Silent Heart Attack?

Interesting scenario but wondered what the likliehood of this is. Ive come back from holiday after a long flight. The next day I couldnt breathe. I should have called an ambulance but I didnt. It wasnt a panic attack. Ive had those. I had a really strange sound coming from my chest that was like crackling.

So, I went to the doctors on an emergency appt, he couldnt tell what it was but said my chest sounded clear and strong. It happened again 4 days later so I went back yesterday. He has decided to take everything back to square 1. Extensive blood tests (which I cant get done at the surgery for a month), ecg (which I cant get done until next week and chest xray, He wants to exclude a silent heart attack eeeek.

Im now extremely worried. He doesnt know I take T3 and Im worried about taking it again until I have the results. I feel very well, I didnt feel ill while I had the breathlessness, I dont want to go back on T4 because that did make me feel very ill.

Has anybody had breathing/chest problems while being underactive? As I said, Ive had panic attacks before but this was entirely different and I literally couldnt breath for about 10 minutes ie gasping for breath etc.

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36 Replies

  • Sounds more like an asthma type thing. My colleague had a heart attack and in the days leading up to it he was ok sitting but as soon as he tried walking he was breathless and had chest pain. Was your problem triggered by activity? A crackling sound from your chest sounds like mucus in the lungs. Was the holiday to anywhere dodgy where you might have picked up a virus of some kind? Hope it gets sorted soon. You will probably have to come clean about the T3. You could say that you take 'thyroid meds' (in a non specific way) and see whether they seem interested in the details. Your GP might be upset but if you tell the hospital they will assume the GP prescribed them for you. So long as the medics don't try to link the problem to your meds there might not be an issue.

  • Its all being done buy my GP rather than through the hospital. GP hasnt even referred to my thyroid issue. I became breathless out of the blue. I wasnt doing anything. The GP thinks the crackling might be from a build up of mucus in the upper chest area but my chest sounded clear and my heart sounded strong. He said it definitely isnt asthma. I had no chest pain but I was a bit breathless a couple of times last week. I was only in the US so not dodgy. I have had a virus which involved sinus and ear infection for the last 3 weeks or so hence the antibiotics. I also had a bird that had entered my house while I was away and created a huge mess. Im beginning to wonder if its an allergy so have started taking an anti histamine which the doctor has approved.

  • Sounds exactly like me. Chest infection wheezing like never before. Steroids and antibiotics helped as did the asthma spray they gave me as was off to China for 4 weeks. Have any of your relatives had anyform of heart decease? Mine was not a lifestyle issue, never smoked, healthy diet, lots of walking and exercise. Surgeon said not to blame myself for anything it was wear and tare or herditary

  • No heart disease in my family, only auto immune diseases. My daughter has the worst type -T1 diabetes. Me thyroid, my aunt coeliac and thyroid. I am the same in that we lead a very healthy and active lifestyle. everything is low fat, low sugar, low salt particularly because of my daughters diabetes. I seem to be getting worst as days going buy, not so much acute breahtlessness but allergy type wheezy breathless, eyes streaming, nose and sinuses. Maybe I need an asthma spray just to check out if that helps.

  • Same as me last February. Was convinced 1) virus 2) thyroid Dr suspected Asthma but at 64 had lungs of a 57 year old. result new aortic valve

  • The recycled air on planes contains a smorgasbord of bugs which can cause quite severe respiratory problems.

    'fessing up to generic thyroid meds seems like a good place to start.

    Above all - do not worry. This doesn't sound one bit like a silent heart attack. You've seen that video? For my money (I gave up on it half way through) it's the usual American 'let's make a drama out of a crisis' tosh.

    Good luck

  • I havent seen "that video". What one is it?

  • I can't remember (honestly) and you don't want to know! I don't know why anyone would want to scare the sh*t out of people like that. I guess there was an expensive magic bullet at the end of it, but I didn't get that far.

  • Gosh, that's worrying for you. If your gp thinks you may have had a heart attack shouldn't this all be happening now - like at a&e - rather than over a period of weeks/over a month?

    Are you male or female? Often heart attack symptoms are unexpected - ie not chest pain - like nausea, pain in jaw/back/shoulder/stomach, sweating and fatigue, esp in women.

    Has gp excluded asthma as a possibility?

  • The GP is excluding things and doesnt necessarily think its a silent heart attack but wants to exclude it. Yes, very worrying. I had no pain, only breathlessness and strange crackling sound from my chest. He said its definitely not asthma.

  • I have read this through and can say I too have a crackly chest at times and I think it is because of the hypo and things not clearing as well as they might. Also, I do get breathy at times so try not to get too anxious because when I do, it gets worse. It really makes me so bl...dy cross that we are having to sneak around trying to get our own medical problems sorted out. The NHS and the doctors within, act like some sort of super controller. I/we wouldn't mind, but they have nothing to offer any of us except that bl...dy T4 and that stupid TSH test, Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Hope you feel better soon. Try some breathing focused exercises, they really do help. x

  • Could it be down to the fact that Levothyroxine has Acacia in it, and if it was picked in the height of the pollen season then it is passed on in the medication, just a thought

  • I found I was gasping for air every so often, even when lying flat. I have no problem breathing - I have a woodwind diploma. After 2 months of B group supplemements and Nutri-Thryoid from Dr Chapman I put myself on half a grain of Naturethyroid a day, and the problem seems to have vanished.

  • If you feel you may have had a heart attack you should have gone to A & E. A simple test would tell them!

    My husband had his 2nd heart attack last year and wanted to ignore it. He had jaw pain and wrist pain, and was sweating. It lasted 2 hours. It was a relief to get him wired up at hospital and they gave him drugs and watched him carefully.

    Life is too short and valuable. They can tell you and would check for any blockages.

    Sadly, however good a GP is, they know a little, about a lot! Xx

  • My first thoughts are an allergy to something - perhaps mould or other organism from the plane's air conditioning system? Or an organism left by the bird that got into your house?

  • I agree with Stormyone. If it happens again just go straight to A&E. I called nhs24 six months ago when I had started a new drug and had chest problems of the type you describe. They sent an ambulance straight away and I ended up staying in hospital overnight wired up to a heart monitor. All was fine with my heart - not so the rest of me but that's another story. Now I've just started a new vasodilator drug for secondary Raynauds and last night had palpitations and couldn't sleep. I was able to reassure myself that its unlikely to be heart related after the previous experience 6 months ago. But I have quite a complex pattern of autoimmune connective tissue stuff going on so I decided that im just very anxious and the heart palpitations are probably stress related. I will see my GP first thing tomorrow though and will mention it.

    Both my parents died unexpectedly young of heart failure and my dad had a huge silent heart attack when he was in his 50s (he had undiagnosed diabetes, high BP, gout and arythmia) and it showed itself by terrible nausea and the trots and he went all sleepy and unfocused. Even the GP didn't recognise it until it was almost too late but my mum felt sure it was heart related.

    I don't think it was breathlessness or crackly sounds that alerted her.

    But then she had undiagnosed angina which killed her a few years later so always better to be safe and go to A&E if in any doubt - (says she?!)


  • I m having something similar. Chest pain, tightness in my chest,feeling as if I had elephant sitting on my chest when lying down, getting out of breath, for limited physical activity. In fact before that, with lots of commitment I was going regularly to the gym, however now it is like going backward....

    The GP sent me for to ECG and the result, I also did the test on the treadmill, was inconclusive. The next set on tests are in July.

    I am still the same, somedays better like less pain, but still out of breath.

    I am also awaiting for blood tests results. I m on 150 thyroxine, I tried the T3, and at the beginning was helping me a little but not significantly. The last three months the brand of thyroxine has changed to Actavis.

    In october I started medication for minor Asthma triggered by dust and cleaning products. I had a chest x ray done recently that shows bronchitis.

    Pain, tiredness, short breath are still there.

  • Poor you. I only had the breathlessness. I sat there thinking "Im having a heart attack but I have no symptoms", it was that non eventful. Obviously Im worried. On my way for a chest xray this afternoon. Cant get the ecg until next week (not sure I should wait that long). Im thinking more along the lines of allergy so lets hope. I hope you get yours sorted.

  • Hi love,

    I've never had those exact problems while I'm under active, (hypo) except for the crackling sound in my chest & I get that any time while either hypo or hyper. I have had palpitations & racing heart with pain while I'm over active (hyper).(with Hasimotis, which I have, those issues are typical as it's really an autoimmune disease & not all about having an under active thyroid, I'm not sure if you have an autoimmune disease ie; Hashi's or Graves etc?). That being said, I've never had the symptoms that you are describing but it sure sounds scary & serious!! Why can't the ECG be done straight away? To either rule out a heart problem or not?? I would think a full & complete check up should be in order especially after telling you about silent heart attacks!??! Way to make you feel at ease!? NOT! OMG! You should tell a Doctor in the A & E about your symptoms & concerns, as they would surely order the tests mentioned... but that's only my opinion. It certainly sounds frightening for you if you are gasping for breath! I can only imagine!! :-( I really hope you get good news & you are ok, please let us know how you get on as I am genuinely concerned (even though I don't know you, lol, it's in my nature) & I'm a worry wart.. Please take care & perhaps you get yourself to a hospital ASAP, hey, if you feel unwell or the symptoms recur!! All the best from an Aussie, country gal.. Sincerely :-)

  • Thank you! I would be up that hospital in a flash, believe me, but something was stopping me do it because I could feel myself getting better. Also, the doctor only wants to rule out a silent heart attack but he doesnt believe it is that either. He doesnt know what it is. My feeling is that I am scared until I find out and I am trying to pursue an earlier ecg. However I also think that it has something to do with the starling that was trapped in my house while away and depositing lots of bird poo and feathers....Im beginning to think I have an allergy to it. Who knows. Thank you for your concern. I will let everyone know. I believe I am getting a full check up by way of chest xray, ecg and copious fasting blood tests. They are all being done by my gp surgery rather than in hospital. I must admit to feeling a bit like a ticking time bomb though.

    Interesting re the crackling. I was only getting it during the breathlessness when I exhaled and it sounded really weird. To my daughters it sounded like a cat purring apparently. Im on anti biotics just in case and an anti histamine.

  • The trouble with an ECG is, it doesn't rule out heart /artery problems. The heart usually has to be put under stress, eg treadmill, before things show up. My brother had chest pain for 20 years, from his 20s to his 40s, backwards and forwards to his GP he went. The doc poo-pooed him because he was so young, said it was a pulled muscle from squash or something. Brother finally got referred to hospital for a treadmill appointment and that revealed 2 blocked arteries. His ECG prior to the treadmill was normal.

    He had a double by-pass shortly afterwards.

  • Just to add, my friend, healthy & sporty, no sign of health problems in her 50s, was walking to town one day when she felt she couldn't breathe. Doc couldn't find anything wrong. It happened a couple more times until she ended up in A&E where she was finally diagnosed with asthma.

  • Hi,

    Whenever I go hypothyroid I get severe chest pains and difficulty breathing, every time I get it I know my Levo dose needs increasing. All ECG s and chest x- rays have been normal, the chest pain is central and incredibly painful, I always liken it to what John Hurt must have felt when the alien was bursting out of his chest as it feels as if your chest is literally about to explode and you can't get a decent breath, you are gasping to try and get air into your lungs---is this the sort of thing you are experiencing? If so, then I don't think it will have been a heart attack, the first time it happened I ended up in A&E for 24 hours and was thoroughly tested and reassured that it wasn't a heart attack. Recently had the same symptoms and a further ECG showed heart okay. Good luck with your tests and hope you feel better soon.

  • I had no pain. Just breathlessness and crackling. I hadnt taken my correct dose of T3 the day before and had been not taking as much for a few days before. I was on holiday and distracted. I must admit the day before the 2nd attack, I didnt take it either. I certainly hope that is all it was.

  • Have they looked at dvt? Considering you just got off a long flight...

    (Sorry about unfortunate website address. The link is for blood clot, not cancer.) x

  • I raised DVT from the beginning. He has told me he is absolutely sure its isnt that and Im not to worry about it.

  • No flies on you. :-)

    And you're happy that he knows it isn't dvt? (I'm not saying you shouldn't be, I just can't tell how you feel about it.) Has he done a d-dimer test?

  • Im not sure what Im happy with. He listened to my chest and heart and did an oxygen level test which I believe would show if there was a dvt problem.

  • Hi. You could have aortic stenosis which is what happened to me a year ago. I was convinced it was my underactive thyroid and kept going back to the GP. It took from March to October for them to resolve my breathlessness. They thought I was asthmatic. After lung function tests it was decided to send me for a heart 'echogram' and ECG. It was on,ly the discoverd my faulty valve. My GP was very concerned that she and the others in the practice had not heard the heart murmer.

    Your bloods should be able to be taken at the local hospital if you have the appropriate 'bags' for each of the tests. Your receptionist should be able to supply these for you

    Where is the ECG to be taken? GP or hospital?

    Push for the 'echogram' I am 63 and the GP kept saying could not understand why a healthy woman was so breathless. I was diagnosed on 9th October had the replacement valve 13th December. The British Heart Foundation are very good at giving information and they say that GPs miss heart decease in women because we are healthy! I had none of the other 'signs' swollen ankles, not had scarlet feaver, not diabetic, lips not blue. Keep pushing before you get worse!

  • I am not breathless between these two attacks. Therefore Ive not been thinking its any other problem. thats why I thought Asthma might have been the issue or allergy. I feel perfectly well between the two attacks.

  • This is a link and read the first answer. As you are already taking T3 maybe you need more.

  • Hi Numberone, I have many chemical allergies, Dr Lam states this can be related to adrenal issues, which as we know can be linked to the thyroid. Certainly stress aggravates these links and as much as we might enjoy a holiday, there are stresses that go with it, especially as somebody has pointed out the air pollution in flying. You may well be correct in suspecting the starling invasion also exacerbated your breathlessness, so many possibilities but they all add up.

    A Doctor proclaimed in the Mail this week that he no longer wears after shave as many of his patients complained. I go to a chat group once a week and have had to leave on occasions due to many elder people smothering themselves in perfumes, I also find this a problem when travelling on a bus. Apparently chemical allergies are on the increase due to the amount of perfume in so many products these days plus the affordable availability, in fact some Companies in the USA have banned people wearing it in the workplace. I have made my difficulties known at my chat group and most complied but I could detect quite a lot of hostility underneath this compliance adding yet another difficulty in the life of a thyroidie. I too can hear my chest making strange crackly noises when I exhale especially at night in bed when it is very quiet. Sorry I do not have the answers but wanted you to know some of us have had these symptoms for a long time but am still here to tell the tale. Avoidance is the best policy and wear a mask when confronted with birds or any other triggers indoors.

    Best wishes


  • Ive been brave and had my chest xray done today. ECG next. I am a hospitalphobe so this was exceptional for me.

  • Well done. I did not use to b e ahospitalphobe but I am now

  • Anything like this after a long flight should be checked out thoroughly as an emergency. Your doctor should know this, we are not talking heart attacks here but clots, possibly in the lungs. You should not be having to wait for xrays or anything else. If you went to A&E and told them about the long flight they would check you out immediately. Saying that, by now, its probably not anything but never leave it if such a thing should happen again. if you still have symptoms don't wait for your GP to do something, go to A&E.

  • A clot was my main worry but the doctor was happy it wasnt that due to oxygen levels, heart and lung sounds. I am taking an asprin anyway. Chest xray was today. ECG Monday, blood tests in the morning. Thank you for your advice but I think he has tried to cover everything with antibiotics and anti histamine. I actually think now that I am allergic to something here either in the house or in the surroundings. Today I was very chesty and wheezy and its is meant to be because of the rapeseed growing in the field next door. Maybe it was that after all but sudden intense breathlessness wasnt good and yes, I should have called an ambulance at the time.

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