Extra heartbeats and panic

katarata

Learning
Hi dear forum!

Long time since I've been active here... but reading through some old things was actually helpful, feeling a bit less alone with everything.
I am wondering if anyone else here has problems with extra heartbeats/ extra systoles. It is really making me panic again right now. Have had many many many of them over the years, but it has been gone for some time as well. Now they're there non stop again since September. Especially during the evenings, it can be every 3-4 heartbeats. I have had a 24-hours ECG a couple of times (years ago) and they found up to 13.000 per day (out of 100.000 heartbeats), but apparently it's innocent? Just that I really feel so helpless in this, I have no idea why they are back now and feel so horrible sometimes (nauseous, ice cold, shaky, dizzy, feeling like I can't breath, etc probably all symptoms of panic?) that I can't eat or drink anymore and it messes up my whole system which I know just makes it worse. But it's there too when I'm not anxious so can it really be the stress? Certainly a lot is going on, started EMDR therapy about a year ago which is tough and at the moment I just feel stuck again.

Does anyone else experience these and can it really just be stress/anxiety?
 

gealach

MyPTSD Pro
Hi! I'm a heart nerd.

Everyone gets extra beats, and skipped beats, from time to time. So very generally speaking, it's normal, although it feels abnormal.

Stress and anxiety can cause/increase it too, because of the effect on endocrine and nervous systems. As can caffeine. Structural defects. Etc, etc. (Not gonna blah blah blah about all possible causes, way too many of them). At the beginning of my ptsd journey I would get runs of tachycardia (160+ bpm), just out of the blue and not with any other symptoms, and that was the first indication I had that something was wrong, although the problem wasn't my heart.

It is good that you've have 24 hour monitors done previously, and that it confirmed you were having extra beats. Although 13,000 of them sounds like quite a lot, even that number can be benign or need monitoring. Some questions to consider: do you know where the beats were coming from (some areas are more benign, others not so much)? Are they all from the same area (1 area is generally more benign than having multiple areas firing off)? Were they spread out or were they bunched together and causing runs of tachycardia? Were they followed by long pauses? And the big Q, other than the fact that you noticed the beats, were you otherwise symptomatic?

Do you have regular follow up since the 24 hour monitors? Either way, since you are potentially symptomic now, it may be worth a follow up to have another 24 or 48 hour monitor done (oh joy, I know), to see if anything has changed and if anything needs to be done for it.

Cheers!
 

katarata

Learning
Thank you Gealach for your reply! Nerds are the best :)
I have been looking all over the place for the papers I got from the heart doctor I went to a couple of times (he was great but unfortunately I moved to another country again 3 years ago... haven't had any follow ups since) but cannot find them anymore. If I recall correctly they were mainly VES and some AES. He told me back then that they were benign but I should be observant of runs/tachycardia (that happened a couple of times, but only for about half a minute I think, and stopped usually when I started coughing or something, crazy feeling!). He also wanted to monitor them once every 6 months and if the number would go above 25k he wanted to do some kind of procedure/ablation) I have a lot of other symptoms but I guess that is all just my hour long panic attacks... Never really know what's physical or not.
I'm thinking of just reaching out to my GP here, I know I have been anemic before and that also increased the extra heartbeats, so maybe I can just ask for a blood exam. Would really just like to know what's causing this!! Even though it's probably benign it just doesn't feel healthy... And I know I do have a lot of anxiety, but how come they were pretty much gone and so many again now.
 

gealach

MyPTSD Pro
If I recall correctly they were mainly VES and some AES. He told me back then that they were benign but I should be observant of runs/tachycardia

Yeah, the VES could be more concerning than the AES, because they don't follow the normal top down conduction pathway (they're backwards). If they're causing tachycardia or other symptoms (e.g. dizziness, fainting, etc) then like your doc said, something like ablation may be needed.
 

gealach

MyPTSD Pro
(Oops, hit post)

how come they were pretty much gone and so many again now.

That's frustrating, because there could be so many reasons, or it may be a combination of things that make it worse


Never really know what's physical or not

And that makes it even tougher, because with mental illness there's a risk of genuine physical symptoms being dismissed as an all in your head thing, e.g. tachycardia from VES runs being dismissed as a panic attack

I'm thinking of just reaching out to my GP here

That's probably a good idea. I hope you can get another 24 hour monitor, and find some answers
 

katarata

Learning
Thanks again gealach for your replies! Sorry I had missed the last one...
Have been in contact with my GP again, she still says they are "just" benign extra heartbeats. I did feel a bit better after that, trying to just accept it. But these past couple of days have been over the top again (right now every 2 to 4 heartbeats, its driving me insane!). I would still just really like to know what's causing this. Can it be a hormonal imbalance of some kind? Not sure how to find out. Or is it really just because of stress? (finding that really hard to believe since it doesn't follow my stress so to say).
I suppose I just need to accept it but having a hard time!
 
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