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rainbowz

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Hello. I'm new here and I'm hoping someone can help me out. I'm 23 y/o and for about a year have been having symptoms. I get chest pain on the left side, racing pounding heart, dizziness, shortness of breath, sometimes tingling and I feel faint. Usually it happens when I stand or if I have been standing for a period of time.

 

I have had an ECG, 2 EKG's, cardiac stress test, and a 48 hour holter monitor. Everything was normal except the holter showed an "attack" of 160 beats per minute. The Dr said it was for a short time. He said it is some kind of electrical misfire and is very common. So he prescribed me Beta blockers to slow my heart down.

 

I haven't started taking them because I am scared. I don't understand what the actual problem is. Can someone explain to me what an electrical misfire is? Shouldn't there be a reason for this? They checked my cholesterol and it's normal. I just feel like I did all those tests for them to tell me my heart is beating fast which I could have told them that myself. What I want to know is WHY?

 

Please give me some advice. What should I do from here?

 

Thanks.

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Hi Rainbowz!! Welcome. We have people here that would be glad to help you and share their knowledge with you. I would also guide you to ask your cardiologist what is going on specific to you. I know sometimes that is hard. Perhaps you could start wtih his/her nurse........... or your primary physician. Do you have a doc that you feel comfy with?

 

Some of the people here have been through similar experiences to what you are describing. Our site is a friendly and caring site. The posts sometimes take a bit of time to come about but please know that it is worth the time.

 

Can you share what about the meds is scaring you?

 

Thanks for stopping in and please check in as more people check in you will get more responses.

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All of us here know from experience the fear of symptoms like you are having. I hope I can be of some help with my advice and others will be along to offer theirs also. This is a scary situation we have all been through and being here for each other is part of the solution.

 

From what you wrote your doctor did not give you enough information on what he thinks the problem is. Was the doc a you family doc or a cardiologist? If it's your PCP then have him/her refer you to a cardio.

 

An "attack" of 160 beats per minute could mean a number of things and you need to know more about what's going on. Follow your docs instructions on taking the meds you were prescribed and be vary aware of how they make you feel so you can report back anything you feel that is abnormal. This should be the case no matter what new medication someone takes.

 

The term electrical misfire covers a lot of territory and that needs to be addressed more fully so that you know and you know the doc knows what is going on. The heart muscle has automaticity which means that every cell in the heart can be or become a pacer that starts the heart beat. I won't go into this further here and am going to ask you to check out some of the links in this board. Check out the community links in the upper right and also some of the pinned topics in the cardiac section. You can also google terms such as tachycardia and rapid heart beats.

 

I'll agree with your doctor that this is very common but I still think you should have been given more time on this subject at the office to get a full lecture or referral. Please get back with your doc to get a referral to a cardiologist.

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Hi Rainbowz,

I'm sorry you're having problems and know how frightening arrhythmias can be. That's basically what an "elecrtical misfire" is, an arrhythmia. There are many different kinds and Gilbert is right in that your doctor should have told you specifically what kind you have and what if anything it means.

 

It sounds like you have some sort of tachycardia, there are different ones of those and almost all of them aren't anything to worry about...even though they are scary and feel horrible. It sounds like you were given the prescription because you have symptoms with yours. Again, Gilbert is correct in suggesting you take it according to your doctor's directions and documenting any effects or side effects.

 

An "attack" of tachycardia is nowhere near the same thing as a "heart attack" so don't worry about that. It's just the term they use when the weird rhythms come on suddenly and then stop.

 

You've come to a good place, there's another member with various arrhythmias who hopefully can give you insight into living with tachys. I have many various ones, and have had for a number of years, and so has she.

 

Check with your doctor so you can be reassured, is he a Cardiologist? You should have been given a thorough description and explanation of what is going on.

 

We're all here for you,

Denise

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Thank you all so much for the warm welcome and for answering my questions!

 

Shak, I think with the meds I am scared because the side effects and risks etc. were not explained to me. And because I don't understand what is wrong with me. Also, I feel like I am so young to be taking pills that will be affecting my heart. I know the Dr. should know what he is talking about but I like to know exactly what is going on before I start any treatment. Mostly because I have had other problems all my life. I have a rare spinal cord disorder which was misdiagnosed for years and have been on meds since I was 14 years old.

 

gsc, I will read up on some of the links here, I'm sure it will be helpful. The doctor is a cardiologist. I am following up with my PCP this Monday about my back stuff so I will see if she has a detailed report from the cardiologist as to what exactly is going on. If not, I will make another app't with the cardiologist so I can ask more questions.

 

Denise, thanks for the info and support. It is much appreciated from all of you.

 

I will check in again later and I'll let you know what I find out on Monday.

 

Thanks again, I hope you all are doing well.

 

by the way my name is Lacey. =)

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Hi Lacey, and welcome to the Heartboard. I had an arrythmia for many years, called Supra Ventricular Tachycardia...which basically meant rapid heartbeat in the heart Ventrical area. Thank goodness they have an abbreciation for it...SVT! LOL When your heartbeat is fast, they call that Tachycardia. The reason you are getting faint and weak feelings is that the heart is not getting the oxygen it needs when it is out of rhythm. A beta blocker is a med that slows down the heart and they hope it keeps it slow enough that it doesn't go into tachycardia. It sounds like your heart is returning to normal rhythm on its own, right, or do you have to go to ER to have them do something to return it to normal? I was able to put up with my episodes for 7 or years, only having an episode about once or twice a year. My heartrate would go up to around 220 and wouldn't revert to normal without a trip to ER. But the last couple of years I started having the episodes more frequently...about once a month. It was around that time that my cardio brought in an electophysiologist, EP for short, and they specialize in these electrical arrythmia problems. An EP is the best type of doc to be seeing because they truly understand arrythmias and the different kinds of arrythmias and treatment for them. Arrythmias are very frightening but most are not life threatening. However, I feel it is important to pinpoint the doc to telling you what arrythmia you have and the doc should know if it is the one that is life threatening. My SVT was not life threatening thank goodness, and I rather doubt if yours is either. Just scary when its happening. Anyway, finally since my episodes were so often, my EP recommended a procedure called an ablation. The success rate of an ablation is 90 to 95%, and it was successful for me. A true blessing!!! If you see an EP, discuss this option with him/her. Usually, they try the meds first to see if that controls it. Also, there are other things that are suppose to help. The arrythmias have what they call "triggers" that sometimes set them off. They are caffeine, including chocolate, smoking, alchohol and/or drug use and stress. So it helps if you can avoid any of these things. I also read all the websites I could find to learn about my arrythmia and that helped calm my fears just understanding it a little more! Hope this helps and don't hesitate to ask any questions! As you can see there are a few of here that have had this similar problem!

 

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Welcome to the board. So you've had the monitor and it showed a brief period of tachy at 160 bpm. That's not too bad, enough to be noticeable but not enough to cause fainting or dizziness. Some of the symptoms sound like standard anxiety (tingling, faintness, chest pain, pounding heart). Hmmm. The other thing that popped into my mind was POTS - postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. You can google that and see if that sounds similar to what you're experiencing. I've heard some folks really enjoy POTS Place, a website for people with it. I've never visited that spot but I've heard good things about it. Sounds like a coffee shop to me. ;)

 

It would be helpful if your doctor had put a name to your tachy. There is sinus tach which is normal - the heart rate will naturally increase with stress, anxiety or exercise. Then there's PSVT - paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia - which I've had all my life. It's a tachy that starts in the upper chamber of the heart, the atrium, and causes the heart to beat too fast. Funny thing about it, it just turns on and off suddenly. It may last a few seconds or a couple of hours.

 

Can you get more information about the type of tachy you have? Then you could research it better. Don't be afraid of the medication. There are usually some side effects for the first few weeks and then they taper off. If it's too uncomfortable, there are other meds they can try.

 

I can say that I've had arrhythmias all my life (I'm almost 56 now). I have PAC's, PVC's (early beats that feel like a skipped beat), PSVT (tachy that runs as high as 198 bpm) and I used to have some atrial flutter (faster than PSVT). But through all that I've been married for 35 years, had 3 kids and I work with injured wildlife. So a quirky heart doesn't have to put your life on hold. I know this is scary for you but most likely you'll be just fine with medications if the tachy bothers you too much. First thing is to find out specifically what's going on in there. Not all heart arrhythmias are dangerous.

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Thanks for all the info and reassurance. That was really helpful. I feel better already.

 

Patoola, yes it goes back to normal on it's own. I get these episodes usually every day and sometimes only 1-2 times a week.

 

ireneo, I have actually done some research on POTS and it does sound alot like what I am experiencing. Also, I read that it can be related to the spinal cord disorder that I have (syringomyelia) which is a fluid filled cyst inside the spinal cord. It is to do with denervation in the legs leading to blood pooling when you stand up which throws off your central nervous system. I think I better ask the doc about this too. And I do have anxiety. I have all my life. But this seems much diferrent to me than a panic attack. I'm not sure but I guess it's better to rule other things out first.

 

So basically I need to find out what type of tacchycardia I am having? And would that tell me if it was POTS because I think you need a tilt table test to dx that. Is that right or would the holter show some type of clue for POTS?

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I'm glad the site has helped you feel a little better about all of this! I know it was a great help to me when I was going through my SVT problems! Just being able to talk to others that understood and been through similar stuff was such a comfort.

 

Yes, you do need to find out what type of tachycardia or arrythmia that you have. The treatments are different depending on what kind you have. And your correct, a tilt table test is needed to diagnose POTS. That was the first thing I thought of too, when you mentioned your symtoms.

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Hello Rainbow and welcome to Heartboard

 

kalip

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Well, I saw a Dr. My family Dr was away so it was a fill in. She did not know much about tachycardias but she told me the cardiologist wrote that I have PAT. She is assuming this means paroxysmal atrial tachycardia. I am trying to research it but I can't find that much info. Does anyone here have this or know much about it?

 

Thanks again,

 

Lacey

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Welcome Rainbow! :)

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Lacey, it's good that now you know what it is you have. I also have PAT, I think it's one of those general terms for any tachycardia (rapid heart beat) that originates in the upper chambers. Those aren't as dangerous as the ones that come from the lower chambers.

 

I'm glad it's something that isn't dangerous, though I know from experience that it can be very frightening and bothersome. Hopefully your med will keep it under control.

Denise

 

I found this on a site called Health A to Z and hope it helps:

http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/...tachycardia.jsp

Definition

 

A period of very rapid and regular heart beats that begins and ends abruptly. The heart rate is usually between 160 and 200 beats per minute. This condition is also known as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.

 

Description

 

The term paroxysmal means that the event begins suddenly, without warning and ends abruptly. Atrial tachycardia means that the upper chambers of the heart are beating abnormally fast. Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia can occur without any heart disease being present. It is usually more annoying than dangerous.

 

Causes and symptoms

 

Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia may be caused by several different things. The fast rate may be triggered by a premature atrial beat that sends an impulse along an abnormal electrical path to the ventricles. Other causes stem from anxiety, stimulants, overactive thyroid, and in some women, the onset of menstruation.

 

Though seldom life-threatening, paroxysmal atrial tachycardia produces annoying symptoms which can include lightheadedness, chest pain, palpitations, anxiety, sweating, and shortness of breath.

 

Diagnosis

 

Diagnosis is not always easy, because the event is usually over by the time the patient sees a doctor. A careful description of the episode will aid the doctor in his diagnosis. If the rapid heart rate is still occurring, an electrocardiograph (ECG) will show the condition. If the event is over, physicians often recommend a period of ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring (called Holter monitoring) to confirm the diagnosis.

 

Treatment

 

The doctor may suggest that during an episode of paroxysmal atrial tachycardia the following practice may help. Briefly hold the nose and mouth closed and breathe out, or by bearing down, as though straining at a bowel movement. The doctor may try to stop the episode by gently massaging an area in the neck called the carotid sinus.

 

If these conservative measures do not work, an injection of the drug verapamil or adenosine should stop the episode quickly.

 

In rare cases, the drugs do not work and electrical shock (cardioversion) may be necessary, particularly if serious symptoms are also present with the tachycardia.

 

Prognosis

 

Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia is not a disease, and is seldom life-threatening. The episodes are usually more unpleasant than they are dangerous, and the prognosis is generally good.

 

Prevention

 

Frequent episodes are usually cause for medication. In rare cases, the doctor may recommend a procedure called catheter ablation, which will remove (or ablate) the precise area of the heart responsible for triggering the fast heart rate.

 

In a catheter ablation procedure, the doctor will place a special catheter against the area of the heart responsible for the problem. Radio-frequency energy is then passed to the tip of the catheter, so that it heats up and destroys the target area. Catheter ablation is considered a non-surgical technique.

 

Key Terms

 

 

Premature atrial beat

A beat that occurs before it would normally be expected.

 

 

Supraventricular

A term for an event that occurs in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart.

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This article is excellent Denise! I'm sure it will help to understand PAT!

 

One word of caution tho. Do not try the Carotid method yourself because it could be dangerous. Only a trained doctor or nurse should do this method.

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