How many people find caffeine trigger... - British Heart Fou...

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How many people find caffeine triggers their arrhythmia?


A bit of a random question, but since my diagnoses of an arrhythmia I have not consumed caffeine (Too Frightened). I am a coffee and cola lover and I absolutely love my americanos, cappuccinos and a good lattee :). I have since only drank decaffeinated ( One a day only!) and I cant say I mind much as it tastes decent.

I am off on a months trip to bali and I will ask for decaff but I am assuming there would be times where I will be served a normal caffeinated coffee due to language barriers or normal barista coffee shop mix ups.

I am just curios at how caffeine affects different people who have arrhythmias, Obviously I am going to consume a caffeinated coffee and see how I go beforehand and ask my cardiologist what he thinks. But I don't feel caffeine was ever a trigger for my arrhythmia.

How does coffee affect your arrhythmias, do you feel its a trigger?

34 Replies

Hi, I like my coffee but like you I’m s bit frightened to take too much . I have 1 skinny latte in the morning and then maybe one decaf

I also like a nice red wine but a bit paranoid about taking that as well

Hi Cazza,

Glad to hear I am not the only one who is a bit frightened!, Before my arrhythmia I was like the caffeine queen having two coffees, Pepsi, red bull and I felt fine. Now I am checking every drink label for caffeine, I am frightened off my beloved Cider which I used to love on a weekend!.

Guess the best way to test it is to see how your body tolerates it, My Partner also has an arrhythmia and he has about 6 cans of coke a day and he is fine ! lol

Caffeine doesn’t always trigger my arrhythmia, I actually find dark chocolate and some cough mixture to be worse, but it definitely doesn’t help at times - one cup of decent joe will bump my hr up by a good 20 bpm, sometimes more, and my SVT has been in part attributed to excessive caffeine consumption. I was drinking at least 2 litres of energy drink plus 4 or so instant coffees a day prior to my first episode in 2009 (aged 26). It’s 9 years on, and I’m still really, really careful about caffeine, and when I do very occasionally drink it, it’s a calculated risk and never amounts to more than half a teaspoon of coffee in with my normal decaf. I notice an increase in ectopic beats if my hr is elevated for any reason, and coffee is a sure fire way to do that without having to even get off the couch. When I’m out and about, if I can’t get decaf, then I simply pick something else: hot chocolate, fruit/herbal tea or a cold drink like sparkling water. Not great if it’s first thing, admittedly, but I’d rather that than risk needing adenosine or a shock. Particularly in a foreign country. Thinking about it, I’m not sure what the insurer’s take would be on it either if you tried to claim medical assistance when the advice is to avoid it? Just a thought.

Hi Charlie,

I have heard of pure dark chocolate being a trigger for some, I guess different things can set people off. Weirdly enough I now find I cant tolerate pizza hut pizza as the cheese just makes my heart jump. I agree with you and I am the same If I cant have a decaff coffee I will go for a hot chocolate. This post has helped me lots as I was weighing out the pros and cons of perhaps risking it for a cheeky Pepsi when I am abroad, however I don't think the risks are worth it now reading all the posts.

Glad the reply helped. I react to all the ‘traditional’ triggers associated with SVT (caffeine, ginger, dark chocolate, white chocolate,) but it’s variable: in reality, I probably could eat and drink these things on a regular basis without too frequent problems, but I’ve learnt that getting away with it 9 times out of 10 still isn’t worth it - the tenth time sees me feeling like utter crap with an hr of 160+ for hours if I’m lucky, and needing my heart stopping if I’m not. I’d rather just cut out the stuff that I know is an issue and not have to worry about it. Most of which I was told to absolutely avoid by the on call cardiologist after my first episode 🤷‍♂️ It’s not a guarantee I won’t have another one, but since getting really strict with myself in 2014 I’ve only had one major SVT, which was caused by lidocaine during dental treatment and means I now have the adrenaline free stuff, and maybe two decent bouts stuck at 150 or so - one from covonia cough syrup, but I still don’t know which ingredient set me off in that, and the other from a *really* rich chocolate dessert in a restaurant.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the trip!

Absolutely agree with what you have said, there is no point in risking it if the outcome is a really unpleasant experience. I remember when I had a cheesy pizza and I felt so terrible that night HR about 180 and I managed to get it down without hospital and that was with my beta blockers!. It made me avoid all cheese since. I read cough syrups and decongestants can trigger so I just stick to paracetamol only now.

I drink about 5 or 6 coffees a day but ALWAYS decaf. I was told before I left hospital with an ICD that 'if you must drink coffee then it has to be decaf', so a bit of a stark warning. As I live in Southern Spain we are now able to get a good machine decaf and indeed it is becoming more popular. However one waitress didn't give the right instructions and I am sure that I got normal as 20 mins after drinking it I was in a state and thought that I would have to get to the hospital, but I sat in the car for a while and then calmed. Now I always stress to the server that decaf is 'muy impotante'.

Hi Alan,

I have my handy little nespresso machine which makes me decaff, I often wont take the risk in a busy coffee shop as I know mistakes can be made when they are making loads of drinks. Glad to hear you managed to calm your episode down yourself.

Glad all is well! I've learned how to calm myself down using a heart mudra ( google it) it's yoga for the hands and learning how to rebalance my energies great book by Donna Eden it's my bible! I'm taking my power back for my wellbeing! So now not so frightened o r thinking what if. However I've chosen not to take caffeine in any form not even decaf . But that's my choice. Miss it sometimes sniff other coffees but no not for me! I'm learning how to listen to body needs rather than mind saying I want caffeine!!

Good for you

I have SVT and drink around 4 cups of tea or coffee everyday. I haven't changed my intake since being diagnosed. Unless you know it is a definite trigger, I don't think it is too much of a concern providing you are sensible with amounts and no espresso etc.

Hi Daisy,

Glad to know a SVT sufferer can enjoy a good coffee without having an episode, I feel like I must be one of those people being a coffee lover all my life, was drinking the stuff from 13 lol.

Hi Chev I tried cutting out all caffeine and other so called trigger made no difference to me apart from I got massive headaches I tried decafe also but found a good one only to be told there are certian chemicals in that that’s bad for the heart I cut out certian foods are organic are lots of fish nuts chicken no skin had blood tests was told my good cholestrol was to high my bad cholesterol wS very low overall cholestrol was 2.6 I eat at least 8 fruits and veg a day in the end had a heart monitor fitted showed I was getting over 2000 etopic heRt beats in a 20 hour period beta blocker never helped so now it’s stress and anxciety yet I suffer neither lol well a little I guess we all do but I was fetting just as many when I was asleep think mate we are all so different all my oroblensstarted last Feb when I had my gall bladder out so as I work for nhs I ask a few favours did some research there is. Big link with gallstones and I s that can effect the vagus nerve after having my gall bladder out Feb my palpitations got worse hence all the tests my dr last night started me on ibs treTment I promise u my belly is no longer a wR zone after eating I no yours is diff but just reLly in a long winded way saying eating drinking made no diff oh also put me on lansoprazol for acid u have to do ur own research sometimes hit and miss we shall see good luck hope u sort this


Headaches most likely as a withdrawel reaction and would go away, best off caffeine and alcohol.

Yes it was withdrawal from caffeine I don’t drink a hole st all never have done can’t see any point in it to be honest

Gosh sounds like you had a bit of a rough ride. I really hate it when doctors try to convince you that you're suffering from anxiety or stress, I mean cause we are stressed when we are having so many bloody palpitations. I have heard the negatives off decaff due to the process of decaffeinating it, I like to do a lot of research but there is so much different stuff on coffee I don't know where to look lol.

Stress is cumulative, and your taming of things that cause highs and lows

is admirable

I tried going without as noneffect. Just get on with it niw. Since having treatmentfir i b s there’s some improvement

Strangely I find cold water can trigger eratic heartbeat as well as chocolate.

in reply to bee2

How strange, I once remember a man opening an ice cold Pepsi in a café where I worked and literally downing the bottle, he then passed out cold ( I thought he had gone into cardiac arrest) and woke up and ordered an espresso double shot. Apparently he said the ice cold drink triggered him.

Hi I've not noticed any difference but mainly try and drink decaf tea and coffee. Also due to Kidney problems I try and avoid any of the freeze dried/granulated coffee and drink proper filter coffee.Y don't have arythmea though - just narrowed artery which occasionally causes tight feeling in chest. Not noticeably affected by caffeine.

I agree with you there I just stick to my decaff, I look at the bright side that I can have at least 5 cups of decaff and it does not even add up to the amount of Caffine MG in one normal coffee!

I too was told by a doctor the chemicals in decaffeinated drinks do far more harm to you than the caffeine. I use a cafetiere now and have filtered coffee rather than the instant coffee I used to drink. I find that the coffee helps me stay awake but does not raise my heart rate!

I heard that myself and it made me a little put off. strangely coffee sends me to sleep!

I would make a lifetime commitment to steer clear of caffeine and alcohol, you will feel loads better and it will certainly be good for your condition, its no big deal just decide and do. I had to stop over 2 1/2 yrs ago and I have noticed big positive changes, all the best.

I stay clear of alcohol, I don't think my body has ever coped well with the stuff. I am 27 now and had my first bit of alcohol at 23 and heart rate was just mad. Now I am on beta blockers its even worse so I don't touch it!. I have to say even if I didn't react to caffine I would never want to go back to drinking so may fizzy drinks like coke, The stuff is terrible for you.

Be good to no what changes u found

Yes think I am going to do the deed tomorrow, pepsi and a coffe. I havent had a nice pepsi in over a year. Think I am going to get the ice out and a straw for this one lol.

Was browsing through my old posts and just to update, I took the plunge and divulged in lots of caffeinated coffee and found it had no effect on my heart rate at all, had 5 cups in one day to push boundaries and have my own medical trial 😂 did start off in a Starbucks near my local hospital just in case lol . I to this day stick to decaf where possible though to be on the safe side lol.

Well like u I lije to do research and after months of doing so now discovers it’s been my Vegas nerve causing my trouble sheesh only taken 30 years of drs to say it’s anxeity when it’s been vagus nerve check it out

That is very interesting because my partner was diagnosed with a wandering atrial pacemaker arrhythmia many years back but every time he eats he burps and suffers acid reflux and his palpitations seem to be after he eats, I will tell him to do his research on that. Drs are always quick to diagnose anxiety all the time.

It’s heloed me good luck

i find caffeine in any form triggers my arrhythmai it also sends my blood prssure way up keep clear.

Oh that's no good! Thankfully my beta blockers keep my blood pressure way low in fact too low!

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