Discussions that mention plendil

Heart Disorders board

I was wondering if anyone has had any experiences with ectopic heartbeats. I am a 35 year old male, non-smoker, non-drinker and regularly go for brisk walks on the treadmill on average three to five times a week, walking for about 1.3 miles in 30 minutes.

I was diagnosed with moderate hypertension about a year ago, and was put on a combination of beta blocker (Inderal), Xanax and Valium, the latter two for panic/anxiety attacks (I am a fairly anxious person since the death of my best friend at age 33 of a massive heart attack). I went off this combination because it made me feel depressed and took away my "zest" for life. I then went on Plendil, then Norvasc, both calcium channel blockers. Calcium channel blockers didn't agree with me - they gave me palpitations and a high pulse in the region of the low 100s while resting; this coupled with the fact that my pulse went up as a result of beta blocker withdrawal ("rebound tachycardia") made me feel very uneasy. Six weeks into the withdrawal, I still have the fast pulse, but it's now in the high 80s while resting.

Then about a week ago, I began feeling an "air bubble rising up my throat" sensation. The sensation was random, not uniform in nature. Sometimes I could feel two to three a minute, then go for hours without one. I then went to a cardiologist who 6 weeks ago did an ECG/EKG on me (results were normal) and she diagnosed ectopic heartbeats, and assured me that this was normal and there was nothing to worry about. She also asked whether I took caffeine based drinks such as tea/coffee/coke and I mistakenly replied in the negative, not knowing that the potfuls of Chinese tea I took daily also contained caffeine! I've since stopped drinking caffeine-based beverages. My cardiologist saw no further need for another ECG/EKG nor any other heart tests.

The cardiologist also switched my medication to Diovan, an angiotension-II receptor blocker in the hope that this will regulate my BP better.

My questions:

(1) are ectopic heartbeats dangerous in otherwise healthy individuals with no individual or family history of heart disease? I gather that almost everyone has ectopic beats sometime in their lives, it can come (and go, hopefully!) without warning, and people live with it for decades without affecting their lifespan. The difference is that most people do *not* feel these ectopic beats whereas some extremely lucky people like me do feel it? :)

(2) will ectopic beats lead to heart disease/failure in the long run?

(3) at what stage do I need to consider medical treatment for these ectopic beats, ie. how often do I have to experience these ectopic beats in a minute for example before I need to seriously consider treatment?

(4) what are the treatment options available for ectopic heartbeats? Are the side effects worse than tolerating/ignoring these ectopic beats?

(5) are there any ectopic heartbeat support groups out there on the Net?

(6) for those who have been on beta blockers and gone off them, and suffered "rebound tachycardia" as a result, how long did you have to bear with this faster pulse? I've been off the beta blockers for about 6 weeks now, and I'm still having a fast pulse. I know it isn't classified as tachycardia since it's below 100 beat per minute, but whenever I take my pulse, I get this uncomfortable feeling! My pulse is in the region of the high 80s/low 90s resting. Exercise of course brings this up (haven't measured how much) but brings about no other discomforts (thank goodness!)

(7) will long term use of Xanax, although at a low dose, bring about a faster pulse and added anxiety when you quit cold turkey? I quit from 0.25mg Xanax twice daily, and 5mg Valium by tapered dosage within a week, after having been on them for 8 months!

I apologise in advance for the long nature of this post (wanted to give a thorough background). Thanks for reading!