Was this an Afib attack or PVCs? Anxiety triggered?

Posted by braziljjay @braziljjay, Jun 3 6:56pm

Question, I had 3 small 20 second episodes of where my heart started tobeat with a pause, hard beat then several extra beats in between the next beat or a pause and then the beat and then a few more extra beats. Is this a PVC or Ectopic?

I was feeling anxious, stressed, have alot on the go and also drank a very heavily caffeinated beverage from Starbucks. I breathed myself out of it .

I also noticed these attacks would occur when I would clear my chest/throat hard.

Like is that because it stimulates the vagus nerve which is already irritated because of my anxiety or stress? I’m taking much better care of myself now. Resting when I need to, sleeping better, practicing mindfulness, using essential oils, decompressing. I was just working a full time job before, growing 2 businesses , working out, always out meeting people, always go go go with min rest. Now I’m more balanced. However wonder what the episode today was. Like was this a PVC, Ecotpic attack due to stress, anxiety or Afib?

Hello @braziljjay and welcome to Mayo Connect,

As you may know, Mayo Connect cannot diagnose health issues. We are a patient-to-patient support group and we offer support and encouragement based on our personal experiences. That said, I can certainly understand the concern you must have regarding these symptoms. It sounds like you are beginning to take better care of yourself and that is good.

You do not mention talking with a doctor regarding these symptoms. Have you consulted with a doctor yet? While your symptoms might be related to stress, this is something that your physician needs to be aware of so that you can be sure of the cause. Having an exam will help you to understand the origin of this problem and have it resolved.

Have you had heart issues in the past?

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@braziljjay There's no point in guessing what your heart palpitations were. In fact, even if you go to a cardiologist and have an EKG, unless there is something abnormal in that EKG, he or she can't make a diagnosis on the spot. The doctor can do an exam, check the EKG for clues, and look at your family and personal medical history. Then the doctor can likely make an informed decision about whether the palpitations appear worrisome. If the doctor feels more info is needed the physician might have you wear a monitor or smartwatch with EKG program so you can catch the palpitations for analysis. You should contact your doctor due to your concern. The fact you did not faint and this episode seems unusual and not something happening frequently – and has several factors that could explain it – is reassuring. But call your family doctor or internist. A televisit and going over the episode that way or on the phone may be what's needed to reassure you and/or arrange for an in-person visit. Does what you experienced seem unusual or indicative of something serious? Many, many people are frightened by heart palpitations which can come out of the blue yet are often benign… but nobody can diagnose what they are by a description. Again, talk to your doctor and also cut back on stress, drink a lot of water, avoid stimulants and eat nutritious foods – and breathe…

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@slynnb

@braziljjay There's no point in guessing what your heart palpitations were. In fact, even if you go to a cardiologist and have an EKG, unless there is something abnormal in that EKG, he or she can't make a diagnosis on the spot. The doctor can do an exam, check the EKG for clues, and look at your family and personal medical history. Then the doctor can likely make an informed decision about whether the palpitations appear worrisome. If the doctor feels more info is needed the physician might have you wear a monitor or smartwatch with EKG program so you can catch the palpitations for analysis. You should contact your doctor due to your concern. The fact you did not faint and this episode seems unusual and not something happening frequently – and has several factors that could explain it – is reassuring. But call your family doctor or internist. A televisit and going over the episode that way or on the phone may be what's needed to reassure you and/or arrange for an in-person visit. Does what you experienced seem unusual or indicative of something serious? Many, many people are frightened by heart palpitations which can come out of the blue yet are often benign… but nobody can diagnose what they are by a description. Again, talk to your doctor and also cut back on stress, drink a lot of water, avoid stimulants and eat nutritious foods – and breathe…

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A 48 hour holter monitor (4 years ago) in my case revealed non-sustained ventricular tachycardia in addition to pvcs and atrial tachycardia. My symptoms were frequent palpitations. I
never fainted. Now under control with low doas metoprolol.

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@slynnb

@braziljjay There's no point in guessing what your heart palpitations were. In fact, even if you go to a cardiologist and have an EKG, unless there is something abnormal in that EKG, he or she can't make a diagnosis on the spot. The doctor can do an exam, check the EKG for clues, and look at your family and personal medical history. Then the doctor can likely make an informed decision about whether the palpitations appear worrisome. If the doctor feels more info is needed the physician might have you wear a monitor or smartwatch with EKG program so you can catch the palpitations for analysis. You should contact your doctor due to your concern. The fact you did not faint and this episode seems unusual and not something happening frequently – and has several factors that could explain it – is reassuring. But call your family doctor or internist. A televisit and going over the episode that way or on the phone may be what's needed to reassure you and/or arrange for an in-person visit. Does what you experienced seem unusual or indicative of something serious? Many, many people are frightened by heart palpitations which can come out of the blue yet are often benign… but nobody can diagnose what they are by a description. Again, talk to your doctor and also cut back on stress, drink a lot of water, avoid stimulants and eat nutritious foods – and breathe…

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Have had similar heart arrhythmia. Since I gave up caffeine coffee for decaf and no alcohol plus being careful not to overexercise. pacemaker girl tells me that I very seldom have them- less than .07 percent of the time

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I have had a return of the awful PVCs…they started Sept 10, and they come and go….but this episode is like some like those of the long gone past…a year and a haif with blissful rest from these….I’ve been tested in the past and seen 2 Cardiologists this year (when I was not having any)…they cleared me for a Colonoscopy…..but now, there’re back, and I just feel dreadful again….I’ve been through this before, but every time they return, I feel anxious and can’t seem to blow it off…..I’ve read some articles I’ve saved from the past and they help by letting me know about Vegas Nerve Ectopic PVCs….
That is why I’m joining this discussion group…..thanks

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@robbie1956

I have had a return of the awful PVCs…they started Sept 10, and they come and go….but this episode is like some like those of the long gone past…a year and a haif with blissful rest from these….I’ve been tested in the past and seen 2 Cardiologists this year (when I was not having any)…they cleared me for a Colonoscopy…..but now, there’re back, and I just feel dreadful again….I’ve been through this before, but every time they return, I feel anxious and can’t seem to blow it off…..I’ve read some articles I’ve saved from the past and they help by letting me know about Vegas Nerve Ectopic PVCs….
That is why I’m joining this discussion group…..thanks

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Hi @robbie1956, I'm glad that you popped over to the Heart Rhythm Conditions group with your questions. You'll notice that I moved your post to this existing discussion about ectopic PVCs, a-fib and anxiety. I did this to connect you with @hopeful33250 @slynnb @sue225 and @exboater. I'd also like to bring @predicatable @jayhawk57 @danab @rubywitch67 and @soph into this discussion.

While we wait for others to weigh in, you might wish to review this past discussion too:
– DESPERATELY FRIGHTENED, PVCs, AFib or panic attack https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/desperately-frightened-please-help-me-1/

Robbie, have you made another appointment with your cardiologist?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @robbie1956, I'm glad that you popped over to the Heart Rhythm Conditions group with your questions. You'll notice that I moved your post to this existing discussion about ectopic PVCs, a-fib and anxiety. I did this to connect you with @hopeful33250 @slynnb @sue225 and @exboater. I'd also like to bring @predicatable @jayhawk57 @danab @rubywitch67 and @soph into this discussion.

While we wait for others to weigh in, you might wish to review this past discussion too:
– DESPERATELY FRIGHTENED, PVCs, AFib or panic attack https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/desperately-frightened-please-help-me-1/

Robbie, have you made another appointment with your cardiologist?

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Thanks Colleen,

Yes I’ve made an appointment on the 30th of this month….I saw my old Cardiologist just this July 2nd….he was not concerned but then my sinus rhythm was normal…this is a phenomenon that I’ve been putting up with like many others for a long time…it’s like still a mystery why an episode starts out of the blue, then seems to (hopefully) in the past run it’s course til the next time. My current Cardiologist had my Echo Cardiograms done in 2013 and 2017 and all was normal….my bloating, GERD, hiatus hernia are always problematic but those symptoms don’t always bring on these episodes of PVCs…thanks again for the welcome and redirect, and I will check out the other discussion link you provided….

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In response to Braziljjay

Hi, I’m new to this discussion group, but not new to PVCs.
I can only say that they are a disruptive and uncomfortable
Sensation…My PVC’s feel intense , where I can not be sure what an AFIB attack is…but I say the Cardiologist could run tests and you could be more certain what these Ectopic beats were…good luck to you

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As others said, we are here as a support group to share ideas and such, not diagnose. That said, you may have a lot more control over knowing if you are having a PVC or AFIB than you know… If you have a smart phone, you can download one of a zillion FREE heartrate monitors. I am using one from the playstore called 'hewart rate monitor,' by Helath & Fitness AI Lab. I have no connection to them. All these work on any cell phone that has a camera and flash; they lite the lite, you put your finger over the lite and camera and it does the rest. Makes a nice pix of each beat, counts them, lets you save them to look back at your history of HBR and when and by catagory if you want. I use resting, hiking, AFIB groups.

Key is these silly little apps show you each pulse, and dings each one. So a PVC is a high rate but no missing ones; AFIB clearly shows the pmissing pulses then 1-10 in my case fast (like 150BPM) in a row, then a missing one or 2 or 3 beats, then repeat. As I have learned it, AFIB has missing beats, PAC & PVC do not have missing beats, just FAST beats. So if you want to potentially know your body a tad better, try one of these apps!

If you want to go 1 further, bet there are some that will record the picture so you can show your Dr. Otherwise, you could use a free screen recording app like Mobizen and just record the eppisodes yourself to share later. Hope this helps a wee bit!

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@robbie1956

I have had a return of the awful PVCs…they started Sept 10, and they come and go….but this episode is like some like those of the long gone past…a year and a haif with blissful rest from these….I’ve been tested in the past and seen 2 Cardiologists this year (when I was not having any)…they cleared me for a Colonoscopy…..but now, there’re back, and I just feel dreadful again….I’ve been through this before, but every time they return, I feel anxious and can’t seem to blow it off…..I’ve read some articles I’ve saved from the past and they help by letting me know about Vegas Nerve Ectopic PVCs….
That is why I’m joining this discussion group…..thanks

Jump to this post

@robbie1956 Hi I can relate to your issue. I too experienced PVC but mostly as a byproduct of the Ventricular Tachycardia. But like you were told and i was too they are not really dangerous and my EP said i didn't have enough in a row to be concerned about treatment. Now i usually only had them occur maybe in runs of a few minutes but for me they were concerning that if i got a vt episode is when i needed help ( usually by my pacemaker) within a minute or so.
But in your case it sounds more like afib which can happen for long periods of time. I had a friend with that condition and he would sometimes go for hours and if it didn't stop on its own he would go to the Hospital and get converted. But it was never life threatening. I know tho how concerning it can be. For me i am truly convinced that stress can bring them on. It like a catch 22 of sorts. The PVCs get you nervous and that's what keeps them going. I will say that i know for me my more dangerous problem was if i went into a VT episode i could always tell the difference by checking my pulse. Pvcs will feel like skipped beats in your pulse but when something worse was happening my pulse would like disappear which during a VT arrhythmia is when the heart starts to quiver and blood stops flowing. The good news is as i was told is the PVCs which most people have on occasion is not a symptom of something worse. I think its because due to having a heart condition we notice every little thing that feels different. So try to relax when you feel them and not concentrate on them. Easy to say right! I look forward nto hearing what you find out in a couple of weeks. The one symptom that i always knew propted a 911 call was a feeling of not being able to breath. So i hope that helps. Let me know if i can be of any other information.
Have a Blessed Day
Dana

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@danab thanks so much….mine are skips, and a pause, then in another 25 or 30 beats another skip, pause etc.. I appreciate everything you wrote….I would like to elaborate more on some of the tests that I’ve had Over the decades and some of the symptoms you spoke of when I get back home…it’s really nice to have people write back ….may you also have a blessed day.

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@danab

@robbie1956 Hi I can relate to your issue. I too experienced PVC but mostly as a byproduct of the Ventricular Tachycardia. But like you were told and i was too they are not really dangerous and my EP said i didn't have enough in a row to be concerned about treatment. Now i usually only had them occur maybe in runs of a few minutes but for me they were concerning that if i got a vt episode is when i needed help ( usually by my pacemaker) within a minute or so.
But in your case it sounds more like afib which can happen for long periods of time. I had a friend with that condition and he would sometimes go for hours and if it didn't stop on its own he would go to the Hospital and get converted. But it was never life threatening. I know tho how concerning it can be. For me i am truly convinced that stress can bring them on. It like a catch 22 of sorts. The PVCs get you nervous and that's what keeps them going. I will say that i know for me my more dangerous problem was if i went into a VT episode i could always tell the difference by checking my pulse. Pvcs will feel like skipped beats in your pulse but when something worse was happening my pulse would like disappear which during a VT arrhythmia is when the heart starts to quiver and blood stops flowing. The good news is as i was told is the PVCs which most people have on occasion is not a symptom of something worse. I think its because due to having a heart condition we notice every little thing that feels different. So try to relax when you feel them and not concentrate on them. Easy to say right! I look forward nto hearing what you find out in a couple of weeks. The one symptom that i always knew propted a 911 call was a feeling of not being able to breath. So i hope that helps. Let me know if i can be of any other information.
Have a Blessed Day
Dana

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@danab hi Dana, and thanks for the wonderful advise…to try to relax when I feel these skips, flips and something like my stomach moving upwards is advice I’ve been given time and time again by my Cardiologists through the years….but it’s comforting to hear it from another person with personal experience….I have read that overstimulation of the vagus nerve can be caused by bloating, indigestion, belching, and symptoms associated with acid reflux and hiatus hernia thus causing these palpitations…..maybe this is what I could be feeling when my stomach feels like it is coming up….but I go to my Cardiologist on the 30th…..I’m almost reluctant to mention some of these ideas about stomach indigestion/vagus nerve palpitation connection to him, because I did so once before and while he was polite and patient, he did not seem to really associate the two……thanks again.

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