Tests OK but Palpitations

Posted by fishdalf @fishdalf, Jun 8 6:10pm

I recently went to A&E/ER because for a few days I was getting heart palpitations and feeling light-headed along with them, this was getting progressively worse as the days went on.

They did all sorts of blood tests, an x-ray, a CT scan with dye that brings up all sorts of issues in your chest, and a very short ECG. All came back absolutely normal.

I am still paranoid though as the palpitations are still there and doing heart beat monitors on my phone I can literally see my heart beat change as I get a palpitation and it’s making me get really anxious.

Do I need a 24-hour ECG so they see the palpitations, or do I put it down to stress and anxiety and try to get over it? I just don’t want the worst to happen because I’m experiencing very stressful symptoms and haven’t gone the extra step and done something about it.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it.

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I had very similar and started to question my own sanity. You should ask your doc for a cardiology referral and/or a holter monitor (it will do ECG for days or even a month). In the momentary ECG, all they can really see is DAMAGE. So, if you have had a heart attack or have a-fib, they can see it. But, there are a lot of things that can cause a wiggle that isn't always there. These can be things like dehydration, heat stroke, stress, panic/anxiety, etc. Even pollution/bad air. But, it can also be something more serious. In my case, my "anxiety" was actually a near complete coronary blockage. So, don't stop asking until you are satisfied that the cause has been found. You may want to try some things that might give you a clue. Just for the moment, you might try a gentle vagal maneuver. There are a lot of different ways, but the easiest to describe is just to bear down like your pooping while holding your breath. Then lay back once you release (try to hold it as long as you can). Your heart will probably thunk a bit at first, but then calm to normal. You may also want to really focus on how much water, how much stress, what the air is like, and if you're getting overheated…just to eliminate those as causes. Best of luck!


Palpitations are what we, the patients, feel when either we have bowel gas or actual ectopic beats. Bowel gas can mimic palpitations. The bowel rises and runs under our diaphragm, not far from the heart, However, that's just another possibility I thought to mention, and I don't wish to minimize what you are sensing, or your anxiety in response to it.

I agree with the previous poster that a referral to a cardiologist is in order, and that a Holter Monitor for at least 24 hours is a great idea. Then, live and do as you normally do…don't alter your routine as you wear the Holter. If you eat only once a day, do that. If you snack…do that. If you do aerobic exercise, make good 'n sure to do that as well during your assessment period. Hopefully, it's something else, but if it really is ectopic activity or missed beats, you'll soon find out.

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