British Heart Foundation
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Myocarditis confusion

Hi sorry for the long post. I hope someone can shed some light here. I have had fatigue and palpitations for a few months. Had bloods done several times but apart from a marginally high kidney reading and possibly a drop in phosphate nothing else came up. I have an underactive thyroid but the levels are fine.

In Feb I had severe pain in my upper back radiating around the left ribs then felt nauseous, cold sweats and struggled to breathe. The pain eased slightly but I ended up in A&E. Due to back pain and previous kidney results they did a CT scan for kidney stones as there was blood in my urine but scan was clear other than they said my gallbladder looked slightly enlarged. The following 2 weeks I felt terrible with nausea, bloating, aches and continuing pain around my ribs, armpits etc.My doctor suspected inflammation of the heart. I then had a 7 day ECG which showed fast, slow and pauses in heart rate. However since I had some headaches and cognitive impairment I have now been referred for a CT scan of the head "to rule out any nasties" otherwise doctor thinking maybe ME triggered by a viral infection.

I am now totally confused. My HR is slightly less irregular but still bounces around high and low causing lightheadedness and balance issues. I am constantly fatigued and get tightness in my chest with an occasional cough. Having read more about heart attack symptoms in women I am concerned that my trip to A&E may have been cardiac related. I dont understabd why my doctor seems to have "parked" the cardiac problems while I await a brain scan. I am 46 and was previously fit and healthy. No BP problems, choesterol ok, exercised regularly reasonable diet etc

My questions are can myocarditis cause sudden severepain? Has anyone else had similar symptoms and can fast, slow and pauses in HR correct themselves after myocarditis is this likely to be permanent damage?

Thanks

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Hi

Sorry you are feeling so poorly.

Have they even done an ECG whilst you are in these strange rhythms - Sounds like my atrial fibrillation or other heart rhythm problem (mine used to go slow fast and with pauses - I haven’t had myocarditis) which could do with specific treatment by a specialist cardiologist. It might be best to present to A&E whilst in the bad heart rhythm to get a quick diagnosis (or rule it out). It can be set off by any number of things so the myocarditis could be the cause.

If you called an ambulance whilst getting these strange rates they would do an ECG and determine if a trip to A&E required.

Hope this helps.

Jo

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Thanks Jo. I had a 7 day ECG that picked up the irregular heart rhythms which is why I am confused that they havent done anything further. The doctor talked about a further cardiology reports but then decided to do a brain scan first. The referral for the brain scan (if they accept it) could take several weeks. In the meantime I have no explanation or diagnosis.

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Hi

Doctors should prioritise life threatening conditions and AF in itself is not. Though it is not a good idea to stay in high rates for long periods without some treatment or drugs. If you stay in a high rate and you are not on any drugs do present to A&E as they could administer something in the short term and get the cardiology ball rolling. As a patient it makes sense to have concurrent referrals on the go as waiting lists can be long - my experience is that this is expensive and GPs prefer not to...

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My problems seem to be with the HR flitting between high and low with presumably pauses somewhere in between. It is the sudden changes that cause my issues with lightheadedness, dizziness and balance issues. Even light exertion sends it more erratic. I am on no medication for it. I am working on the basis that if they are not that concerned then I shouldnt be either but it is hard not to be concerned after a near fainting episode when I was out with my children.

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Please do go back to your doctor and specially ask for cardiology referral and explain that you are having pre-syncope.

You can’t do this on your own sometimes you need to remind them that you are still suffering or they assume things have righted themselves. Only a cardiologist could properly review you and offer options - I know the pauses are concerning I have had them (I no longer have them) but a cardiologist needs to review your ECG see how long the pauses are and whether there is any heart block to know how concerning it is and the right thing for you - I only have my own experience and yours is diffferent and yours.

Take care and politely go back to your medics and get them to treat you seriously.

Ask questions - like is it not dangerous if I might pass out when with my children - they might be able to reassure you that you won’t or refer you.

Jo

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Thank you. I think another chat with the doctor is needed.

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I have gall stones and the pain from them are really bad and can sometimes mimic heart attack. I Am due to have heart surgery in May, and often wonder if the pain I had in the past [ several years ago ] which was thought to be my gall bladder was actually my heart, ? It wasn't until my GP tested my heart that he said he could hear a heart murmur, things moved on from there, and to cut a story I will be having a double coronary heart bypass and mitral valve repair, I also have minute blood traces in my urine, which is normal for some people. I suppose you could have an inflamed gall bladder? I have NO medical experience only relating to my own problem.

I hope you soon get sorted.

Regards Patricia

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Thanks Patricia. It is interesting what you say about the gallbladder. I will keep that in mind. Good luck with your surgery.

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