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racing heart

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Old 01-15-2005, 05:41 PM   #1
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sjde HB User
racing heart

My college-age daughter has had 3 episodes of a racing, pounding heart in the last 2 years. It lasts about 5-10 minutes. She feels light headed and the time it happened and I was with her , she had a heartrate of 180-200. The other two times it happened during exercise. The doctor thinks it's SVT-super(supra?)ventricular tachycardia, but unless it's caught in progress on an electrocardiogram, he says they can't be sure. He doesn't seem too concerned. He told her to do carotid massage or to bear down to stop it. Isn't 5-10 minutes a long time for something like this to last?


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Old 01-16-2005, 01:18 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2004
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jpos HB User
Re: racing heart

I heard that you should not attempt carotid massage unless you are trained. The bearing down is a vagal maneuver and may work. You can request a holter monitor, it is a monitor that takes continuous ekg for 24 hrs. If she doesn't get it often you can look into an event monitor, it works a bit different and is usually used for a month, but can be longer or shorter. If she is symptomatic I think it should be checked out. Just my opinion.

Old 01-16-2005, 03:15 PM   #3
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KarenBeth HB User
Re: racing heart

I heard the same thing, that only a professional was suppose to do a Carotid massage, because you can overdo it and slow the heart rate down too low. . . I would over question that.

It's not odd to have a 5-10 min episode of SVT, they usually last anywhere between 5-15 minutes for small episodes.. does she drink any caffeine, or anything like that?

Old 01-17-2005, 12:08 PM   #4
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sjde HB User
Re: racing heart

She used the event monitor but nothing happened while she was using it. No, she doesn't have much caffeine. Her grandfather used to have a rapid heartbeat like that too.


Old 01-17-2005, 01:27 PM   #5
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Re: racing heart

If she only has them very rarely (as seems to be the case), and she isn't having other symptoms, and there is no underlying physical defect that is causing it... then the options are quite limited.

Did she see an actual cardiologist or a primary care physician? This *does* need to be evaluated by a cardiologist.

I'm assuming that she had an EKG and the monitors and nothing else abnormal showed up? That in itself can go a long way towards putting your mind at ease about the whole thing.

However, if two of the three times it's happened, it was exercise related... a stress test may be in order - and if she's really lucky, she'll have an episode on the treadmill and they can catch it then, and you'll both know what's causing it and what can be done about it (or if anything at all needs to be done).
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." ~ Hebrews 11:1 ~

Old 01-20-2005, 07:27 PM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Cara24 HB User
Re: racing heart

HI I read Your thread, it all sounds to familiar. My tests were all normal at the cardiologist office. But my thyroid wasn,t? ask the doctor to check your daughters thyroid. I am almost sure this is the problem.
it is my problem, I know now. if you decide to take my advice let me know what your daughters level is. Mine is 23 that is pretty high.

Take care

Old 03-30-2005, 01:59 PM   #7
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shanz85 HB User
Exclamation Re: racing heart

Hey, I was just in the emergency room for the same problem. Im a 20 year old female in college, and I woke up Monday morning feeling very weak, and somewhat dizzy. In class, as time went on I got dizzier and dizzier until I felt like I would either puke or faint. I could feel my heart pounding really fast in my chest and I was out of breath. As soon as class was over I went to the health services and they told me my blood pressure was really low. They sent me to the emergency room where they ran an EKG, kept checking my blood pressure, ran some blood tests, checked my blood sugar, and the like. I have fainted twice before, a couple years ago, and felt the same way, but I never got it checked out.
At the hospital, they found nothing abnormal, but told me I could have a condition called a heart arrhthmia. I rarely drink caffeine because of a stomach problem, and I don't drink alcohol while I'm in school and I have never smoked. I don't do drugs, and I have been on a birth control pill for nearly 3 years. They said people can have episodes anywhere from a couple times a week to once every couple of years. They said if it becomes more frequent that I should be put on a heart moniter for one month since it can't be diagnosed unless I'm hooked up to a moniter at the exact time that it is happening.
A few things that I can do to prevent this from happening is to watch my diet, stay away from alcohol and caffeine, don't smoke, and exercise unless I become dizzy. My cousin has the same problem, but hers is much more serious. The doctor told me it can become very serious, but as of now, since I only have it happen around once a year, that I shouldn't be worried.
Hope that helps!

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Old 03-31-2005, 05:29 AM   #8
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Re: racing heart

I had a racing heart rate that skipped, causing severe angina. The doctors fixed that with a procedure called an "ablation of a bypass tract." I had the old form of the procedure where they opened my chest a la normal bypass surgery style. Now they send a probe via your femoral artery up to your heart to snip away the extra nerve path.

A cardiologist can stimulate the heart and induce the rapid rate in a hospital setting via what they call an EP Study (electro-physiological, if I remember). This is a bit risky as it causes your heart rate to go into hyper-drive but it allows the doctors to map the heart and find the bad nerve tract leading to the central node (distributer cap, so to speak) in the heart.

The only real side effects that I have today is that I am highly allergic to 500 mg+ of asprin. It mimics my old heart problem and I've been sent to the local ER a few times because of it. Asprin is now a red flag med for me. It puzzles some doctors but the cardiologists understand.

Best of luck.


Old 03-31-2005, 07:43 PM   #9
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Live-Life-to-Love HB User
Re: racing heart

Read my post below.....I sent it twice and deleted this one.

Last edited by Elda; 03-31-2005 at 07:48 PM.

Old 03-31-2005, 07:47 PM   #10
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Re: racing heart

I also have the rapid heart issue. In October I was sitting down to watch some TV and was really relaxed when my heart started to beat really fast out of nowhere. It really scared me and it lasted for about 2-3hours. I was freaking out (which I think made it worse) but after it stopped I was sooo tired and fell asleep. I also had camomile tea which I think helped calm me down.

Then it started to happen on and off for the next two weeks. It was horrible because each time I swear I was dieing. It would cause chest pain, my face was flush and I was basically trembeling all over. I went to the ER on night and they found nothing wrong with my heart and sent me home. Everyone was saying it was a panic attack. I knew it wasn't. It would happen when I got out of bed, when I was watching a movie, doing the dishes. No stresses at all. This was my body out of control.

My general doctor was stumped (my resting rate was 100-120 by the way instead of 60-100) so he checked my thyroid. It was fine. He told me to go to see a cardiologist.

So I went to my local cardiologist and he said that some people sometimes develop these rapid pulses in life and it's not known why. He gave me a beta blocker called Toprol and it helped immedialty. If it continues with your daughter, there are medications out there that can help.

Four months later I was episode free (while on the drug of course) and I tired to get off the drug (in hopes that I was better now) but couldn't. My episodes came back immediatly and I went back on Toprol. I was so scared. I'm 39 afterall and to have these heart issues was not right.

Now I was so mad and wanted answers. I went on the internet looking for a doctor who could further help me, I just couldn't believe that this was something that "just happens and they don't know why". I am lucky enough to live in New York City and have access to some of the best doctors in the world so I found myself a heart rythmn specialist and went to see him last week.

Please read my post so I don't have to repeat what happened to me, by now it could be on page 2 or 3 of this forum.

I would suggest, if it continues your daughter she should see a heart rythmn specialist in your area.

I now understand my condition better and feel I have options that I did not have before. All because I'm fighting for my health and wouldn't let one doctor tell me I have no other options but drugs.

Good luck to you and your daughter.

Old 04-01-2005, 05:33 AM   #11
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Re: racing heart


What did the heart rythm specialist say was the problem and what treatment did you get? I have had similar problems and have been told it is anxiety. I dont belive thats what is wrong with me.


Old 04-01-2005, 10:39 PM   #12
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Re: racing heart

Flutterby007 -

The only treatment I am on now is a beta blocker called Toprol. I take 25mg and everyone says I am lucky to have such a small dosage work so well. I may have to be on it for the rest of my life....this freaks me out~

I was given the option of having a catheter ablation done. It is a procedure that kills nerves/pathways in the heart that COULD be causing this rapid pulse for me. Maybe if you read my previous post "Rapid heart and Toprol and Scared" you will understand my situation better and get more info on what may cause the rapid heart rate for some people.

Right now, I don't know what I will be doing. Although I am leaning towards staying on this beta blocker until I have no other options I guess (like it stops working for me with a very high dosage). Even though it's not an actual surgery on the heart, it is an invasive procedure and there are always risks (although minor I am told) it worth the risk for's something I will need to think about.

I know for a fact it was not ANXIETY for me and got really mad when people looked at me like it was or told me it was. These episodes lasted for two straight weeks in October and I thought I was loosing my mind and my body was taking over.

They would happen out of nowhere and last for hours at a time (anxiety/panic attacks do not last for hours at a time do they?). Only you really know if it's an anxiety issue for you, don't let others tell you that it is if you feel it's not. It's a way of doctors getting out of saying they are clueless as to what is wrong with you. Doctors always have to give you an answer and it's unfortunatly always either an anxiety or depression issue with women if they can't figure it out!!!

And of course I would panic and get anxious when they episodes happened, which added to whatever was really wrong and that didn't help.....I am only human afterall.

Hang in there. Never stop looking for answers until you feel you know everything.

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