Arrhythmia Alliance
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Should I be worried?

Should I be worried?

Some time ago I was sent to A&E with suspected pancreatitis (diagnosis was a prolonged (several weeks) period of indigestion). Whilst being observed, the nursing staff noted that my heart rate was low, especially concerning the stressful situation which I was in. I was plugged in to an ECG for further obs, but as there was no irregularity in my heart rate, I was discharged.

I wear an Apple Watch, which measures my heart rate. My pulse seems to vary wildly throughout the day, often for no discernible reason. The attached image shows my heart rate whilst sitting on a train (17:21-18:21), immediately on completion of a one-mile walk home 18:35, and whilst sitting on the sofa 18:36.

I'm 40, white British (with the obligatory smattering of Irish), 5'10" and c.17st. My fitness isn't great, as I'm recovering from a kayaking injury, but I've previously been in better shape. I don't drink and haven't smoked since February 2014 (although I do vape).

Should I be concerned by these irregular results?

Thanks for reading the ramblings of a concerned chap,


3 Replies

I don't know tbh.

I think I would take it up with your GP. The heart rate of 41 bpm is the only one of concern and it didn't last long did it ? Not sure how good these Apps are at detecting what is going on, but I'm no expert and you know your body best.

I do know that stress can cause your blood vessels to dilate, and this can lower your BP (as there is less pressure in blood flowing through widened blood vessels.) Stress can also affect your pulse - whether that would make it slower I'm not sure.

If the ECGs at the hospital were OK, and you have no symptoms I should try not to get concerned. You may be fixating on what they said. It's hard not to! However, if you have symptoms and your pulse feels erratic and as if you are missing beats it's worth reporting it to your doctor.

People with erratic heart beats and slow pulses can get palpitations, dizziness, thudding heart beats and fainting amongst other symptoms. Do you have anything like that?

You could keep a diary for a week and take your pulse at similar times of day e.g. when sat down watching tv, after eating a meal, after exercise etc and see what comes up. If you took those recording to your GP, it would give him/her something to consider sensibly. Record any symptoms you have too.

Hope you get it sorted.



I thought that stress puts BP and heart rate up.


You're probably right. My experiences with dilated blood vessels were during a period of autonomic dysfunction, so I've probably got it wrong.



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