I have a LONG history of these "skippnig a beat" thumps, and even sometimes, tachycardia. Mine started around the perimenopause years. I have had all the tests, including holters, echoes, and finally, heart catheterization because the 2nd stress test I had indicated an abnormality. My cholesterol has always been high (genetic thing) and when they called to tell me I needed a cath, I about died of anxiety right then and there. I got through it and it showed that everything was quite healthy - no blockage, or narrowing of any kind. I had also been on a Beta Blocker for a year or so....it did seem to help, but there were side effects for me, so I got off it.
Finally the cardiologist told me he didn't think there was anything wrong with my heart, the arrythymmia's were probably caused by GERD ( which I noticed is a problem for many of us)and recommended I see my PCP about a scope. I wasn't too excited about another test, so I did a little research on GERD and decided to try DGL - recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil - which is a form of licorice that has something taken out of it....just can't remember the name, it's long and hard to pronounce. You can find it at most health food stores, and comes in tablet form, which you chew before meals and bedtime. I didn't care for the taste at all - but it worked well. After a month or two of fairly regular use, the palpitations faded to just an occasional thump. It's been about 2 years since I stopped using the DGL and I still have very little trouble with them - and every once in awhile when I do - I can usually trace it back to something I've eaten, or remember having some reflux. But just to be clear, licorice or licorice products in general are not advisable to take - they can elevate your BP. The "DGL" has specifically had that potential removed.
That said....I think the palpitations happen as a result of a variety of things. The fibro makes us more sensitive to stimuli. Hormone fluctuations, stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, indigestion, flare, etc. etc. all play a part. A doctor once explained to me that if we have chronic disrupted sleep - our bodies can't make our next days supply of adrenaline (which it does only when we are sleeping) so it runs out. When it does - and we have a little fright or some stress of one kind of another - the body utilizes the "substitute" for the missing adrenaline - catacholamine, maybe - not sure - anyway - something that doesn't work as well as adrenaline. Like putting the wrong gas, or gas w/ water in it in you car tank.....and that can cause a fluttery, thumping heart as well.
Exercise, meditation, and eliminating caffiene are supposed to be helpful as well. I still eat some dark chocolate, but don't drink any kind of caffienated beverage. I really understand how scarey and unnerving the palpitations are.....when they're bad it's difficult at best to ignore them, and they produce a good deal of anxiety. I always wondered which came first...did the anxiety produce the palpitations, or the palpitations produce the anxiety? The tests & doctor visits are important to rule out other probs...but after that, like Sherrine said, it's important to breathe and relax. And maybe try the DGL.
diagnoses: mono 1972; postviral CFS 1997; fibro 1998; CEBV 2005; UCTD (dx limbo) 2007
meds: occasional low dose xanax for sleep, artificial tears w/ ointment at night, ibuprophin (none of which manages the problems very well!)
We cannot avoid the birds of sadness flying over our heads, but we need not let them make nests in our hair.
~~ Chinese saying as quoted by Helen Nearing