Help for the new kid re PVC's and Heart Murmur

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srkitten
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/20/2005 4:31 PM (GMT -7)   
I am hoping that I can get some much needed advise in between appts at the Doc. I have been to the GP for about 6 months now complaining of this awful tiredness that I can't seem to shake. I am a 42 (ok, almost 43!) female and I have always been so active. They have checked me for everything under the sun...yes, even menopause!!! Well, a few weeks ago he was listening to the ol' ticker and he kept listening and listening and listening. Then he called in the nurse and said he wanted to do an EKG.  After the test was ran he came in and re-checked the little sticky things and asked me...has anyone ever told you that you have a heart murmer. "no", I said. Then he did the EKG over again and said that I was "throwing" PVCs. He said it was really nothing to worry about but wanted me to see a Cardio. That Doc once again said nothing to worry about but wants an Echo. So I had that yesterday. I won't get the results til Monday. I get the PVCs about 10x's per minute, most of the time. Also, the Echo Tech said my resting heart rate was 90"something".
So, here is my thinking... I am not worrying! However, today I was walking through the house and bent over to pick something up and my ears started ringing as if I was going to go down for the count. Does anyone else have the PVCs and could this be causing me to drag butt all the time?
 
I appreciate any feedback you can offer...Thanks!
 
 
I just added to your title. :)

Post Edited By Moderator (Teri16) : 9/20/2005 5:56:15 PM (GMT-6)


Teri16
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 5230
   Posted 9/20/2005 4:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello and Welcome to HealingWell, srkitten! yeah
 
I have a heart murmur and so far it's been fairly benign.  My mitral valve flap which is supposed to open and close to let the blood flow through the heart in one direction has plaque on it that calcified and caused the flaps to be unable to close properly, so it allows the blood to flow backwards, called mitral valve regurgitation.  Sometimes these problems go unnoticed for years, unless like you, your Dr. picks it up long before any symptoms ever occur.  I've included a link to a great site for you to read and I hope it helps! tongue http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003266.htm
 
Re the PVC's, I, too have those, along with several others here and they are generally benign as well, though that is for your Dr. to determine! yeah
 
I don't want to guess anything, but I'm thinking that the echo that you had will perhaps be a bit more informative and give you some results - so we'll wait with you for those results and please feel free to post on the forum!  Wishing You Good Luck!
 
Hugs, Teri tongue
"Because he is he and I am I."......E. V. Lucas

"I Hope You Dance".............LeeAnn Womack
 
Please allow HealingWell to continue helping others by donating:


Audrey S
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/20/2005 8:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi 
I am sorry you are going through this.  I have had PVC's for 10 years but two years ago, fatigue started in then within about 6 months shortness of breath with exertion.  Then I started having a lot of left jaw pain and sometimes shoulder pain.  I was pretty miserable then the shortness of breath started showing up during conversations lasting more than 10 minutes.  Well my Doctor did not take my symptoms seriously at all. Two requests for a cardiac evaluation were requested and refused because at 40 and female I just couldn't have a heart problem.  Three months later I had a heart attack.
Since that time I have a lot of PVC's.  In February I had 18,876 in 24 hours....then I changed to a electrophysiologist at a UC hospital and she said that I couldn't have that many.  So she repeated it in July and I had 17,000 plus PVC's in a 24 hour period.... this is with Coreg, Procardia, Lasix, Tricor, nitro patches and Aspirin on board.  From my experience, your fatigue is real... that has been the hardest because I too was a very busy, active energetic woman.  The doctors don't seem to understand... I am not sleepy tired...my body just won't go...my arms will not lift and everything seems like I am carrying cement bags on my legs.  I just have no zip in my zipper.  Anyways I am glad your doctor was listening and has sent you on for further evaluation.  Do not minimize your fatigue, shortness of breath, positional changes such as light headedness or dizziness... I can tell just by my energy level how well my heart is doing.  when I have 7-10 PVC's per minute I feel okay as long as I I am not doing too much.  I now have to do a little rest a little if I do that throughout the day  at least I look normal....no huffing and puffing, good coloring, no swelling in my legs,,,,when they become more frequent then that I start having a lot of chest pains and I have to completely rest.  Over time my heart settles down.  It seems managing my available energy throughout the day has become a full time job. 
I hope your doctors don't do this to you but the doctors I dealt with early on kept trying to attribute my symptoms to depression or some psychological disorder.  It was very disheartening and frustrating.  My doctors have finally moved past that.   Anyways... I wish I had more information as it seems most of the information available regarding PVC's is speaking to people with a couple of hundred to a thousand per day.  The information doesn't talk about us that have multiple thousands per day.  I hope you find relief soon.
Audrey 
 

srkitten
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/21/2005 4:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Teri, thank you for your welcome! And AUDREY you are a breath of fresh air to me! Yes, a PA in my Docs office acutally tested me for depression...I laughed in his face. I called my Doc into the office and said please have this person removed from taking care of me.  My Doc profusely apologized and I could hear the scolding going on 2 rooms over.  I was actually quite offended.
  Of course, my husband says my heart is beating like this because when I think of him my heart goes pitter patter! I sure hope he is right!
 
Audrey, I am very sorry to hear about your heart attack though. It must have been awful. If you don't mind the question...How old are you now? I also, have the shortness of breath.  I find myself talking on the phone and I can't get the sentance out without taking in more air. It sometimes feels so good to stop and breath in real deep. I always thought shortness of breath meant that you huff & puff...I don't have then energy to do that after a flight of stairs!
 
Thanks again for the very valuable information....wish me luck!

Audrey S
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/21/2005 10:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for your good wishes.  I am now 42.   I feel the cause of my fatigue is the PVC's but the medications they use to stop them also cause fatigue. So right now for me the cause of the fatigue is a mixed bag. It comes down to managing my activities...if I have something to do in the afternoon I rest in the morning. However,  before I was diagnosed I think the fatigue was the big symptom - other symptoms were intermittant but the fatigue was constant. I would wake up in the morning just as tired as I went to sleep.  I would wake up instantly awake several times a night sometimes gasping for air.  I would try to lay down and would lie there forever...but if I went into the living room and sat in the recliner I would go instantly asleep.  Initially I was attributing the exhaustion to my job and the fact that I wasn't sleeping well. I  was coordinating a 5 million dollar grant program, bringing clinic and counseling services, dietary and student support to high risk students...on one site and then covering 3200 high school students at another...I was busy. However, the majority of my symptoms started during summer vacation when I wasn't working.   So in the beginning I kept thinking I am just tired.  And once I got some rest I would be fine.  After the heart attack and the recognition that something was up with my heart...I understood that I was exhausted and that resting was appropriate.  Now frustration has set in because my activity is limited.  It is hard for my friends to understand that I can go socialize with them for an evening.  However that evening is going to cost me 2-3 days where I am unable to do the things I need to do for my family.  Then my family gets mad because I look and feel like hell.  And my children feel guilty for asking for things they need...then I feel bad.... So it has changed my life  This has affected everyone close to me.  In some good ways in some bad.  I am just trying to stay positive.  I keep thinking I must be learning something from this.  What it is, I do not know...hahah (it better be good!!!)     Hoorah!!!! I am glad you sent that PA on his way and your Dr. supported you.  It is such an easy scape goat to blame this on some psychological theme....and it is sad that women who do not have the moxey to tell the Docs to go take a flying leap could possibly walk out of the office without proper evaluation and treatment for real cardiac problems because throwing some psych meds at them was easier than doing the proper cardiac work up.  And that is not to say how many women will not seek further care because they were humiliated by the thought of them being labelled psychologically unbalanced....The sad thing is my husband was going in for out patient surgery he had an EKG...they didn't like a blimp on it... a FULL cardiac work up was initiated that afternoon.... He is fine but they didn't ask him if he was depressed or stressed. 
I would like to know something too.  Do you have times where you have trouble thinking or maybe not thinking clearly....?  I have this thing when I am in bigeminy or trigeminy where the PVC's are  every other one or every third one, I get where I have trouble with numbers or just processing information...I have read some people calling it foggy or greying out....has this happened to you?  When I tell my Doctor this he doesn't really have an answer yet there are times when I am not processing information well at all.  It is like my brain is in slow motion...and the world is going too fast for me to keep up.  It affects my speech in that I say words that sound like the right word but it isn't the right word...good thing I have a good sense of humor...my kids are having a great time laughing at my slip ups...or sometimes I say a word that is in the ballpark of what I am trying to say but again it is not the right word. (The sad thing is that I sometimes don't catch it usually someone looks at me like WHHAAT?????)  then I realize I must have said something that didn't make sense.  As soon as the PVC's go back to every 5th or 6th beat I feel better again. And then I don't do it.  But since all this started I have never made it back to the way I was before. I was sharp as a tack....could remember everything and anything...great professionally...however, my husband didn't think it was such a cool thing...hahahah  Anyways I  hope you get good news on Monday.
Audrey

srkitten
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/21/2005 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   

OMG Audrey....your questions to me are so scary. I started documenting different things I was feeling back in July...in fact the document was created on 7/7 and here are just a couple of the bullet points:

  • weak, sleepy, foggy
  • Forgetfulness-the need to write things down, One time I literally didn’t know where I was.  Words get jumbled and won’t come out of my mouth or I forget what word should be used be used.

That is just too weird for me. I have a nagging discomfort in the right shoulder blade too. These are the reasons my doc ordered a MRI checking for MS. He didn't think so but wanted to be sure. And just think...I even have an HMO!

 

I take you are a teacher? Am I allowed to ask what state you live in? I live in Florida. Did you know you were having a heart attack? Did they do any kind of surgery after?

Do they tell you what causes the PVCs? I am like what you described...I can go to or have a party one day but feel like crap for a day or two after and don't want to leave the couch.

 

I can't describe how it feels to know that you can relate to what I am feeling...you know, I have no outward signs of something wrong so it is hard to talk to others about.

Look forward to talking again,

Sharain


Teri16
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 5230
   Posted 9/21/2005 11:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Audrey and Welcome to HealingWell!! tongue
 
That is really awful that no one took you serious until after you had a heart attack!  I'm glad you perservered and I hope that each day, you feel a little better!  I understand the fatigue and it's quite normal after what you've been through.
 
Wishing you the best and thanks for sharing!!
Hugs, Teri tongue
"Because he is he and I am I."......E. V. Lucas

"I Hope You Dance".............LeeAnn Womack
 
Please allow HealingWell to continue helping others by donating:


Audrey S
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/21/2005 6:26 PM (GMT -7)   

Dear Sharain,

You don't know the relief I felt when I read your story as up until that time I just felt like a odd duck.  The doctors have been stumped as to why this has happened.  It is so interesting you are from Florida.  I had been to Florida the year before the symptoms started and while there I got  a weird bug bite on my leg....it wouldn't heal up and kept festering and going away and then returning...I can look back now and say maybe the fatigue started then but it was so gradual I didn't take any notice of it.  Then when the sore finally opened out and this white stuff with black lines in it...I thought I squished a bug into my leg....no see ums or whatever...that is when the fatigue really became pronounced.  so from the vacation until the fatigue was pronounced it was about 18 months. That brings us to Sept 03. Then I was having a lot the jaw pain, fatigue, pain on the left side of my face and shoulder...I went to the doctor and she said...I had diverticulitis...I was thinking she was a quack because I am a school nurse, and diverticulitis did not fit my symptoms...but she put me on Flagyl and Cipro two antibiotics and I did feel much better.  So I thought she was a pretty good hunch as she couldn't have pulled that out with my symptoms.  I wasn't totally better but in the school system the fall is just crunch time until December so I thought I was just tired as soon as I got through all the screenings and stuff I would be better... In December of 03 I got lost in the town I have known all my life.  I was having terrible jaw pain and was driving around with my kids in the car and I couldn't find my way home I was completely confused.  They were like Mom do you know where you are?  And I didn't but I didn't want to tell them eventually I ran into the freeway and they knew the way from there... that is when I asked for the first cardiac workup from my Doctor....because the jaw pain I was having was so intense it would come and I couldn't think....about this time the Shortness of breath was becoming pronounced and she wrote me an RX for Motrin 800mg, antibiotics again and said it was my tooth.  The left side of my face and lymph nodes were swollen.  The Dr. completely refused to believe it could be cardiac related.  To make a long story short I bounced between the dentist, endodontist and the doctor for months.  The dentist and endodontist saying nothing was wrong with my teeth and the DR. refusing to believe it was something other than my teeth.  During January I asked for the next cardiac workup and she yelled at me that there was nothing wrong with my heart and I needed a better dentist.  I was put back on antibiotics and was told not to ask for a cardiac work up again.  In the meantime they had been doing a work up for sleep apnea and I went along (stupidly) with the idea that this was the cause of my fatigue the lack of good sleep.  So I do have sleep apnea and sleep with a C Pap machine every night now...but about the time I got my machine is the time a had the heart attack.... about a month after the heart attack the fatigue was ...I wasn't functioning well and she asked me if I had a cat....well it turns out I had cat scratch fever and from the titer levels in my blood I had cat scratch fever for quite some time...and when the Dr. gave me the RX for the diverticulities it was half of the right dose I needed for cat scratch fever...and was not for a long enough duration...but it was enough to make me feel a little better back in September.  So my care was a bunch of missteps..I tried following up some leads about the bug bite ...We stayed on Sanibel Island.  Black sand flies from the gulf of Mexico can carry the organism that causes cat scratch fever...and the same sand flies can also carry nematodes that include a life cycle that migrates from the bite site to the heart causing heart damage but I cannot get the doctors to listen out here....They just look at me like I'm crazy and desperate...I am I would like my life back!   I live in the Central Valley of California...I went to Stanford outside of my HMO coverage after the second hospital admission as I was very worried about my health.  The doctor at Standford doesn't think we will ever know for sure..some theories that have been tossed around ....the heart attack damaged the anterior wall in the center...the electrical conduction system goes through there...the heart attack could have damaged the electrical pathway....My immune system was so compromised by the cat scratch fever that Epstein barr (I had mono when the PVC's started 10 years prior)that a virus attacked my heart muscle...I have never done drugs in my life but I was questioned about drugs and possible IV drug use I l couldn't believe it I was so offended I made the MD check my arms, legs toes and neck for track marks just to rule that out as a possibility..She said she was sorry but she said my heart looked like a druggie's heart. And then there is the we don't know why. 

The doctors have not been able to give me an answer and the Doctor at Standford encouraged me to let go of,"Why," because they simply do not know and there is really no way to find out... unless autopsy is an option...I told her No,,,,, I didn't want that. hahaha  Anyways... I completely understand what your saying at first I would tell my sister that I forgot this or that...or I thought I was supposed to do X but instead I was supposed to do something else...she was like what do you expect you are 40 now.  But I knew this was different. So a lot of my family members have not been as supportive .... they tried in the beginning but now they are like,"Aren't you better by now,"  And that is hard. 

Did I know I was having a heart attack?  No, I didn't know.  Five days prior to the heart attack my daughters said they found me wandering around the house like I was confused.  I lost time leading up to the heart attack, I wrote some emails that didn't make sense,....I was taking a Nurse Practitioner pharmacology course during that time and was having trouble thinking....it was computer based so I would read the question...formulate the answer then when I returned to the question I swore they changed it on me....I am glad I can laugh now but I wasn't laughing then.  The pain in my left jaw was so intense and constant for most of the day that I thought I was losing my mind.  I called the Dr. during the day and they gave me a night appointment at 10:30pm...I went home from work and layed down and went to sleep...at 9pm I woke up and thought I need to cancel the appointment as I was too tired to go...about that time...my body started shaking from the inside out....I was having runs of PVC's I understand that now at that time I did not know....I asked my husband if I was shaking and he said NO....and I thought there is something seriously wrong with me....and I drove myself to the appointment.  It was there that the Urgent Care Dr. listened to my symptoms and did EKG, and enzymes and it was them who confirmed I was having a heart attack. They called an ambulance and shipped me off to the hospital.  It was then in the ambulance that the paramedics said you are in trigeminy and I then could associate the feelings I get when my heart is having a lot of PVC's with how I feel. 

I had a persantine stress test...where they inject radionuclear material they take pictures of your resting heart and then they give you persantine which races your heart and then they take pictures again to see if the heart is getting good blood supply at rest and during activity.

Then I had an echocardiogram just ultrasound of the heart that is easy

Then they did the angiogram. that is where they found that a portion the front wall of my heart was not moving and was not receiving blood the after the angiogram is difficult because you have to lay flat for several hours with a sand bag on your groin...which is not terribly taxing but it does strain the heck out of your lower back.If you have a small pillow you can put under your lower back while you are laying there is might help bit. 

3 weeks later...I was re admitted for unrelenting chest pain,...they redid the persantine stress test and that is when the front wall of the heart was bulging out like a rupturing tire.....

6 months later after rest and a ton medications they redid the echo and the bulge had gone away.  My heart wall is not beating like it should.

I have been given multiple diagnoses including anterior apical infarct, anterior apical hypokinesis, Tako Tsubo which was discovered in Japan in women in their early 40's develop symptoms of an anterior (front wall) heart attack but then over 6-8 weeks they recover and have no long term affects.  That is what Standford said I had but then when I didn't recover they modified it to Tako Tsubo like syndrome...and now they have given up that diagnosis...as I have never recovered.  So it seems to me that the doctors don't really have an answer for frequent PVC's. 

Their common line is PVC's not a big deal affects 50% of population.  Don't worry about them.  That is what happened when I was told I had them 10 years ago.  Now they seem reluctant to call it cardiomyopathy or heart failure, though I have seen those terms on my disability papers that the doctors have filled out.  I have also had episodes of congestive heart failure.  It seems there is no diagnostic category for people with thousands and thousands of PVC's.  I have not been able to return to my job as I cannot control the brain fog and as a nurse I could hurt someone. I have 3-4 hours of energy per day in which to take care of my basic responsibilities.  And day to day I just don't know how I will feel.  I just have to deal with what I get. Some days I have a lot of chest pain, others I don't have chest pain but am short of breath.  I think the chest pain is easier to deal with it...rest, nitro, rest nitro....I can hide this when I am out...I can sit quietly until it passes.  The shortness of breath is another matter...people look at you like what the heck is wrong with you?  I find it embarrassing.  They recently changed my meds and the SOB is more pronounced and whereas before I felt it right away....now I can walk from my car to perhaps a store there just comes a point when I need air and I can't get it in and I am left there gasping...and it is disconcerting because it seems to come from no where.  And then the days I feel great like myself I seem to do too much and end up on the couch for several days....finding a balance between available energy and the things I have to do is a constant thing I deal with.

I wish I could tell you there is an easy fix and there may be one for you.  Depending on if they can isolate a cause.  Like a blocked artery or if the irregular heart beat is coming from one specific area of your heart  that would be called unifocal PVC's.  In that situation they can do an ablation where they cauterize the area so it stops firing an errant electrical impulse.  Those solutions do not apply to me as I have multi focal PVC's and my cardiac vessels are not blocked.

In the first year I was admitted to the hospital 4 times with 6 ER admits.  I had multiple room mates.  I can tell you a theme among all of us was that there was a slow withdrawl from social activities...some of us were very social (like me) but that we would commit to going some where but as the day became closer we started dreading it and often would not go eventually it progressed to not committing to going  -to not going to anything.  There was the constant fatigue, the brain was willing but the body was as you said dragging butt.  Really struggling to do things that you used to do easily in the past. And the vague awareness that something was not right. Difficulty with intimacy was also expressed.

I hope I am not rambling too much... but it is good to talk to someone who can understand what I am going through.  

Thanks for listening I hope my experience can help someone else.

I am sure your Doctor has already given you this but things you should be aware of.  If you have nausea or vomiting, sweating with nausea, shortness of breath, pain in your Jaw, neck, chest, Left arm, shoulders or back, sense of impending doom you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.  911 is the appropriate call.

Good Luck 

Audrey 

 


srkitten
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/22/2005 3:15 AM (GMT -7)   

Dearest Audrey,

I can only say how sorry I am that you have to live with this horrible lifestyle now.  We are too young! Each time I get the ho-hums all I need to do is look in another direction and I can see "Sista, I ain't got it so bad"!

Ok, here is something that will make you laugh. I always eat a very healthy breakfast of granola or oatmeal and have salads for lunch. Well, yesterday a friend wanted to take me out to lunch. Went to Cracker Barrell and saw a yummy chicken pot pie on the chalkboard as a special. Yes, I had it and ate the whole thing!!!!!  Got back to my office and what was waiting for me? Instructions from the Cardio to go get Chol blood work done!! It could only happen to me. Think I better wait a day to do that! They would probably admit me right then and there because of blood filled with lard.

Well, going to run....thanks again for all the information. I feel much more informed as I go to see Doc on Monday.

Fondly,

Sharain

 


Audrey S
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/22/2005 10:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear Sharain,
Thanks for the laugh...I can totally relate.  It seems to always happen that way.... Tests...I am so glad your doctors are moving quickly with you, that is wonderful...give your doctor a hug from me.  And if he is cute give him an extra squeeze... (you can blame it on me)..hahaha (All my parts are still workin') We are certainly both too young for this nonsense. 
 
This life is doable most of the time anyway...there are positives....I have worked all my life outside the home so the good side is that I have been available to my kids 24/7.  And although I wish it was under different circumstances if this didn't happen I would still be working the crazy hours and schedules dodging here and there and so now for the first time in my life....My life is gently paced I am here for my kids and I am learning to appreciate the quieter aspects of life.  So in my mind that is a good thing. 
 
Hopefully they have caught your problem before any long term damage has occurred and maybe if they can get to the cause and fix it so you will be back to your old self soon.
 
Good Luck on Monday!
Audrey
 
 
 
 

srkitten
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/26/2005 9:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Well, the verdict is in...I have Mitral Regurgitation (sp) the doc said on a scale of 1-5 it is a 3. He has me on a monitor now for 24hrs. He will do another echo in 6 months.
It seems like I am blessed compared to all the trials you went through Audrey. I am really glad that I have a good doc.
Thanks for all the support!

Audrey S
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/26/2005 2:27 PM (GMT -7)   

Dear Sharain,

I am glad you are getting some answers.  Hopefully the 24 hour monitor will  pick up what your heart is doing that is causing you the most problems.  And the Dr.'s can respond with the best therapy.  A leaky valve ....they can fix that...yeah!!!!!  Take is easy in the meantime...

Audrey


Teri16
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 5230
   Posted 9/26/2005 7:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Sharain,
 
I'm glad that they are treating this aggressively and finding things out so quickly!!
 
Please take care and let us know what the plans are with this - wishing you only the best!!
 
Hugs, Teri tongue
"Because he is he and I am I."......E. V. Lucas

"I Hope You Dance".............LeeAnn Womack
 
Please allow HealingWell to continue helping others by donating:

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