Heart Palpitations - Heart Murmur - S... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Heart Palpitations - Heart Murmur - Sinus tachycardia


Firstly - apologies - this is a long one.

Hi I wonder if anyone can offer any advice please? Im a 36 year old mum of a 4 year old and Ive been suffering from heart palpitations for about the last 14 or so years. Im a non smoker and don’t drink any alcohol due to the palpitations. I have had a few 24 hour ecg monitors in the past, were the results showed sinus tachycardia but recently had an echocardiogram back in April this year as my palpitations have really been preventing me from exercising properly. The results showed that I have a heart murmur with trivial-mild central AR and mild posteriority directed MR. I also had a blood test that showed I was low in Vitamin D and calcium. From the results, I tried a low dose of bisoprolol to try to reduce the palpitations which seemed to work reasonably well but I had to come off the bisoprolol due to wanting to try for another child.

So I finished the bisporol around mid June and all summer haven’t had any major issues with heart palpitations at all. However the last 2 weeks or so, I’ve noticed a increase in what I call bad palpitation episodes. To the point where they started last night, continued overnight and this morning where my heart would put in a strong beat and then seem to skip the next, every 2-4 beats or so. Other that feeling tired and struggling a little to catch my breath or take a deep breath, Ive never passed out or fainted from them. I’ve ended up missing work today and trying to see a doctor as Im so upset and worried. Of course, anxiety makes the palpitations worse, but I just feel so helpless. I haven’t had such a bad spate of palpitations for a while and just find them so debilitating. I also feel really stupid and embarrassed when I experience them and have to stop doing something because of them. They seem to last for hours/days/weeks in varying degrees and I have totally changed my behaviour because of them. I feel very restricted by what I feel I’m comfortably capable of and also terrified that I have an underlying condition that could be very serious.

I would just be so grateful to find someway of coping with them. I don’t really seem to have a true diagnosis as to the cause of them as the heart murmur, I have been advised is unrelated to the cause of the heart palpitations. Should I insist that I be referred to a heart specialist for more testing? Is there more I can be doing with my diet to help? I would love to start an exercise plan, but whilst my Fitbit tells me my steps per day are pretty good, I’ve stopped going to the gym because Im scared of pushing myself. Also, the Fitbit doesn’t pick up my heart rhythm when the palpitations start so I never really know whats happening or when its triggered. Also are there any other medications that I could be prescribed that won’t effect a possible future pregnancy?

I have friends whose parents died of heart attacks very young and although It doesn’t run in my family, I have had family members who have died from heart attacks in later life.

14 Replies

Hi Lozcdoz, I'm 35 and have superventricular tachycardia. I think this is different to your condition as my palpitations come on at rest rather than with exercise generally. What did your GP say? I would insist on being referred to a cardiologist if you haven't been already. I have found with other health problems that you really have to fight your own corner with the NHS unfortunately. I would also suggest that it count the beats per minute when you have an event and go to A & E if it is a prolonged episode...the BHF helpline will be able to give you the guidelines to follow for your condition. When I have events my heart rate reaches 190 beats per minute and was told by the A & E doctor to go to the hospital if it lasts more than 30 minutes.

Lozcdoz in reply to daisy2311

Thank you Daisy2311. My heart rate never seems to get really high, just generally when I start moving around and it reaches near 100 bpm, the palpitations start. However I can get them at rest too. I didn't get anywhere with my GP so I will call the BHF nurse for advice. Im thinking I need an exercise ECG to pick the palpitations up. Doctors said my sinus rhythm during the palpitations is level and normal so there is no need for referral :( Im sorry to hear that you have had to fight to get a diagnosis. I think I may be looking to do the same! Best of luck to you and I can't tell you how reassuring it is to chat to someone who is going through similar experiences and coming up against the same kind of issues, so thank you again for taking the time to reply.

Ashleigh_BHFBHF Nurse

Hi Lozcdoz

Sorry to hear you've had a bad run with palpitations. As it's a long post, you may be best to call our helpline and talk to a cardiac nurse, on 0300 330 3311. You are doing the right thing by going to your GP though, this sounds like it is having a huge impact on your life.

If you give us a call we will try our best to give you all the support and information we can.


Cut out bad fat and salt and exercise more and keep to not drinking.

Hi Lozcdoz it was during my pregnancy almost 11 years ago the palpitations started and my GP put them down to the feeling you first get when you spot your first love - saying nothing but after my daughter was born I used to get them accompanied with chest pains too. Went to see my GP but she failed to inform me I had a heart murmur it was only by chance I found out I had this. Told them I had chest pains and was told if I experienced tingling in my fingers to go to A & E even though at one point I felt my chest was being crushed. I underwent the stress test myself and also the holter tests one a few years back picked up nothing even though I had to wear it for 3 weeks. The second holter test did pick up ectopic heartbeats several times over the weekend I had to wear it and also traces of LBBB too. Also underwent 3 MRIs and after each one borderline cardiomyopathy. I also felt stupid as if I was wasting their time but keep on at them to refer you to a cardiologist. I think we know our own minds and bodies better than anyone else. At one point I was also borderline angina. In the end the consultant just said she thought I had a heart defect and they would review me in 1-2 years time. That was almost 3 years ago now. Keep on at them until you get peace of mind

Lozcdoz in reply to michdev

Thank you Michdev! Gosh what a saga you have been through. From Daisy2311's comment too, I really feel that I need to get see a cardiologist to finally get some kind of closure, or at least a point to move forward from. Having spoken today to a lady from Lets Talk, my general anxiety is actually quite low on the scale and she even said that she felt I needed the referral to be able to be sure in my mind that there isn't anything underlying before I can move forward. Even if there is actually nothing that can give me an answer for the palpitations. I hope the reviews of your heart issues help you to find some sort of ground to cope and live as full a life as possible. Peace of mind really is a precious thing! I'm currently doing my best to do plenty of exercise, reduce stress, and wellness etc as advised but cant help that niggle as soon as the palpitations start - every time. Best of luck and thank you so much!

Thank you for your reply. Yes it has been a saga but I still here to tell the tale lol. I try to do some walking myself but always find myself feeling breathless even sometimes climbing up stairs does the same. I always found my palpitations start when I am at rest never when I am rushing about and usually accompanied with some type of chest pain to add to everything else. Lozdoz keep on at them and you said yourself peace of mind is precious. Sometimes you feel you are being "fobbed" off but it is your body and you need answers. Good luck x

What do you typically eat and drink please?

Hi Concerned, typically 2 weetabix and almond milk for breakfast, apple for snack, tuna salad with crackers or soup and 1 slice of homemade bread for lunch, or poached eggs and spinach on a round of toast. homemade dinner of veggie sausage roast/ fish with roast med veg gnocchi and pesto,/ veggie spag bol, quiche and salad, weekend - pizza. I only drink decaf tea and water. No alcohol. My downfall is the 5pm snack attack which can be biscuits, or packet of crisps, fruit, nuts and dark chocolate. I admit my evening portion size could do with being more moderate. Im pescatarian so no red meet,chicken, pork or beef. Also lots of olive oil, varied veg, greens etc. Also takeaways are rare these days. Grateful of any advice/suggestions! TY

Concerned in reply to Lozcdoz

What seems immediately apparent is that you probably have latent high insulin levels insulinandmore.com/2018/01/... . There is a high correlation between the glycaemic load of a food and the amount of insulin it demands. 2 Weetabix for example has a glycaemic load the equivalent of about 7 teaspoons of sugar, and an average person only needs about the equivalent of 24 teaspoons per day. Remember, all carbohydrate is converted to sugar in the body; we're not just referring to added sugar here phcuk.org/sugar Yes, those evening snacks of biscuits or crisps add to the problem, but as you can see from the links, the cereals, pizza, bread, crackers, pasta and fruit all need to be kept in check.

Your intake of natural fat seems very sensible. The ICS-NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme asserts that we don't need to avoid natural saturated fat either, as it raises both HDL and LDL and so is at least neutral for heart health, and likely of benefit potentially improving the HDL to triglyceride ratio.

Good luck!

Lozcdoz in reply to Concerned

Hi Concerned, this is very interesting, thank you! Is there a link between insulin levels and heart issues? I have asked if diet plays a role with palpitations and I'm certain in does for me, or at least can make them worse. I have always been advised my blood test have shown no issues but i will definitely investigate this futher. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

Concerned in reply to Lozcdoz

Insulin resistance underlies not only type -2 diabetes but many other chronic health conditions youtube.com/watch?v=C8Xd9e4... . Treat yourself like you have diabetes, even though hopefully you never will have, and you will age healthily phcuk.org/wp-content/upload...


you should try and get to see a cardiologist consultant .

Lozcdoz in reply to Milomegan

Hi Milomegan,

Thank you for your message. I did go back to my GP and I have been refered so Im really pleased about that. Just waiting for the appointment to come through and its at least an 18 week wait. That reminds me, I should chase this appointment up. Thanks again!

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