Is new symptom something to be concerned about?

I started out having chest pressure and pain with exertion while walking. Primary doctor ordered echo treadmill. Appointment with cardiologist the next morning, and was told there was an "abnormality" in the EKG, and when I reached target heart rate and held that for 7 minutes, the left ventricle pulled back and fluttered, rather than pumped. Angiogram ordered for the following morning, due to family history, and diabetes. Before the procedure, I was told they didn't think they would find a blockage because my cholesterol was 164. They were correct...no blockage. At the follow up appointment, the cardiologist said, "Well, no problem, you don't have a blockage.". I explained that I was still having the same symptoms when I go walking. When I asked about the abnormality and left ventricle problem, he said, "Well, that just happens sometimes!". He told me to take Mylanta, and if that doesn't help, take the channel blocker he prescribed. I stopped taking that when I started having more pain with the medication.

Primary doctor wasn't happy with that answer and is referring me to a female cardiologist. Unfortunately, it's taking much longer to get an appointment than it should, so I'm patiently waiting.

In the meantime, I have started getting strange feelings in my chest. I had one occurring the last time I was in my primary doctor's office. She grabbed her stethoscope and listened, and said, "You have an irregular heartbeat.". No one ever told me that before. On my file, she wrote that I have "sinoatrial node dysfunction".

Yesterday, I was calmly standing in Petsmart, looking at a chew toy for a new puppy, and I suddenly started having a very strong strange feeling in the center of my chest. I became very light headed and woozy, and thought I was going to pass out. I grabbed part of a display to maintain my balance, and even though it only lasted a few seconds, it was very scary. It cleared up, and I had a much slighter feeling in my chest when I got to my car, and during the evening, had some minor, but sharp little pains throughout my chest, mainly on the left side. When I feel this in my chest, it's not a pain, but more like a bird flapping and ends as though there is a subtle bubble riding throughout my chest. This is a totally different feeling than the pain and pressure I originally had.

I'm not sure if what I experienced was an irregular heartbeat, a flutter, or what it was. I've been extremely tired recently, and just resting as much as possible until I can get in with the new cardiologist. Two doctor's offices were supposed to fax all of my records 3 weeks ago, and I just found out the ball was dropped, so hopefully the new doctor will look at my records and schedule an appointment soon.

Should I push the appointment if possible, and let them know what happened yesterday? Or was that just a normal flutter or a fib?

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I dont think flutter or fib is normal, some people do have atrial flutter or a-fib but it is not normal. Many people have a irregular heartbeat and it is benign but it can also be very dangerous, it depends what kind of irregular beat, the rate either too fast or too slow.The only way to find out is with a holter monitor that can be a 24 hr moniter or a 1-2 month "event " moniter. You should ask the dr about it especially since you have other symptoms, like the nearly passing out, with the your discomfort. Just because you have no "blockages" doesn't mean its not your heart. Please call your dr and talk about this new development asap. Good luck keep us posted.

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I don't know what kind of Doctor you see but.....heart fibrillation has nothing to do with arterial blockages. It is a problem with the heart's electrical system, not the plumbing. Ventricular fib is dangerous. You should get a cardiology appt. now and have a Holter monitor and an echocardiogram. If you pass out completely have someone call 911immediately. I can't imagine a doctor fluffing off this symptom, at least as you have described it.

My complete heart block started with my feeling very tired (when that wasn't normal for me), Then I started getting dizzy; then I went completely down one day while walking. Finally, after many dr. appts (before they got me a HOlter monitor), I woke in the middle of the night with no discernible pulse. Thank goodness I lived 1/2 block from an ER, or I wouldn't be writing to you today. Please see a GOOD cardiologist tomorrow! Hugs, laurali

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Thank you both for your responses.

I wore a holster minister about 8 years ago, after having chest pain, and nothing significant showed up. I have assumed this new cardiologist will have me wear an monitor also, if I ever get an appointment.

About the other cardiologist.....I was shocked that he just new it off. He truly acted like, if you don't have a blockage, you don't have a problem! I'm smart enough to know that's not right. When I questioned him, he just said "That happens sometimes.".....like he was totally clueless. I have had that same thing happen so many times with doctors in the past, so there are very few in the medical field that I trust.

This forum has given me more information than I would ever get from a doctor!

I'm not sure what a "heart block" is, Laurali.....this is all so new to me.

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Hi SR. I can relate to your distress. In May, 2011, I awoke with a very fast and erratic heartbeat. Of course, I was alone as my husband was on a business trip. No pain, just that strange very fast and crazy heart rate. I called 911 and was taken to the ER. It took them 8 hours to get me back into sinus rhythm and I was kept overnight and released. This happened after two years of being dismissed by a cardiologist because my tests showed a normal heart. He even ordered a heart catheterization due to an abnormal stress test, but this too showed no problems with my heart. Then he had the "stress" conversation and told me to just "live my life and ignore my symptoms".

I now have developed the exact same fluttering you feel, sometimes it makes me dizzy for a few moments and often I am tired and short of breath. I was prescribed a beta blocker, Metoprolol 50 mg, and that seems to have kept the afib under contorl. I have had a 24 monitor and a 30 day monitor, but they didn't pick up anything significant, and I now see an electrophysiologist who is vague also. No one seems to be able to come up with any type of diagnosis. I have found more support and information on this site and through a blog written by an electro/cardiologist by the name of Dr. John M. http://www.drjohnm.org/, and if you find you are diagnosed with an electrical issue with your heart, you will find his information invaluable.

I wish you success in your search for answers to your heart issues. You will find the most common advice given here on this site is not to allow anyone to dismiss your symptoms.

Karen

As you will see from the many posts here, many of us are ignored and dismissed, often written off as "stressed".

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Hi! "complete heart block" is also known as 'third degree heart block". You can find lots of info re this on the Mayo Clinic site or just google the term. Basically it means that "the signals aren't hitting the dish!" The heart needs nerve impulses in order to beat properly. I tell people it's like a water pump -- if you don't have electricity to run the motor, the water is not going to flow through pipes to your house.

Before my "event" I had never heard of this. I thought all heart problems were due to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, not exercising, and obesity. I had NONE of those. I described my initial symptoms to the doctor as feeling dizzy and like a "surge" had gone through my body. All I got were blank looks from the doc. I kept hearing must be stress. (I know what stress is like and wasn't in that mode at that time!). After my midnight ride to ER, the next morning I awoke and all the doctor could say was, "You were very lucky -- you did good!!" (because I woke my husband and told him to call 911). I came as close as you can to Cardiac Arrest and lived to tell the tale! Good luck! Hugs, laurali

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Thank all of you for this wonderful information! It's helping me so much. I'm totally clueless, and it's all new to me, even though I've had chest pain off and on for years, they could never find a problem.

I had to go to my doctor's office this morning for fasting blood work, and I was going to see if I could leave a message with the nurse practitioner about the incident I had Sunday evening, when I felt like I was going to pass out. However, on the way, I received a call from the new cardiologist's office....they want to see me in the morning! I was told last week that as soon as the doctor gets my records, she will determine how quickly she needs to see me. I guess I rated an appointment right away.

I've had some different symptoms today. I've had more strange feelings in my chest, with a shakey and weak feeling, with heartburn and some nausea. I also feel as though I have anxiety, but I'm not anxious or stressed.

Thank you Mrrk, for the Dr. John M link!
Thank you Laurali, for explaining the heart block. Looks like I'm going to be reading a lot this evening.

I'll let you know what the cardiologist says tomorrow....

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If the electrical problem is in the left ventricle it may be V-Tach or ventricular tachycardia. Nothing to mess with and so glad you have an early appointment. If the frequency, nausea etc. continue, you may need to go to the ER. I posted Women's Heart Attack Symptoms and you may want to check those. Let me know if you do not see the discussion. My husband had this and suddenly would feel like he was passing out. It became so frequent that he now has an ICD-pacemaket/defibrillator. Use your judgment and do get the help you need when you think you need it.

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Thank you Pavater. I just thought it was insane that the first cardiologist acted like it was no big deal. I'll look at the symptoms you posted. I just don't feel right today, so I'm glad I will be seeing the new cardiologist in the morning. I just read some of my posts above....I wrote from my tablet, and auto-correct changed some of the words....lol.....Monitor became "minister"....

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I met with the new cardiologist today, who specializes in electrical problems with the heart. She gave me some good news after viewing my records, that I wish the other cardiologist had shared with me, rather than acting like he was in charge and I didn't need to know anything. She told me my angiogram was completely clear, which I already knew....but she also told me that my heart was very strong! I can't remember the name of the "signal" and what it's called that determines the strength of the heart, but I've seen many posts on here about it....(forgive me, but I'm new to this). She told me I was in the 50 to 60 range, and said that's very good. I thought it only went to 50 for a normal range, but I don't have any idea what I'm talking about, so it doesn't matter. I was so glad to know that the heart is strong. She said blockage and weak heart is the worst part of heart issues, and said the other stuff, such as electrical, can be treated, so that was good news.

Ok....so now....I'm wearing a 48 hour Holter monitor, so we'll see if it shows anything. She wants to see if my problems could be esophageal spasms or microvascular disease. She prescribed Imdur 30 mg, and said it's a long lasting nitroglycerin. Also a 15 mg. Prevacid 24 hour. I'm not going to take either one, until the 48 hours are up on the monitor. The typed notes she gave me said the symptoms are suspicious for PACs/PVCs which typically are benign in a structurally normal heart......I have no idea what that is....I'm such a rookie in this area!

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Ejection Fraction!....That's what I was trying to think of when I wrote about "signal" in my last post. I'm learning........

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Glad to hear that your appointment went well. I've been told that the normal range for EF is 55-70%. I hope your Holter comes back normal also! Don't want to sound too cautious .... however, my initial cardiologist didn't seem at all concerned about my irregular heartbeat or PVCs either which is why, I guess, I ended up in ER at midnight. He and my PCP were too convinced that it was stress. I think you are smart to wait on add'l Rx until after the Holter period is up. Best wishes for a wonderful outcome for you! Hugs, laurali

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Laurali, I was just reading your profile and see that you have a pacemaker and defibrillator. You said you had a complete heart block, and after doing some reading, I'm starting to understand more about all of it. Your symptoms prior to that seem to be very similar to mine, so I'm curious how you are doing with those implants. I certainly hope I don't need that, but I want to learn all I can, just in case.

I never know what to call the strange feelings in my chest, but they seem to be happening more frequently. I was told to write down each event while wearing the monitor, but it was difficult to keep up, so I finally had to stop. Then I started questioning myself, thinking that it wasn't enough of a problem to bother with recording, because at times it would happen so often, and seem very slight. I was driving home after they put on the monitor, and I scribbled down the exact time I felt it...then it happened again...then again...and I realized it was almost like uterine contractions and happening about a minute apart. Hasn't happened that frequently since, and I realized I would have just ignored the frequency if I hadn't been writing down the time they occurred. At other times, it feels like a frog jumping inside my chest. I also have more fatigue, which seems to come from out of nowhere. I'll be doing fine, then suddenly, within seconds, have extreme exhaustion and I feel like I can barely move.

This site is amazing! All of you wonderful ladies have helped me understand so much already, and I really appreciate that. Thank you all!

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Hi! I just had my ICD "generator" replaced in March after 6 years with the first one. I am very fortunate that it has never needed to shock me to date; but I am dependent on the pacing therapy (it paces me 100% of the time). I don't feel this at all. My latest EF was 65% -- normal range (up from 23% in 2006); my CHF is considered completely managed with diet, exercise and meds. I do everything I've always done and have had no problems adjusting to the ICD -- rarely even remember that it it there.

My response to your post was because your symptoms did remind me of mine in 2006. I described the feeling of "fish flopping" in my chest. I had dizziness, finally fainting, and some pressure but no real pain. Mostly I felt a surge through my body -- after the fact, I think it was due to my heart actually stopping and starting. I had started needing naps every afternoon -- which was totally out of character for me. I sincerely hope you will get some solid answers after your Holter is completed. I never like to scare people, but I also know that I should have pushed harder for answers before the heart block happened (I really had no idea I had any heart problem). Take care. Hugs, laurali

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I had my follow up appointment today with the new cardiologist, after wearing the Holter monitor. It showed, that on the first day, I had 29 premature ventricle heart beats, and I think she said around 150 premature atrial heart beats. Then she showed me a number that I don't remember, seems like it was 212,000, and said that's how many times we beat a day, so the number of extra beats is insignificant compared to the number of daily beats.

I told her I have not been feeling well at all this week, after feeling much better the previous week, since starting taking the Imdur. I've had a lot of activity in my chest this week, and exhaustion. I had a major flip flop in my chest yesterday, while calmly sitting in my recliner, and another one this evening. It felt like my heart turned upside down and then someone punched me in the chest. That was a new sensation and much more intense than the other ones. She said that was a very common description of what people say an extra heart beat feels like.

I asked if that is what the PACs and PVCs are, and she said no, but said I had some of those also, but not nearly as many as the extra beats. That confused me, because I thought the "P" stood for "premature", but apparently that is different than having an extra beat....does anyone know about the difference?

She was going to put me on a beta blocker, but remembered that when I was on it before, it significantly lowered my blood pressure, so she decided to leave me on the Imdur instead. I asked if I should try the beta blocker, since I already have it, and she told me I could try it, but not to take it the same day I take the Imdur. I asked if the problem could be microvascular disease, and she said that is what she is suspecting that is what is causing the chest pressure on exertion, but it is really difficult to diagnose. She wants me to continue taking the Imdur for that, and it will also help with the PACs/PVCs. I asked her why I've had so many issues this week, including that one major flip flop, and she said the extra heart beats tend to come in clusters. You can go several days without any, and then suddenly have them all day for a couple of days. She wants me to take Magnesium Oxide, so that suggested to me that there may be an electrolyte imbalance, and I'm already taking Potassium, and several other things.

Do any of you have an imbalance with electrolytes and if so, what do you do about it?

I asked her if these extra beats are what is causing the fatigue and she said no, that must be caused by something else. I can feel fairly okay, and this within seconds, just feel like I'm totally wiped out by fatigue, and become totally drained. Does that ever happen to any of you?

I must say, I was a bit relieved when I left the office, because I was so concerned about the way I've been feeling, and all the activity in my chest, that I wouldn't have been at all surprised if she said I needed a pacemaker, because my nurse practitioner called the irregular heartbeats sinus node dysfunction, so I was happy to walk out of there with this information, rather than being told I need a pacemaker! I still don't quite understand what is going on.

I'm open to any information you guys can offer to me, because this is all new to me.

I'm not sure if I'm in a safe zone or not. Thanks!....

"Sam"....(That's short for Judy)

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I forgot to add one more question...

I told the cardiologist that in the winter, it hurts my chest so much to be out in the cold, breathing the cold air, and asked her what causes that. She asked if I had asthma, and I don't. She said that's not caused by the heart, and I've always felt it was caused by the heart because I often have that terrible pressure all across my chest at other times, and it's the same in cold weather. I also asked about the little sharp deep pains I have in different parts of my chest....she said that's not caused by my heart either.

Does anyone have any thoughts on either of these symptoms?....cold weather and little sharp pains in chest.

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Hi srbrotherton

I have been suffering on and off with very deep aching in both my chest and back, often radiating up into my shoulders on and off for years. I also have been told it isn't my heart, but then again, that is often a sign of a heart problem in females, so what to do? Mine lately have been so deep a hurt that even taking Advil every 6 hours doesn't help. My PC asked if I discussed with the cardio, but in my case, that is like talking to a wall. So I cope and figure if it is the heart, something worse will eventually happen, but it sure would be nice to find a doctor who can diagnose this. It is a lousy way to live when it is happening. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Karen

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Hi! Glad to hear you had a good outcome.....although I've never heard a cardiologist call them "extra" beats! You're right the P stands for Premature and it is an irregular beat, not "extra". (as far as I've been told). I've read that if your EF is below 35%, they usually consider an ICD or pacemaker. I hope things even out for you, but don't hesitate getting another opinion if you continue to have dizzy spells and feel like your heart is turning over....my PVCs feel more like hiccups. Take care. Hugs, laurali

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I know that electrolyte imbalance can cause heart beat issues. Are you taking a diuretic? Blood work will show if you are in a good range with this. Also stress can cause problems and you are probably stressed out with this. I would be. A run of PVC's is called V-Tach and when this happens, you would certainly be dizzy or even pass out. Painful PVCs may be due to the 'recovery beat'or the beat after the PVC because the heart has more time to fill with blood and the contraction is more forceful. This bothers some people more than others. That may be the flip-flop you felt. Again, follow your judgment and if the dizzyness becomes common or things change, it is time to go back to a cardiologist or the ER if it is really bad. My husband went through years of the dizzy feelings coming and going before he developed V-tach but this does not always result from PVC's. If you continue to feel strange, ask if you can wear the Holter monitor for a longer period of time. It does not sound as if you had a dizzy period while wearing the monitor.

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hi srbrotherton, I am sorry you have been through the "ringers"!
It sounds to me like you have Prinzmetals ... classic vaso-constriction in the cold inducing chest pain!
Can you share with us if you have worst episodes during hormonal fluctuation?
Many of us have several heart conditions; electrical and physical
My "wiring" plays up and causes problems, and now at 48yrs I have developed Prinzmetals (Coronary Vasospasms)
So for many of us there are several heart issues to sort, deal with and re-deal with on a regular basis.

On my last visit with my amazing female cardiologist, she said to me "Tamara it is time to learn to "manage" your current condition". I think I was waiting for a "quick fix" like 12 years ago when I had a right ventricle ablation for VT's. She said "I can't just "fix" this for you ... you need to help me manage your condition."

Keep asking questions and continue to keep a diary ...

Smiles
Tamara

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Hi Srbrotherton. You are becoming quite experienced at this. I had a heart attack after bypass surgery and 2 stents, along with a ruptured LAD. I am pretty lucky to be here. But, even with 34 years of nursing experience and 3 years of living with heart disease experience, I don't have yes or no answers for anything - even myself. I do self monitor - which is what you need to do. I do have periods of intense fatigue. there are things I just can't do. For example, on th e4th of July, I played in a percussion ensemble in the heat during a 2 hours parade. When we were done, I passed out. Came around after awhile, but I know I can't do vigorous stuff in the heat any more. I, too have PVC and PACs. I do take a beta blocker but also avoid things that are stimulants like a lot of caffiene, B complex vitamins, niacin, and the like. This whole thing started as I was aproaching menopause so sometimes I don't know if the hot flash is menopause or cardiac. Generally what I do, is if am feeling dizzy or weak, sit down and cough. It will stop a "run" of extra beats. I keep aspirin in my bag all the time. I usually give it 5 minutes. If it isn't over or I'm not back to normal in 5 mins, then 911 and go. It is a whole lot better to go and be ok than not go.....

You are becoming well educated. WomenHeart is terrific for that. There are no cut and dried answers. You, in time, figure out what is normal for you.

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