Severe anxiety and pounding heartbeat after open heart surgery

Posted by lisabis68 @lisabis68, May 17, 2023

Anyone find that after open heart surgery their heart is thudding out of their chest? I had aerotic anneurysm repair and LCABG, 55 years old. I'm 4 months post surgery, but have been experiencing this pounding heartbeat off and on for a couple months. It is NOT paliptations, my heartrate is around 60 give or take when this happens. Had a heart holter monitor on for 4 days, cardiologist said no major issues but a few episodes of A tach. This makes me extremely nervous, and I've definitely been much more emotional, anxious and nervous since all of this. My cardiologist is not searching for an answer for me...has anyone experienced this? What could this be? Should I seek a 2nd opinion. Every day I am worried, and I know how bad stress is....its a losing battle right now. I need some direction, advice, hope. Thank you!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Heart & Blood Health Support Group.

I would get a second opinion from hopefully someone that is willing to listen to your worries, anxiety and truth.


This is probably not the medical answer you are seeking, and keep seeking it, but if nerves are a part of the problem try chamomile tea and also walking, preferably in a natural and pretty place, if you are allowed to exercise and feel safe.


Hi Lisa. I'll state up-front that I'm not in the medical profession and not giving medical advice. When I see posts like this and want to try and help out, I turn to ChatGPT and feed it basic info, then provide the output it provides. Keep in mind ChatGPT is an advanced AI bot, so don't rely on this reply alone. Always work with your cardiologist. My hope is some of the explanations provided can help you start a better conversation with your cardiologist (or with a new cardiologist, since you don't seem too happy with your current cardiologist).

With that said, here's what I fed ChatGPT:

"Consider the following info when replying:

A 55 year old female had open heart surgery due to an aortic aneurysm repair. Four months after surgery, she is experiencing a pounding heartbeat off and on for a couple of months (it is NOT a palpitation).

After wearing a heart holt monitor for 4 days, her cardiologist said there were no major issues but a few episodes of A tach.

What could explain the sensation of a pounding heartbeat?"


Below is the output ChatGPT provided. Hopefully with this info, you can find a cardiologist who's better at listening to you and run these possible causes by them and see what they say. I hope this helps you:

The sensation of a pounding heartbeat, known as pulsus alternans, can be caused by various factors, and it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. While I can provide some general information, it is not a substitute for medical advice.

Given the individual's medical history of open heart surgery for aortic aneurysm repair, there are a few possibilities that could explain the pounding heartbeat sensation:

Atrial Tachycardia: Atrial tachycardia refers to a rapid heart rate originating from the upper chambers of the heart (atria). The episodes of A-tach mentioned by the cardiologist may indicate this condition. Atrial tachycardia can cause a pounding sensation in the chest.

Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs): PVCs are extra heartbeats that originate in the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart. These extra beats can produce a sensation of a skipped beat followed by a stronger, more forceful beat, which may be perceived as a pounding sensation.

Cardiac Remodeling: Following open heart surgery, the heart undergoes a process called cardiac remodeling, which involves structural and functional changes. This remodeling can sometimes lead to altered heart rhythms or sensations, including a pounding heartbeat.

Anxiety and Stress: Psychological factors such as anxiety and stress can influence heart rate and rhythm, leading to the perception of a pounding heartbeat. It's worth considering whether these factors could be contributing to the symptom.

These are just a few potential explanations, and there may be other factors involved. To determine the exact cause, it is recommended to follow up with the cardiologist who conducted the evaluation and discuss the symptoms in detail. They may recommend further tests or refer the individual to a specialist if necessary.


Please let us know what this turns out to be so we can all learn from your experience.


Thank you, I do find that helpful, in that it I have learned something new about this "Cardiac Remodeling"...I will definitely ask about this. I definitely have episodes of the A-tach, have had and know what PVC's are, and do feel that anxiety also triggers these episodes. My cardiologist just seems content with the explanation that it's SO I just may request either further tests or for him to refer me to a specialist I also should be having a 6 month follow up with my cardio thoracic surgeon this month...I don't feel confident that will shed any light on things but I will advocate for myself as I have been through all of this I do appreciate the support of those in this group, it offers me some comfort because those around me don't really understand my worry and anxiety from all of this


I am 15 months post aortic repair and valve replacement surgery, and I am having the same issues you have described re: heart pounding. My cardiologist and surgeon have offered nothing to help me here. please let me know what you learn, it's very disheartening

Please sign in or register to post a reply.