Posted 3/24/2008 6:30 PM (GMT -6)
Hi everyone. New to this forum but not new to some of the same issues that many of you are having. I apologize in advance for the long post but I want to make sure that I provide all of my information in order to get some insight from other members who may have the same issues as myself.
I am a 29 year old male in otherwise excellent health. It all began about 6 years ago when I was digging to level off an area where I was building an above-ground pool. It was mid-July in Connecticut and very hot. My heart took off at a very rapid pace but with a consistent rhythm for approximately 2-3 minutes and then all was normal again. I was symptom-free for weeks after but made an appt with a cardiologist anyway since I have a significant history of heart disease on my father's side of the family. Of note, my father died of a heart attack at age 41 so I'm sure you can appreciate my concern. I was placed on a Holter, given bloodwork, and had an EKG and an Echo......all of which came back completely normal. I was assured that my heart was structurally normal and as healthy as it could be. Over the last 3 years or so, I found myself getting several skipped beats per week, sometimes more and sometimes less. These beats were normally associated with an extreme sense of anxiety, almost like a rush of adreniline. I explained this to my PCP and he felt no concern with respect to my heart. Rather, he thought the issue was panic attacks and put me on a low dosage of Zoloft. I gave the medication about 3 months and discontinued use, at the advice of my PCP, since I wasn't experiencing any change in symptoms. I was placed on 50mg of Toprol XL to control the skipped beats. I was feeling good until August of 2006. While at work one day, I felt a skipped beat followed by a rapid heartbeat like I've never felt before. Not only was my heartbeat extremely rapid but it was accompanied by skipped beats every few seconds making me feel like my heart was literally bouncing around in my chest. I was terrified and started to panic. I ran into the bathroom and tried splashing cold water on my face. After about 1 minute, it eventually stopped and then started again 5 minutes later. I grabbed my laptop and left work, driving straight to the ER, which is about 5 minutes away from where I work. When I got there, my heart rate was around 180 and my BP was about 160/100. They rushed me into a cardiac room and hooked me up to a monitor. Although I was in complete panic mode, the cardiac personel didn't seem to be very concerned with what was going on on the monitor. After about 60 minutes, my symptoms completely resolved with no medication having been administered. I was told that I had an episode of tachycardia with PVC's. I was also told that there was no damage to my heart and that, although scary, that this was a benign occurrence. I was referred back to my cardiologist to discuss this episode.
I got an appointment about 2 weeks after my visit to the ER. Again I had a holter, an echo , bloodwork, and this time a stress test. Again, all tests came back normal. The Dr. said that my stress test was perfect; my oxygen levels and BP were good, my max heart rate was not exceeded and my heart rate recovery was excellent. Again I was cleared and reassured that this episode was not a dangerous one. My Toprol XL was increased to 100mg.
I went back to my PCP simply to update him on the episode I had that month and he put me on 10mg of Lexapro since he still attributed my cardiac symptoms to panic disorder. Of note, I've always been a very anxious person and my heart rate has always been a high normal. The Lexapro worked well but I never really git rid of the skipped beats. Since I've had every test under the sun, I simply dismiss them when they occur, like with excercise or when I'm nervous about something. Thankfully, I have never had another episode like August of 2006 until today while driving. I was taking my dog to the Vet when I felt a skipped beat followed by a very rapid heart rate with intermittent skipped beats. I pulled over, leaned my seat back and after about 3-4 minutes, all was normal again. I guess I'm still quite nervous of some underlying problem with my heart, despite the cardiologist clearing me twice. I constantly have an anxious feeling and a heaviness on my chest. I always feel like I can just start running and I can never seem to stay still. I can almost always feel my heart beating in my chest if I'm quiet enough.
I really don't know where else to go and I just would like to know if any of you have ever experienced the symptoms that I've just described. Any insight or information would be appreciated beyond belief. Again I apologize for the long post.