I was born with a congenital hiatel hernia. As a child I complained of 'breathing problems' and fullness all of the time. I used say 'my heart feels funny.' I never told my symptoms to the dr., but twice had dr.'s think they heard a murmur and then change their minds.
By the time I reach Universtiy, I was convinced I couldn't take deep enough breaths and that I was having heart palpitations. They tried treating me for asthma, which just made me feel strange. I then got referred to a GI. Apparently, this is extremely typical of Gerd-- even more so when you have a hiatel hernia. When you have the hernia, your stomach is pressed up into the diaphragm-- closer to the heart. There is not as much room for food, and sometimes the angle can cause gas to build up in the stomach as well. It very often mimics a heart attack.
I had recovered (or so I thought) for three years. The first symptom I started feeling was back pain, followed a month later by the 'palpitaitons.' Having ignored these symptoms, the hearburn came back visciously and I was again diagnosed with Gerd and this time chronic gastritis as well. (this happened when I started drinking coffee and juice again). about a month and a half after starting the PPI's, no more palpitations.
I was curious since I hadn't felt heartburn, and then it came on suddenly. The GI told me that we don't always feel 'heartburn'-- it can still be there, causing damage, pressure, tightness etc.
Interesting bit of information: there have been recent links between GERD and IBS. Apparently they are now using an IBS medication to treat GERD as it helps the food pass through the stomach more quickly and prevents the pressure build-up which is often responsibile for these symptoms. As for the gas-- avoid raw veggies-- especially broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and fried foods. The veggies release gas causing pressure to build up in the stomach, and the fat takes longer to digest and can also cause a pressure build up.
Smoking is known to aggrvate GERD. Stress aggravates GERD because it increases stomach acid.
If you feel the palpitations more when you lie down at night, prop up your pillows! Don't eat too close to sleep time. You also might have what is called a sliding 'hernia' when the hernia can move around slightly and put pressure on the heart--though I am told that this is rare.
After years of PPI's I don't get the palpitations anymore-- but I do get that false fullness and trapped gas, which I have a lot of trouble burping up. I am now trying to get back off the PPI's.
Hope your palpitations subside! I know how frightening it can be.