Heart issues as early symptom

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/22/2017 6:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone. Five years earlier, I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse and both tachycardia and bradycardia with occasional irregular heart rhythms, especially PVCs. Twice I've landed in the hospital with tachycardia that would not convert to a normal rhythm. (The first time I was out running and my HR got "stuck" at 140bpm.) Stress tests and echocardiograms repeatedly showed a healthy heart, although there has been increasing levels of valve leakage over the past few years. During an echo last year, my tricuspid valve had moderate leakage in additional to the mitral valve prolapse. My cardiologist had tried me on beta-blockers (don't work as they drive my heart rate too low) and on an anti-arrhythmic (also failed in that it caused more arrhythmia.) My heart rate varied considerably across the day from high 40s while sleeping to up to 185 while exercising.

After reporting abnormal hair loss to my dermatologist last fall, I was tested for autoimmune conditions and found to have high anti-dsdna (44 IU/mL) and low-to-moderate anticardiolipin, IgM (34 MPL u/mL). Beyond some general hair loss, I have no other apparent symptoms of lupus (rash, photosensitivity, mouth ulcers, etc.). Still, because of the high level of anti-dsdna, my rheumatologist prescribed Plaquenil. I've been on this medication for three months now and have noticed decreasing levels of fatigue. More significantly, I've noticed my heart rate has been less variable. Even when vigorously exercising, it no longer rises above 160.

Is it possible that the heart issue was an early (and the only major) symptom of lupus? Has anyone else experienced lupus characterized by heart-related symptoms only?

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7723
   Posted 1/22/2017 8:03 PM (GMT -6)   
With Lupus, almost anything is possible! However, I must say heart issues are rarely listed among the common issues that are present with Lupus.

I think this question is probably best addressed to your rheumatologist - I'm interested in what disease he was treating for when he prescribed the Plaquenil, and if he suspected it might help the erratic heartbeats.

Let us know what you find out!
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator, Dx: 2000
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/23/2017 4:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I was diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease 2 years ago. I now have SLE. My heart problems were one of the first problems I had, then breathing problems.Hashimotos then total thyroid removal.I have frequent chest pains an have ended up in ER a couple of times. I have an abnormal heart rate. I have been on Plaquenil for over a year and it hasn't helped with my heart issues.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 1650
   Posted 1/24/2017 1:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to our forum PatricaS and TracyMI (I like the MI Tracy)! I'm 59 y/o was diagnosed with SLE 2005 which started with depression and neurological symptoms. I developed angina a couple of years ago. I was given Nitrostat for the times I have chest pains, but because of a resulting migraine that ended at the ER I can't take it. I had pain in my chest and left arm 2 nights ago and just waited until it ended.

Anyway, your posts interested me so I did some reading in "The Lupus Book" by Dr. Daniel Wallace. I recommend this book to all Lupies. Patricia you meet only 3 criteria for SLE, alopecia, high anti-DS DNA and positive anticardiolipin antibody. Usually one must meet 4 criteria to be diagnosed, but with your history I can see why your rheumy went with the diagnosis. Tachycardia is a feature of active Lupus resulting from inflammation. Heart valve disorders are also found in SLE and Tracy chest pain is a common feature of SLE.

Patrica I'm proud of you for continuing to run. I was a runner for 20 years, but stopped because of Lupus joint pain. Now I can't go for walks because I have practically no cartilage in my right knee. I'm so sorry that both of you ladies have such serious heart problems and I hope you are able to keep it all controlled. ❤️ Love, Butterflakey
SLE '05, Sjogren's, Fibro, Raynaud's, major depressive disorder, anxiety; CVID (Common Variable Immunodeficiency); IVIG and Benlysta infusions monthly; Hypertension; Osteoarthritis of the spine, right knee, fingers, toes; Bursitis right hip; Osteoporosis, CNS problems, GERD, angina, 1st stage kidney disease. Many meds: better living through chemistry
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