Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    GERD causing heart palpitations?
    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?
    yanks123 responded:

    I am a 23 yr old female, overall very healthy with very good family health history, have had many heart studies done because of my palpitations, and nothing is wrong with my heart. I also have some pretty bad GERD but, it is not always present. It comes and goes. I know that the palpitations and reflux are related. No doubt in my mind. When I am having an episode of GERD, I get frequently recurring palpitations. And they can be very discomforting and worrisome. It's amazing, I can have hundreds of them and still have to work to keep myself calm about it. But, I know my heart is okay because I can step outside and run for miles and be fine (plus all the studies). Many physicians unfortunately do not think outside of the box (or won't admit if they just don't know). Granted, many health problems are so obscure. Medicine in general is obscure and messy. But, you have to trust your gut. For instance, if you truly feel they are related, they very well could be. After all, you know your body the best. You are with yourself 24/7. Docs are very smart but it is impossible for them to know everything. Be sure to keep searching for doctors that you think are truly taking care of you, will listen to you, and will not dismiss your symptoms simply because they haven't seen them before. Judging by this forum, clearly many people are seeing a link btwn palpitations and GERD/reflux. The good news is, they are apparently harmless. I have another symptom that disturbs me more, and it is a breathing problem. When I am having these stomach episodes, I will often feel like there is some sort of obstruction or hindrance to some of my inspirations. It's not every time I inhale, but sometimes it really scares me. And I know it is not anxiety. I have had anxiety and panic attacks, I know what those feel like. In the end, just know you are not alone in these symptoms and keep looking for a physician who you feel truly has your back. Sometimes it takes a while. In the mean time, eat cleanly, work out if you can (that helps with my GERD sometimes), avoid the usual aggravators like alcohol etc, and remember that if the cardiologist did all these studies and they came out fine, your heart is healthy. For some unknown reason many of us suffer from heart palpitations secondary to reflux. They'll figure it out eventually.
    robertz replied to hannah02's response:
    Thank you all for posting your experiences. Last week, I went to emergency room with "shortness of breath" and thinking was having a heart attack. My heart and longs are functioning well.....I have had 4 or 5 episodes of inability to breath normally when I am lying down to sleep which leads to feeling of faint. My general doctor thinks it is caused my stomach acid and vapor coming up my esophagus and disturbing my breathing. She put me on Prilosec OTC to see that helps the condition. So far, this only happens at night when I am lying down horizontally.

    Has anyone experienced similar episodes of airway constriction?

    Appreciate any feedback.

    megusta83 replied to hannah02's response:
    Hi there I'm sitting here reading this at 1:00 in the morning because of these symptoms Im definitely seeing my doctor early tomorrow morning your post certainly helped thnx
    fitzgig responded:
    I feel your pain. I too have been having the same issues that you have. My doctors told me I have Acid Reflux. They gave me medication for it, but its only a temporary fix that causes more problems down the road. Listen when I say that no acid medication is meant to be taken long term. After taking the medications for some time, I began to experience other symptoms. I was always tired and panicky. I felt like something else was wrong. I went to the doctors and had all of the test done and came back with the same results. We can't find anything physically wrong with you. They told me my heart is fine and they didn't know why I was so tired all the time. After a few panic attacks, they wanted to put me on anti-anxiety medication as if I was losing my mind.

    I had to change doctors several time, but I began to finally get the truth. The reason I was so tired, is because of my diet. Not that I was eating unhealthy, but I felt that I could mix it up. As long as I had a salad every now and then or drank more water, I would feel better. Not true. When you have Acid Reflux your diet has to make a major turn. I'm not a hundred percent, but this is what I did to feel better and get off of the acid reflux roller coaster. First off, I found a doctor who had some experience. If they don't have a clue to what you're talking about, then they are probably right out of med school. Any Gastroenterologist with more than five years under their belt has heard of these symptoms. Doctors love to write you a prescription even when they don't know what's wrong. Don't be some doctors guinea pig. Get a second opinion. Next, I flushed my system clean ,literally, of all the crap that was built over years. I went and had a Colonoscopy done. The day before you go in, they have you take a powerful bowel cleaning substance that gives you diarrhea all night. Although the process was not fun, the results were mind blowing. My daily bouts with acid reflux had minimized. It seems that a clean and clear intestinal track helps with the overall acid reflux problem, Although this helped, I was a long way from a cure. Next, I had to do experiments on myself. I had to find out what foods triggered the acid reflux. You should stay away from the classics like chocolate, caffeine, grapefruits, oranges, and greasy foods. You should also find the ones that you might have a slight allergy to. I found out that I'm lactose intolerant . Just because you don't have pain or you don't vomit doesn't mean your digestive system doesn't struggle with it. Next, I noticed that apples seemed to my help with my overall stomach issues, Not sure why or how, but they seem to help. Next, I began to take vitamins every day. My doctor told me I was vitamin D deficient. She said this is common in people who take acid reflux medication. You can not get the proper nutrients from your food when your on acid reflux medication, because stopping or slowing down the acid needed to break down the foods prevents proper digestion. I found that I just needed to do things to help my digestive system out. I chewed my food longer. Take supplements every day. I increased my vitamin D intake. I take a vitamin D3 5000 iu every few days. Also, I drink more water. I drink a full glass of water at least 15 minutes before every meal. It's like getting you stomach prepped for food. It also helped with the constipation that comes with the medication. I also take MiraLAX to help. I hope my experiences help you.
    funandfancy1 replied to Worrywart911's response:
    Thank you. You're not alone and you're not crazy!
    funandfancy1 responded:
    Did the anti depressant help at all?
    vc714 responded:
    I just registered so I could post to this thread because I have been going through the very same thing! I'm 55 and have been diagnosed with GERD and gastritis. (Probably from taking too many NSAIDS for back pain.)

    I've suspected from the beginning that my palpitations are connected to the GERD and/or gastritis. It all started at exactly the same time, about 7 months ago. And I had the palpitations before I started on PPIs, although I swear the PPIs make them worse but they're helping the gastritis, so I hesitate to stop until it's healed up. My gastroenterologist seems to waver on the opinion that the palpitations and GERD are connected. At first she thought they could be but as they continued, she thought I better check with my regular doctor. My EKG came out normal but now my regular doctor wants me to have a stress test and a holter monitor test. We'll see what happens.

    I see here that some people were diagnosed with anxiety when they told their docs about the palpitations. I also was diagnosed with anxiety when this all started but it was the symptoms that were causing the anxiety, not the other way around! I have a new doctor now who has given me many tests that ruled out the really scary stuff, so I'm not feeling anxious much at all anymore. I'm still having palpitations though, even when I'm completely relaxed. I also notice they are worse when my GERD symptoms act up.

    I also experience some other strange things that I think are from GERD that aren't usually listed as symptoms. I sometimes feel shaky, like I'm trembling just slightly and sometimes I have a tingling or burning feeling on my skin, especially my stomach and between my shoulder blades on my back.

    So anyway, you all aren't alone by any means and I feel better knowing I'm not either. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this thread.
    ill_informed replied to vc714's response:
    Hi vc714,

    I posted earlier in this thread with some similar symptoms you've been experiencing. Namely the palpations. I've recently seen a new doctor that has explained that GERD, acid reflux, and certain medications can have a very negative effect on our stomachs, and when our stomach lining is damaged it can cause this thing called "leaky gut". Where certain things we consume aren't being digested properly and leak into our blood stream. For instance, if I have even the smallest amount of caffein (say a piece of chocolate) my heart rate increases, I get palpitations or a full blown panic attack. He explained that this is because that caffeine is going directly to my blood stream and it's like taking a shot of espresso through an IV! So best advice is to steer clear of those things our bodies are having a hard time digesting. For me I avoid all caffeine and excess amounts of sugar.

    And you are correct about the PPIs making the palps worse.I experienced the same thing. I've read that while PPIs help block the acid they also can prevent you from absorbing important nutrients like magnesium and potassium. Low levels of either of these can cause palps. So I've also been making sure to eat a banana everyday and plenty of black beans.
    saints1953 responded:
    yes all the time. I hate it . it feels like u r dying. mine can come on at any given time..i feel it the worst if I am sitting or lying still.
    swool1 replied to hannah02's response:
    I have had reflux for years with gastritis etc.
    The best thing I have ever found is a low carb diet which keeps it at bay with only a small amount of Zantac occasionally.
    I think that if I could only be disciplined enough to keep the carbs very low I would not need any meds.
    The doctors told me to eat bland food with lots of carbs such as bread but that made my life miserable, it was only when I found the opposite diet to what doctors recommend that my life improved.
    I also have palpitations which I believe are connected to the gut problems because they usually happen when I have had too many carbs and the acid is coming up.
    Also laying down makes it worse and sitting up stops it especially if I have a drink which feels like I am washing away the acid.
    It's always worth checking out heart issues but my faith as a Christian also helps me not to worry too much.
    Hope this helps. If anyone has any questions about the LCD please get in touch.
    shanjg replied to saraya1's response:
    I share the same symptoms. I have started having palpitaions, especially in the nights when i wake and these did not start until i was diagnosed with reflux problems.i went to the er with chest pains and I have had ekg and cat scans a few months go to eliminate heart disease and abnormalities and the doctor sent me home saying my heart looks good. yet still the palpitations continue..why?? i have been to multiple doctors since then but they all jus prescribe antacids and anti anxiety pills like alphrazolam. Yet i continue to have the discomforts. sighs...
    you are not alone!
    undefined replied to hannah02's response:
    I am in tears reading this! I have been suffering with exactly the same thins as you and many more for over a year. I am so thankful to have read this today. I was in the ER yesterday for my heart symptoms and they told me again it was panic attacks. I do nothing but worry that there is something bad wrong with my heart that they aren't seeing. So thank you again so much. Now i know im not crazy and can hopefully not worry as much that it may be heart problems. I am going to read all i can on this and pray i can get it under control. It has consumed my life daily! Best of luck to u and thank you!!
    gerdygail replied to 38919170's response:
    Hi There Hannah You are not alone! I am in no doubt whatsoever that heart palpitations/skipping beats etc. is linked the acid reflux. Mine only started 6 months ago when my GERD started (although I now understand my is LPR) acid coming back into throat area. I have ended up in A&E (ER) so many times and they tell me it is anxiety. You are amongst 1000s of people who know the acid reflux is connected to heart palps. If you are on Facebook there are groups there that you may be able to relate, this is one of them
    I have an ultra sound on my heart and it has showed some vascular changes which I did not have until after my reflux started. However the ECG and holster test did not show any signs of heart problems. There are 100s of sites on the internet that now believe the acid attacks the vagus nerve which in turn causes the heart to go out of rythmn. The branches from the vagus nerve touch the heart. I notice it much more when I lie down. It is so noticeable and feeling is awful, feel like I am having a heart attack. If Doctors would only listen it would be a start. Kind Regards.
    hnavarro replied to hannah02's response:
    I very much so thank you for "going on and on" because after waking up because it feels like my heart is going to beat out of my chest 100 miles an hour has been scaring the crap out of me. I am currently going through digestive problems both upstairs and downstairs. For about a year I've been dealing with extreme pain in my chest and back that doesn't allow me to sleep, lie down, walk around, or pretty much do anything with out relief. It got so extreme a few months ago, I couldn't take it any more and decided I was scared. The condition got worse and almost constant every day. I also was dealing with horrible cramping in my stomach and dropping a lb or two a day. I went to the doctor and hospital even a couple times to see if I had appendix problems or was possibly dying?? Ulcer's and then they added on GERD meds. So I am excited to see at least for now, I'm probably not going to drop dead tonight. Sigh....... thank you so much for your details!
    frightened responded:
    Yes, I have been having palpitation for a month and they are driving me crazy. I went to a cardiologist who told me the palpitations are not life threatening which gave me peace for a short time. However the sensation of palpitations and now shortness of breath is very hard to live with. I am starting on Prilosec tonight and hope that helps. When I get stressed the germ starts. I am leaving for vacation and hope I can enjoy myself. Thank you for the post I equated the gerd with the palpitations, but never heard this from my doctor. Thanks

    Helpful Tips

    Coffee and liver diseaseExpert
    Did you know that drinking coffee is healthy for the liver! Studies show that a people who drank a few cups a day were less likely to scar ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    70 of 128 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the American Gastroenterological Association website