BirdieS

Intermittent “thump” in chest

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I was minding my business reading a book last night, when all of a sudden my heart did a hard “thump” and almost felt like it stopped beating for a split second. Immediately my fight or flight response kicked in and I began to feel dizzy, nauseous, and light-headed. I woke my husband and he assured me I was fine and that I probably needed sleep (I haven’t been getting much of that lately). I went to lay down and immediately another “thump.” I don’t know how, but I finally fell asleep. I woke this morning after a solid 7 hours and felt fine. I grabbed my phone and was scrolling through, and sure enough, another thump. Now I’m completely panicked. I’m seeing spots, doubled over and terrified that I’m having some sort of heart complication in the middle of a snowstorm. Worse is my husband is an essential employee and he has to leave for work soon. I just took a Xanax which is something that I try to avoid and rarely do. Has this happened to anyone else? When I put my hand to my chest to check my heart beat it seems regular, but I’m not a doctor so I’m scared.... 

edited to add that the thump happened several times before I woke my husband.

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My husband (who is the kindest, most patient person) put his head to my chest and listened for a good 15 minutes. He said he is noticing points when my heart skips a beat or pauses and then the rhythm changes slightly before it goes back to normal. I’m glad to know I’m not imagining this, but now the question remains as to what is causing it and if it could be related to anxiety. I can feel that the Xanax is working but I’m still feeling the hard thump with beat skipping. Just called my doctor. Third call this week about the same issue 😢

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Usually they are premature ventricular contractions or premature atrial contractions and they are annoying but totally harmless. You have to have A LOT of them for it to be serious (I mean like an insane amount). Never hurts to talk to the doc (they can do a holter monitor or ziopatch) but typically they are just more annoying than anything. And definitely can be caused by stress. 

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My concierge physician has told me to have all bothersome, new and/or persistent symptoms brought to the attention of a physician. 

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Hi Birdie. Thumps and things that go bump in the night can be very frightening, but as someone said, it's all harmless. Have you sought peace of mind by seeing your GP? It seems you have as you are on medication. Many years ago my anxiety began with palpitations. I was at work and it came out of the blue. I was literally terrified. Oh I do wish I knew then what I know now!!

I rushed home and made an appointment with my GP. She put me on an ECG machine and nothing came up. I have worn out dozens of ECG machines because I never believed them!  How could such awful symptoms be just anxiety. WELL, THEY CAN AND DO!!!!

Everything is tensed up in anxiety. It can affect any part of the body, and while the vast majority are harmless, we still remain convinced it's something awful. When the heart 'thumps' it does miss a beat then makes up for it by doing a double beat. That's the 'thump' you get. The more afraid you are of it the more it comes. When it happens take deep breaths and wait for it to pass with as much acceptance as you can muster.  It may take some time, but you will settle down if you accept it as a normal symptom of anxiety.  Take care.

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I'm in full agreement with @jonathan123. Yes, harmless palpitations, and this is a classical presentation of palpitations with anxiety. What you're experiencing is actually not a *skipped* beat, but an *extra* beat. Also called premature ventricular contraction (PAC) or premature ventricular contraction (PVC). One part of the heart contracts prematurely (thus "extra beat") which causes the next (normal) beat to feel as if it's late, but it's actually on time. The PAC/PVC will indeed throw the rhythm off momentarily, while the heart quickly corrects itself. These are absolutely normal.

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According to the cardiologist I have seen, palpitations should be checked out if someone has a history of heart disease, they happen very frequently or significantly worsen. He told me that for the most part, they are of no concern. When I had an echocardiogram a few months ago, the echocardiogram technician told me that some people she has seen have had PVC's almost every other beat. 

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7 hours ago, MARC said:

According to the cardiologist I have seen, palpitations should be checked out if someone has a history of heart disease, they happen very frequently or significantly worsen. He told me that for the most part, they are of no concern. When I had an echocardiogram a few months ago, the echocardiogram technician told me that some people she has seen have had PVC's almost every other beat. 

Yep. Certainly get it evaluated if it's new or worsening. Cardiologists do look at frequency as part of the evaluation, for sure. It's actually harmless to have rather frequent palpitations, barring any underlying condition.

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