Are you heart palpitations this severe? - Arrhythmia Alliance

Arrhythmia Alliance

5,442 members1,875 posts

Are you heart palpitations this severe?



I am a 38 yo female who has been experiencing heart palpitations my entire adult life.

I have had Holters, ECGs, and echos, and only PVCs and suspected inappropriate sinus tachycardia have been diagnosed. I have learned to live harmoniously with the occasional flip-flops and tachycardia.

However, I have had these episodes of severe heart palpitations that feel distinctly different from the usuals. Very occasionally, maybe once every 3-6 months, my heart will acutely speed up, then flip-flop like a fish out of the water. Not a small fish, a really large, angry fish. The sensation is very intense. These events also last longer than I would like - the usual PVCs are a quick one or two flippity flops, but these persist.

When these occur, I get dizzy and I start to see black and stars. I have never actually fainted. An event occurred today, and after realizing that my heart rhythm was not normalizing after about 5 seconds, I started to walk down a hallway to ask my receptionist to call an ambulance. I had to clutch the wall because I felt unsteady. I was certain I was going to die.

Then, as usual, the irregular rhythm stops and I feel a sudden rush of blood to the head and hear whooshing in my ears. My heart is usually quite tachycardic afterward, but it is hard to tell if that is part of the irregular rhythm or the panic that sets in when I believe I am dying.

These events occur when I am at rest, they have never occurred during physical activity. They almost always - maybe always - occur in the days leading up to my period.

Because these events are so infrequent, they have never been caught on a device. Doctors keep telling me my heart is structurally normal and they are probably PVCs. But they sure do not feel like PVCs.

I haven't touched caffeine in 15 years, I don't smoke, I drink a few beers once or less a week, and I exercise at least 5 days a week.

Can anyone relate? They are super scary, and have made me fearful of situations in which I may be trapped when I have an event occur - public speaking, driving, even just being alone.

9 Replies

Get a Kardia or Apple Watch so you can capture this type of rhythm when it happens.

gracietiger in reply to DrDave01

I didn’t know Apple Watch recorded heart rhythms. Thanks for the suggestion!

Ever had your thyroid levels checked?

gracietiger in reply to ling

I have- normal!

Very scary and unpleasant . But as the others have said the way forward is to get either a Kardia mobile or an Apple Watch so you can show the evidence to a cardiologist who can make a diagnosis

All this happens to me to a lesser degree. I have felt faint only a couple of times but this stopped when I moved my back. This is likely what happens to you. I can also speed the heart up when it beats in the high 20’s or when in the 30’s and 40’s. Kind of cool really. I am almost twice your age and have known about back influences for 7 years. I have tried various things to fix my back. In many ways it is better but still has not eliminated the irregular beats all the time. I have not found the right doctor yet. Many discount what I tell them. Because this is not studied, this may be why. The brain has only one way to communicate with the heart so you would think this nerve path should be checked. Nope!

Before you get on the drugs, pacemaker, and the ablation regimen, get your back checked. I know my spine is at least part of the problem but heart doctors never consider this. Being young, you may be able to rectify any back issues. Sitting working on devices ( computers, phones, tablets, etc) for long periods of time is very hard on your back. Some chiropractors can help. And some will think you are nuts. Most are not allowed to say that they can fix irregular heart beats. Yet studies prove that this is something they can cause so maybe they can prevent them. Good luck.

If you pay attention to what you have done before palpitations start, you may notice something that is repetitive. Sometimes it is as simple as sitting in one chair. Try to take more frequent posture breaks to see if this changes the frequency of occurrences. Moving your back and neck may change your heart’s behaviour. Feel your pulse in your wrist while you do this. If you are like me, you may detect the change.

I have exactly the same symptoms, exactly, not just similar. I had a catch up with my cardiologist this week. These have been going on for years and as with you i am scared to be away from home in case i have an event.

Consultants, well mine at least, and i am with one of the top ten rated cardiac consultants in the UK, seems most concerned whether or bot i actually black out/pass out completely. I dont, i experience what you do. They are terrifying events.

I havent been able to catch them on my kardia as when they happen its so spontaneous the chances of me being sat with my kardia to hand is zilch. So they are arranging yet another seven day monitor to try to catch them but again the way life goes i will have a time of respite from them, why does it always happen that way! If not they are considering putting a implantable loop recorder in my upper chest which can monitor and download results direct to my consultant ongoing. I am hoping they do so as these episodes are so concerning.

It is hard to live normally with such episodes. I hope you get some medical answers. Please push for relevant tests you need someone to get to the bottom of this for you,. Best wishes.

Hey, I love all the above suggestions. Just sharing a little of some things that happened to me that helped. Diagnosed a few years ago with IST and SVT and long qt but the last bit isn't relevant. Had a fab Electrocardiologist who was amazing with all this. By the way I am also 38. For me I was having the odd flip flop as you describe and then got sick with an infection which showed my IST true colours. It would just spontaneously creep up in a very quick but steady way. Heart rate up to 190bpm then 30mins later would walk itself down to normal etc. Anyway I was having some noughts of sudden impending doom a horse like feeling of being kicked in the back and my heart rate was racing and within a minute would be normal. Absolutely shattered afterwards. This was eventually captured whilst I was asleep in hospital as SVT and boy was that a relief diagnosis. Sorry lots of other bits and pieces but basically the week up until I start having my period I would get a flip flop of the heart or one of these two arrthmias would play up. Again no caffeine, alcohol etc. Electrocardiologist talked to me about the female sex hormone and the changes in my cycle was a known cause for people. Fast forward a few years later now, I am off meds and this is no longer an issue. Just maybe each month the odd flip for a second or two that is not a thing I notice. Same as you heart is structurally sound and just having that dr listen and put the jigsaw together helped. I always have a smart watch on as reassurance, but as I say this is not a thing for me at the moment. I have to say though when menopause comes I expect it all to be having a song and dance in my chest with those hormone changes. We may not have the same thing, but just reassuring don't dismiss yourself as anxious. Us women and the hormones give us an awful time. Best wishes

Longqt in reply to Longqt

Also I ended up needing an iron infusion six months after diagnosis and within two weeks felt so much better. I hope some of it helps.

You may also like...