Worried and awaiting diagnosis - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Worried and awaiting diagnosis


Hi all,

I'm new on here. My 20 year old daughter was fitted with a 24 hour ECG 2 days ago having been struggling for a while with palpitations, the shakes, dizziness and just generally feeling unwell. The results came back today, which was very quick considering we had been told two weeks.

The GP seemed to struggle with interpreting the information but stated that during the night her heart rate was dropping abnormally low and during the day, at times when she had logged symptoms on the diary they gave her, she was showing tachycardia.

The GP has made an urgent referral to a cardiologist and has advised no alcohol, exercise or caffeine and to go straight to the hospital if she has strong palpitations.

Obviously I am incredibly worried and was wondering if anyone else had experience of this type of thing or any advice as to what other steps I can take to keep her safe while we wait for an appointment, again been told up to two weeks.

10 Replies
skid112Heart Star

Hello worriedmummy, I can understand your fears here. No I don't have any first hand experience but the cardiologist she sees will be able to decipher the ECG results better than your GP.

Someone will be along shortly with a little more experience, or one of the BHF nurses will provide some help as well.

Hi I am 20.

Can not say I have experienced any tachycardia or symptoms. Although if it was pure sinus tachycardia this is rarely an issue. I had a 3year tape that showed at night lower heart rates including complete stopping of all electrical activity. These were never sustained/ long. I was told by the consultant adult congenital electrophysiologist (a cardiology sub specialty) this was a normal finding in young people provided the no electrical activity did not last more than 6 seconds (not quite sure how he came up with the number). This was 3/4 years ago and my recent 24hr showed the same. While I can not say this is relevant to you as I have congenital heart disease as well it was just my experience.

I would not read too much into the advice that the results of the ECG would take two weeks rather than 2 days. How long they take is the result of so many variables from when they download the data to when a technician is available to read the data (variable depending on booked tests and absence). Another strange one is how the hospital communicates with the GP- I have one hospital that does fax so results with GP instantly and one that uses post so it takes longer. The two weeks is a catch all time frame.

Good on your GP for taking results seriously and asking for a second opinion- the two weeks will soon be over.🙃 I hope it turns out to be nothing.

Thank you for your reply. It has helped to reassure me and I guess it's just a case of fingers crossed now.


Hello there - I'm really sorry to hear your daughter's been unwell, and of course it must be such a worrying time for you.

From what you've said it sounds like her heart is behaving quite erratically, and bouncing between very fast and very slow. We often call these sorts of conditions tachy-brady syndrome, though you'd obviously need to confirm this with her specialist.

Most commonly, we tend to treat the fast heart rhythm with medications like beta blockers, which help to slow the heart rate down: bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-ma...

We then have to consider that because her heart rate is already dropping quite low at times, the beta blockers (or similar) will only make this worse, so we'd usually implant a pacemaker to make sure the heart doesn't beat too slowly: bhf.org.uk/heart-health/tre...

The combination of these treatments ensures that the heart doesn't beat too quickly or too slowly, meaning symptoms like dizziness and palpitations are usually resolved.

This seems quite a likely scenario from what you've said, but obviously you'll need to talk things through with the cardiologist for confirmation and to see if any other tests are needed.

I hope this helps,


in reply to Hidden

That's very helpful, thank you. Do you have any idea what other tests they may do?

in reply to worriedmummy2

You're welcome. To be thorough they'll probably want to run some routine blood tests and book an echocardiogram: bhf.org.uk/heart-health/tes... to see what the structure of her heart and valves look like too

Has your daughter had blood tests to check if her thyroid is ok as that can cause shakes and palpatations and generally feeling unwell ...♥️

Yes. Her bloods all came back normal.


Hi, my family has a history of cardiac issues so when my 19 year old son started passing out, we established he had (and still has) similar symptoms to your daughter we were given the same advice.

The doctors focus on immediate relief as soon as you see them, they also dealt with our fears as parents and explained how we could support a positive approach.

Hi, I have just seen your post,

I know it’s a year ago now, but was wondering how your daughter is doing and has everything resolved for her? I hope all well for you. Fiona

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