New just diagnosed

Hi there. I've been reporting strange symptoms to my GPs for several years but was finally taken notice of 3 months after reporting palpitations. A new GP sent me for a 24 hour ECG, then I spent 2 weeks panicking until I saw yet another GP today. I suffer from anxiety and assumed that my palpitations were related (maybe are) but today I was told I had SVT and was prescribed bisoprolol, with a warning that it might lower my blood pressure and heart rate too much. I think initially this GP planned to give me propranolol but I had that 10 years ago after my husband died and it made me ill. Well, I've taken my 1st 2.5 mg tablet and my heart has slowed, I'm not getting palpitations anywhere near as much, but after a bad night last night I decided to have an hours nap early afternoon and I couldn't sleep because of episodes of my heart racing. Maybe that's just because I've only just started this drug, as it was only an hour or two after I'd taken the first dose. Now my heart rate has dropped to the low 60s, sometimes high 50s and I don't seem to have had any side-effects yet. I have to see a GP again in a month to see how I get on with this med and she said that if it didn't work I might need to see a cardiologist. I'm not planning to see the same GP though (never seen her before) and have no faith in her as she diagnosed my friend with COPD when he had heart failure and passed away a week ago. She doesn't have a very good reputation with people I know although she seemed pleasant enough and probably spent at least 10 minutes with me when a consultation here is supposed to take 5 minutes. How can anything but pill-pushing be done in 5 minutes?

11 Replies

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  • It sounds like you're on the right track, but may need to be patient, increase the dose or be referred

  • Thanks Goldfish_ I hope you're right. It's only the third day, yesterday I had bad side-effects, worse being a splitting headache that wire off in the evening. The same headache today but it didn't seem as intense so I hope that the sides wear off soon. The first day my resting heart rate dropped to under 60 but it seems to have settled at a rate that's more normal for me and I'm getting hardly any palpitations now, with the few I do get being mild and lasting a short time. I'd become very stressed and jumpy, only able to sleep for 4 hours at night, but I'm feeling calmer now. I don't know if that's because of the reduction in palpitations or the beta blocker but I don't want a permanent splitting headache.

    I'm trying to decide which GP to see next as the one who prescribed is a total stranger. She did say that after this month she'd decide whether or not I needed to see a specialist and of course I have no idea why I developed SVT in my 60s, understand from my reading that it usually affects younger women. The GP said it might be caused by anxiety or something else, something physical I got the impression she thought anxiety was the likely cause as most of her time was spent suggesting counselling at places I can't get to (need a car to get anywhere and where I live the car park is full most of the rime apart from mornings). So now it's a waiting game to see how the bisoprolol works. I'm hoping it does on the very low dose I'm taking now and the debilitating side-effects stop when my body is used to it.

  • Make sure you talk down rather than talk up your side effects and you'll feel better for it

  • I try to but it's not always easy.

  • Hi, I don't understand why you haven't already been referred to a cardiologist. I have found that the GP doesn't have all the answers. Are you in theUK? If you are, then once you are under a cardiologist, you will have ongoing care and continue to have check ups. Good luck!

  • I am in the UK and I don't understand why I was just given a beta blocker and told to see my GP again in a month. The one I saw was new to me but people I've spoken to don't think much of her. Maybe she wanted to consult with the senior GPs?

    She told me that at the next appointment she (or another GP if I saw one) would decide whether or not to send me to a cardiologist but gave the impression that she thought the most likely cause was anxiety. I've suffered that ever since my husband died 10 years ago, leaving me with no family or close friends.

    I'm hoping that I do get some answers and monitoring if I need it. I won't be seeing the GP who told me the diagnosis again if I can help it. My last close friend who died of heart failure recently was diagnosed by her as having COPD although he didn't smoke and symptoms appeared very quickly, so I have no faith in her..

  • I initially went to my doctor because of dizzy spells. I had an ECG which showed that I had an irregular heartbeat and was immediately referred to a cardiologist. Within a very short time i'd had, x-rays, 24 hour ECG, 7 day heart monitor, heart echo and MRI scan. I would go back to the GP and insist on a referral.

  • It sounds as though your doctor is much better than mine, although recently rationing of referrals in some CCGs have been reported so it could be the postcode lottery. My friend who died of heart failure had to wait months after an x ray for any other tests, had had an echo, seen a cardiologist and was waiting for an angioplasty he was due to have five days after he died. Those tests took months of waiting and he was getting worse all he time. So if it took that long for him I expect it would be even longer for me because I 'only have SVT' (plus being light-headed and getting short of breath running upstairs). We have a hospital that is excellent although the CCG uses a number of hospitals and clinics so one may have to travel 20 miles for an echo although the hospital two miles away do them.

    I've had an x-ray (normal), a resting ECG (normal) and a 24 hour ECG (which showed the SVT) and was probably lucky to get the 24 hour one. Most of the experienced doctors have retired and my surgery is staffed by newly-qualified GPs mainly.

    I am seeing the doctor who ordered the 24 hour ECG next time so I'll have a number of questions. The beta blockers have slowed my heart rate and I'm not getting a noticeable irregular beat often. When I do it is much less and doesn't last long.

  • Also, beta blockers slow down your heart rate and will help to stop the irregular beat

  • Hi. I haven't been officially diagnosed with PAF yet but expect to when I see the cardiologist again next week. I've been having symptoms for a couple of years but after 2 ECG in Dr surgery which were normal, I gave up trying to find an answer. Last October, I happened to be wearing a heart rate monitor in the gym when my HR suddenly went up to 170 and took 15 minutes to come down again. My GP wouldn't take me seriously so I went to see a private GP who referred me to a cardiologist. It was such a relief to be taken seriously, especially as I have the risk factors of high blood pressure and family history of AF. I had an echo cardiogram and a 7 day heart monitor and get the results next week. I'm feeling very nervous about the future. Does it always get worse without treatment?

  • Hu all. I have a little update.

    U saw the doctor who ordered the ECG that gave me an SVT diagnosis today, and learnt a couple if things that I wasn't told before. .I have, apparently, been referred to a cardiologist, but the last GP just said I might be in future. This time an echo was mentioned as a possibility.

    I was also told that the chest x-ray I had in November and reported back as normal showed some damage of the lungs, either from several years breathing tungsten carbide dust during work, smoking, or both. I've almost completely switched from smoking to vaping but stress and anxiety had got me back to smoking, although a lot yes than I used to.

    The low dose bisoprolol I'd been prescribed has got rid of most of my palpitations and slowed my heart so I don't think U get SVT now, but when I saw my GP today the dose was increased from 2.5 mg to 3.75 mg. I find it disconcerting that the use on the leaflet is for stable heart failure as I've not ben diagnosed with that but my greatest friend passed away a month ago from heart failure. The consultant said it was a shame he hadn't sought help earlier but he'd been having tests for at least 6 months and was fie an angioplasty 5 fats after he died.

    I suffer from anxiety that has got worse recently because I no longer have anyone, friend or relative. My husband died 10 years ago from a stroke caused by undiagnosed AF and I've suffered anxiety ever since.

    I've not felt completely well since I had a gum infection at Christmas 2017, which was treated with deep cleaning three times and an antibiotic I had a bad reaction to. I had the good tooth removed 2 months after that problem started but still have a small hard lump between my gum and inner mouth that is sore if I press on it, but I'm told I have no infection. Sometimes I wonder if that could be the culprit.

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