone with you for moral support next time you have an appointment . Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

Thank you for replying and for linking me that site, I will look in to it. I always find that, regardless of who I see it’s like because anxiety is listed they assume it’s that straight away, it’s so frustrating

As if anybody would not be anxious undergoing an investigation for that! I often think that the criteria for choosing medical students should change as many doctors seem to be afflicted with lack of both imagination and compassion.

Exactly it’s so frustrating

It didn't help that the consultant I saw had an empathy bypass - coldly told me the percentage chance that it could be malignant. It was just before Christmas and I was absolutely distraught. Thankfully it turned out I didn't have a tumour at all but her attitude was that I had.

That's awful. Must have a stone in place of a heart. I think it is hard for a lot of doctors not to be overwhelmed by the suffering of their patients so they wall themselves off to protect themselves and then go too much the other way. I think it needs a very special temperament to get it right and get through the gruelling medical training and so far the selection of medical students has not addressed this fully. The most competent students academically might not in the end make the best doctors.

Insist on seeing a cardiologist and pay privately if you have too. This is madness and the NHS gone mad treating you like this. Honestly Erin if you don't push and push some more you will go on like this so please take someone with you to the GP for support and tell them you want a referral privately if needed. It would cost around two hundred pounds possibly more but oh so worth it. You shouldn't need to pay but if it's the only way To get some help then so be it, good luck. Don't be pushed around please, x

Thanks for replying, I have a routine doctors appointment in 3 weeks so I think I’ll see show I go till then and ask for a referral when I’m there. I do feel as though I am being pushed around x

Hoski
Hoski
in reply to erin_jonesx

Has anyone put an event( heart)monitor on you for a week or more? If not, I think it would be reasonable as occaisional ekgs may not catch what your heart is doing. If you wear a monitor for an extended time, it will catch arrhythmias, or better yet, catch no arrhythmias. Would b great to find out anxiety is the single culprit. Either way, a smart doc would do one just for your peace of mind. BTW, Zoloft(sertraline) really helped me calm my anxiety. I have a fib but anxiety is a bigger problem for me than the a fib.

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to Hoski

I had a 24 hour one which shown nothing but sinus tachycardia, after I went to a&e the doctor there suggested me to have a 7 day one but my gp said it wasn’t necessary

Hoski
Hoski
in reply to erin_jonesx

Any way around your gp? Can you change gp?

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to Hoski

I think I will ask again if it continues and if that’s still the answer I may change

Hoski
Hoski
in reply to erin_jonesx

I would, your peace of mind deserves an answer

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to Hoski

That’s very true

I had a 7 days monitor fitted. It picked up AF in the middle of the 4th night whilst I was asleep.

Glad it worked for you, hopefully I get one

I’m not a doctor, but your symptoms sound very similar to afib. I’m surprised that you haven’t been diagnosed accordingly.

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to Janith

I was thinking the same, thank you

Hi Erin, you must try and get referred to an ep. I had episodes of vt, ventricular tachycardia when I was out running. At first it happened infrequently, eventually it was happening more and more but luckily for me only happened when I was running. I think vt is very different from svt and af in that my episodes were extremely short, as far as I am aware, as at first I did not have a Garmin like I do now. My symptoms were a sudden onset of breathlessness, an uncomfortable feeling in my chest, a feeling of drawing down through my body, almost like a wave that you describe and a weakness in my arms and legs. It was like having a sudden shock or fright but if I slowed down I'd walked the symptoms would resolve on their own. When I first reported to the gp I could tell he thought I was just over anxious but he did refer me to a cardiologist in the first instance. The cardiologist was quite dismissive but my husband was with me and he agreed to put me on the treadmill for an exercise tolerance test. I was quite shocked as I went into vt at the end of the test but had no symptoms even though my hr was over 200. So. I think I may have been going I to that rthym more than I thought. I cardiologist who referred me was around and looked panicked as the assistant running the test also looked worried. I went to see an ep privately in Birmingham after that and paid privately but he was brilliant and I had my ablation on the NHS. I ended up having two ablations after first was unsuccessful. All is OK now touch wood. My second ablation was in August last year. I think, as women we get fobbed off by health professionals as over anxious or imagining it. Even the lady running the treadmill test said she got alot of women 'like me' where there was nothing wrong. She soon changed her tune when I went into vt. All I will say is that you know your own body so you must press for second opinion. Or do as I did, go for a private consultation. Good luck xx

Hopefully I do get a referral, I’m sorry you experienced that but I’m glad you eventually got it sorted. I was looking into private consultations but they’re quite expensive x

Can you afford a private referral to see a cardiologist/EP. Initial appointments are £160-£200 without tests. If they feel you need further investigations you can transfer straight back into the NHS, but at least you will be in the system.

Pat x

I was looking into it but I’m only 18 and quit my job because I was feeling ill so often so I don’t really have an income to afford it x

I am so sorry you are going through this at your age, I didn’t realise you are so young. Can your parents help? Can they come along to the doctor with you?

Thank you and they work till my gp is closed so they can’t make any appointments with me

Hi Erin, I had a left stent inserted a few months ago and as I suffer from anxiety for most of my life I developed a lot of ectopic beats along with SVTs picked up on the monitors in cardio rehab. I was prescribed Bisoprolol 2.5mg and was very reluctant to take it as my resting heart rate is quite low. However as the ectopics got so troublesome I gave them a go and on the 2nd day the ectopics stopped, no noticable side effects etc. They relieved the bouts of anxiety which I believe were the main culprits. If you are stressed and anxious i would suggest asking your GP for a script for these and see if they help.

erin_jonesx
erin_jonesx
in reply to shutz

thank you for replying I’m so glad they helped you out, I shall ask about them

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