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GERD causing heart palpitations?
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zen332 posted:
I have mentioned this in previous posts and had attributed my heart palpitations to the use of PPIs. What I have discovered after much research online is that there appears to be a connection between the autonomic nervous system (Vagus nerve) and GERD. I had never experienced heart palpitations prior to my GERD. They come on suddenly, sometimes wake me during sleep and have lasted for several days on several occasions.

When I asked my cardiologist about this, he claimed he had never heard of this and recommended that I begin a regimen of "anti depressant therapy". His conclusion was reached after I tested normal on my holter monitor, EKG and ECHO. I am very discouraged about some physicians not thinking out of the box or even being "open" to this concept.

Has anyone else encountered these symptoms or physician mindset?
Reply
 
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BDPHILY responded:
I hought i was having heart problems bad chest pain and stuff like that but the er said everything was ok thats when i found out that i had gerd thank god no other problems since i've been on prevacid
 
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bkh146 responded:
I think I am encountering this too. It is nice to know I am not alone. Although the Dr. has not explicitly diagnosed me with GERD, I initially went to the ER a couple weekends ago because my heart just randomly started racing and was combined with a feeling of pressure in my chest.

Now it seems to be similar to what you are speaking of - as I just had one a few minutes ago, and I have had a bad taste in my mouth all morning, and some chest pressure now (also a feeling like something is stuck in my throat).
 
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hannah02 responded:
hannah02

After reading a few of the messages that were posted about GERD causing heart palpitations, I thought I would share my similar experiences with others out there. You are certainly not alone! I've been suffering from this condition for over ten years without any long term success. It all started one morning with a faint flutter in my stomach. I had never experienced anything like this ever. As I went to get up to get ready for work, I felt strange, I needed to sit down and then I fainted!! At the hospital they said that I had experienced a panic attack, but I knew that this was not true. After returning home from the hospital, I continued to endure what my family physician calls pre-beats. This went on and off for a few years when I experienced a bout of GERD. The palpitaions would start either in the morning when I first awakened or in the middle of the night when I was awakened by them. This was very frightening to say the least and there was nothing I could do but just lie there until it was all over. At times after eating something heavy like a burger or too much of something , I would get a feeling of faintness and palpitations lasting several minutes until I started digesting the meal. I visited gastroenterologist and heart specialists and they would tell me that they had never heard of thes symptoms. The gastroenterologist would suggest medication and tests that would only indicate that I had GERD and prescribe medication. It was very frustrating that there was no end to this debilitating medical mystery. Not until I started reading up on this, I was able to get a handle on the symptoms somewhat. I visted gastroenterologists once again and took the medication (Losec) they suggested, watched my diet and stayed away from stressful situations and noticed that the flutters I had been experiencing went away and so did the wakening up with the palpitaions. So for several years I've suffered on and off with the palpitaions and the only time I feel the pre-beats is if I'm bending over to pick something up or if I have a muscle spasm in my stomach. The following has worked for me to help manage this condition; when I'm suffering through another bout of acid reflux and experience the palpitations... my doctor has suggested to take some water and crackers with me at bedtime so that if the palpitations should arise to sip some water and snack on a couple of crackers as this helps to settle down the stomach. I stay away from spicy, fried and heavy foods. Even certain medications such as pain medications and antibiotics make it worse. No alcoholic beverages, sodas, coffee or anything that is too hot to drink or eat. I find that If I do anything straneous like shovelling the snow, I start to feel tighting in my upper stomach and can't catch my breath for awahile. Don't know if maybe a muscle is in spasm or not ,but it is really hard to breath. My diet is quite bland, and only when I'm back to normal I can eat a more balanced diet. I apologize for going on and on but, I'm sure that there is someone out there that has been experiencing these same symptoms and wished that they weren't the only ones. Every person is different so not every one will experience the same effects and not every suggestion might help everyone. The only thing that I can suggest at this point is to keep on top of your diet, stay away from stress and get enough rest until a cure is found. If anyone has any other suggestions or comments that they would like to share ,it would be greatly appreciated to suffers of GERD like myself.

Thanking you, I remain.
 
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barr59 responded:
I was so relieved to read your post.

I have suffered with gastritis and stomach ulcers since I was 23. It has now developed into GERD and I am suffering with gastric mataplasias in my esophagus. This has all been diagnosed this week with an examination endoscopy. Although this has been difficult to cope with, the palpitations at night are worse.

My doctor also went down the road of a 'heart condition' but after numerous tests, the conclusion was that my heart was healthy and I was just another neurotic patient who needed to either take medications or continue down the road of numerous tests in another area.

Thank you once again for your post it has really put my mind at rest
 
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r108j responded:
I have also never experienced palpitations until after getting GERD. I also thought that they were due to the PPI. Now I feel very strongly that they are related to the GERD and not the PPI themselves.

I have gone for periods of no palpitations and then out of the blue major "attacks" that can last for days or weeks at varying degrees.

 
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Worrywart911 responded:
I just wanted to say Thank you to all you on this post and everyone else who has taken the time to tell their stories and share their thoughts. This site has helped me so much in the past and continues to help me keep my sanity. If you will take the time to read my previous posts you will see that like you I have experienced many of the same issues many of you are dealing with. I've suffered with Gerd for a few years now and continue to deal with it every day. In spite of taking prevacid twice a day, 300 mgs of Rantidine before bed, avoiding trigger foods, giving up all caffeine and losing 50 lbs, I'm still having episodes of sharp chest pain on the left side, gastric pain, and heart palpitations. The weird chest pains I get, cause extremely weird sensations in my body, and freak me out every time. Even though I take 2 different kinds of anti depressants and anxiety medication, I still have to fight the urge to have a panic attack when these chest pains occur. Every time it happens I start to panic and think it must be my heart. Even though I have had all the tests, like most of you, some of which I've had twice. But when I come to this site, it puts me at ease more than any and all of the Drs I've ever seen. While it will always be in the back of my mind that I have some undiagnosed heart condition, I keep convincing myself it's only Gerd. IT'S ONLY GERD? Did I just say that? This medical condition has caused me more emotional and physical pain than many other things I've experienced in my life. Who knew? I think my symptons are as controlled as they will ever be because the Drs have me labeled as just another "neurotic patient." I have an episode every couple of months, but I guess this is as good as it gets. I still have more weight to lose, and am working hard to get it off, since the Drs are sure this is why my Gerd can't be controlled. I'll keep plugging along. Thanks for listening to me......again. And CalGal you are awesome!!
 
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zen332 responded:
To all of you who have replied to my post, thank you so much for sharing. My only question is that with so many of us out there who have almost identical similar symptoms, why isn't the medical community more aware of this? Even my cardiologist thought I was neurotic and wanted me to start on "anti anxiety" meds. I Googled "heart palpations and gerd" and came up with several different results. One page in particular I want to share with you and these posts go back to 2005: www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=45&m=308402

Happy reading!
 
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bluewendybee responded:
Hello! I am new to this forum and was so glad to find it! I have been suffering for years with palpitations that have grown increasingly worse in the last year. They have been so bad that I was put on ativan so I could sleep at night. Some days they are nearly constant. I have been to the ER 4 times this year with no answers. They just hook me up to monitors and tell me that I'm fine and send me home. It is so scary and so frustratring! This is not in our heads! Of course, like many of you, they want to label me with some sort of panic disorder. I have a hiatal hernia that has caused GERD for years and always wondered if there was some relationship to the pvcs. Has anyone out there ever tried drinking aloe twice a day? I bought some today and it seems to be helping. I think the major thing we need to to is alkalize our systems as well-eat alot of greens and stay away for the acidic stuff. I know that stress plays a role in this for me as well. I also have Candida and am on the Candida diet. This also helps and I've read that it can actually solve the GERD issue. I would love to chat with some of you as I have felt so hopeless and helpless in this past year. It is so great to know I'm not alone! Thanks so much for sharing!
 
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Roses201NJ responded:
HI Zen,

I have been experiencing Palpitations that are scary it started when I was laying down on my right or left side did not matter they would start. as soon as I went on my back they would stop. then they started thru out the day and night. ( I have had Gerd and IBS for years now). Went to an urgent care center at first had an EKG that was normal. Then went to a Cardiologist. EKG was Normal. after a full examination his gut reaction is that it is steming from GERD. He put me on Zantac OTC. low acid diet and low fat diet. I went for blood work and next week he is doing a stress test, echocardiogram ( it's a non invasive test an ultrasound of the heart) and then a halter monitor I will wear for 24 hours to check arrthymias. As the Cardiologist Explained. there is ONE NERVE that comes up towards your heart ( I assume its the Vagus nerve) "The irritation can cause the palpitations. Sometimes nothing is wrong with the heart, but can cause the trigger by the gerd".

As far as your physicians mindset I would look for another cardiologist because if he is recomending psyhchiatric meds to you then it appears that he believes your problem is of an emotional one and you should probably see your family MD or seek a psychiatrist to make that diagnosis. Well, that's my 2 cents I hope it helps.

Roses201NJ
 
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Roses201NJ responded:
Hi Worrywart911

Awesome screen name! I too get palpitations and have Gerd and IBS. Last year I went to the ER and they told me I have PAC Premature Atrial contractions. There is no medicine, no treatment. very common and even kids get this. Anxiety and caffeine brings this on. after a few days the symptoms ( Palpitations went away). Only to return again one year later. Went to a Cardiologist only to find out I do not have PAC, but the Gerd is triggering my palpitations. he explained our heart is on the left side and when we lay on the left side you squeeze the heart towards the esophagus, can't tell only one nerve comes up towards your head they cant tell weather ti's the esophagus or the heart. He said sometimes there is Nothing Wrong with the Heart, but palpitations can be caused by the trigger by the gerd. I too have anxiety/ panic attacks, secondary to having a lot of physical ill's. I feel if I did not have all these medical problems I would not be so anxious. I think back to when I was younger and healthy there was no Anxiety. My Doctor told me that no one has ever died from an anxiety attack.
 
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dustydusty responded:
hi you are not alone. It is amazing that millions of people in this country have been suffering from GERD causing havoc in their lives, yet the doctors kept on pursuing the same treatments and expecting different results. Isn't it insanity? I have been suffering from GERD for 10 years now. I have been getting a lot of "attitude" from doctors. First, a lot of them won't even allow you to describe your symptoms in sufficient details so that they can have a better understanding about how to proceed in a particular case. : They so quick to write prescriptions. It is discouraging! I have been experiencing these symptoms as well. Based on some basic research, I believe these symptoms are GERD related. I suggest that you should have your heart checked. This way you can dispel all the doubts relating to some kind of heart condition. Then, see if you can have an endoscopy to check the condition of your esophagus. Some sufferers have suggested pursuant to their research that erosion in the lower espophagus could cause symptomatic manifestations of arrythmia or premature ventricular contractions (pacs). I am not a doctor. I do not know if this is true. But it is worth investigating. Sometimes I think doctors do not care. They have become bureaucrates! They are not in the business of preventive medical care or treatment. Everything is scripted. They get away with it because we do not demand better!
 
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Oxymoron1974 responded:
I too have these weird panic attacks for the past 5 years. I am 35, male and overweight +100lbs. When they first started I had already been diagnosed with GERD, took ranitidine and one of the side effects of that medicine is heart beat irregularity. I don't know if that is it, sometimes I think it is because the attacks have been on and off again over the years and I am not sure if taking that medicine is the cause because sometimes I take it for months on end and maybe correlating. The strange thing now is that the past week or so I have had them extremely bad, with a peculiar taste in my mouth, high blood pressure and rapid heart beat, cold feeling in my stomach. I feel like I am dying when they happen. But it is like I have mental control of them if I desire. Several times when they start to come on I just tell myself "fine whatever, let's do this! Let's have a panic attack! Just do it, kill me!" and this mental attitude that I don't care will make it go away. If I concentrate on them and freak-out like I am dying they can be debilitating. It is like if I worry about it when it happens it is worse. I never thought about the GERD being the cause, just maybe the medicine, but I also take high doses of pain relievers for serious back problem and sometimes right after I take them I start freaking out as the attack emanates. At one point I thought it might be diabetes or a blood sugar problem because I had such bad blood pressure issue and my kidneys seemed to even hurt after the attack.

I would love to discuss this more with those who are having symptoms. I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea as well but I am never woken up by the panic attacks as I read others have. The heart doctor I saw gave me a clean bill of health after many tests even wearing a monitor. He did prescribe Toporol which seemed to work in the beginning and I also take lorazapam when I feel I need to. Recently my doctor prescribed me prozac, thinking that my pain problems make me depressed, I have been taking it, which is the only new thing I have been doing recently different which may have brought these attacks back into my life, I don't know. Doctors can be quite over worked and you really need to fix yourself with their help, I've found.
 
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saraya1 responded:
I could'nt agree with everyone more. My heart palpitations started pretty much at the same time my gastric issues started. Moreover, the heart palpitations make me anxious and irritable...but now that I think of it, it may be the vagus nerve causing this irritability. And once I take an antacid (or Prilosec as a course of action) all the symptoms stop.

Before I knew about all this, similar to everyone here I thought I had a heart condition. I was living abroad at the time, and went to a cardiologist that found a " 'normal' variance in my heart electricity" and wanted to prescribe pills. Im thinking Wait up here buddy, you are telling me its a "normal variance" but because you feel you need to find something wrong with me you're giving me pills. Needless to say I didnt take them. A week later I was talking to my uncle in Cleveland telling him about my issues, and I barely had time to finish and he said: " You have gastric reflux my dear".

Apparently he has the same problem, and believe it or not his GI at Cleveland Clinic was the one who informed him about this supposed relationship between stomach acid and a nerve in the stomach, that once affected will make the heart beat faster. Thats when I went on Prilosec and I was 'cured' for the first time in years (I was 24 at the time). Now I watch what I eat; acidic foods, spicy, carbonated soda, strong coffee....and if I feel a bout coming on at night, I prop myself up in the bed so the acid cant climb higher to irritate this nerve, and trust me it works. Ice water helps to put out the fire too......and atacid tablets always with me
 
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saraya1 responded:
Hi barr59 how are you? I already posted something but I hope I can help further....to my knowledge and personal experience, the reason your palpitations are worse at night (while sleeping I'm guessing?) is bc you are lying down flat and the acid is able to travel higher up your stomach. Dont eat late, watch what you eat, and if you still feel acid take a few atacid tablets before bed. Then prop yourself up on two (or three) pillows, I know sleeping this way is inconvenient - but in my opinion its the lesser of the two evils and has worked for me and continues to do so.......

best of luck


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