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    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?
    gerdzilla responded:
    ok, I have palpitations, indirectly related to GERD in the sense that after I eat something,I start thinking, oh am i going to get an upset stomache or heartburn because of? I literaly work myself up, and next thing I know, my heart is beating faster then Ricky Ricardos conga drum! So, maybe, just maybe, its your nerves.
    firethroat responded:
    Hi. You are not alone with your symptoms. I have experienced the same thing. My symptoms with the palpitations usually take place at night and in the morning. I have not been able to eat much since April (it's now July....) so I have been chalking it up to poor nutrition. I never knew that GERD caused this. And I have to say a definite YES to my experience with Drs not thinking outside of the box. They just throw meds at me (that don't work) and rush through any appointment/procedure I have. It is very frustrating. I have reached a point in the last month that it takes everything I have to go to work and live my life because I am so darned hungry but I am very limited on what I can eat. Everything causes heartburn, some food are just easier on me than others. I'm stuck with plain pasta and rice and water. I've wasted away to nothing so I am pounding Ensure to keep weight on. I always get the same thing from my Dr--a pat on the leg and then they say "you can't afford to lose any more weight". I am very aware of this and don't a nee a Dr to tell me that, I just need them to help me. I have experienced problems with anxiety attacks since I was in my late teen years (I'm 27 now). Over the years I have managed to really handle my anxiety in great ways that don't involve anti-depressants even though the first thing that my Dr wanted to do was give me a script for them. I'm not depressed and I have always thought that therapy and learning relation techniques would be better for me. Sometimes I think that this is the reason that my Dr doesn't take me seriously about how bad the heartburn and other symptoms are. Yesterday I was sent home from work because of how "unhealthy" I looked. I guess you can only walk around looking like a zombie for so long. I really hope that my Dr helps me today because I am now terrified of losing my job (career). Something to think about--a 2nd (even 3rd or 4th) opinion. Right now that is where I am at. Searching for a Gastroenterologist for a 2nd opinion because my current one is...I won't even say because it's not nice to speak badly of people. Good luck to you.
    OkaySure responded:
    I don't want to freak anyone out, but the subject caught my eye so I thought I would share.

    About 14 years ago, my dad died from a heart attack. He wasn't sick or anything, so it came out of nowhere. He never complained of heartburn until his last week, when my mom said he was having trouble sleeping because of it. She got heartburn while pregnant with my brothers and me and knew it was a common thing that happened with people, so she didn't see any reason to think twice about it. One night, my dad got up and went downstairs to wait out the "heartburn". We don't know if he was asleep or awake when he died, but it happened that night. He just thought he was having heartburn, but it turned out to be an actual heart problem instead. It is good to see that many of you have gone to doctors to get it checked out, just in case, because you never know.

    Good luck with the doctors! I'm all too familiar with having them not care I would suggest switching to a new one if yours isn't responsive to your concerns.
    Suomineito responded:
    I'm glad I'm not alone in this, I've had my heart and lungs checked out so many times that sometimes I feel like I'm just being paranoid... Luckily I have a family doctor who believes me and has gotten me help. I'm having hard time with the diet though, I also have ulcerative colitis and it seems like I shouldn't eat anything... as a matter of fact that's when I feel ok. But there's no point in starving either. Does anyone have suggestions to a good source for food recipes for all this mess we're all dealing with? Hang in there and remember, you can always change you doctor if you don't like the current one, not all of them are created equal...
    GERD_BOB responded:
    I'm simply adding my name to the list of people with GERD and heart irregularities.

    I'm 34 and have been diagnosed with GERD for over 10 years. I have a hiatal hernia. MY EKG this year showed up with irregularities, which resulted in a number of tests (ECHO, STRESS, LUNG, etc...) - all of which came back fine (good flow, no blockage, etc...). Nobody has been able to tell me "why?"

    I have been "self-testing" for a few years and feel fairly confident it is closely connected to GERD in one of 3 (or all) ways:

    - PPI medication is causing it (Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid...) - Same food/drink that causes GERD also effects heart (Caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, etc...) - GERD itself is causing it - (or some combination of all 3)

    I could throw "stress/anxiety" in the mix as well - as I'm sure this triggers or enhances the overall experience. I have been off caffeine for over a year - but the heart troubles are still there.

    Anyway... I have made Doctors aware of and at best I get a "maybe?" I'm interested in ruling out a few things - such as Prilosec or Prevacid - as they definitely help the GERD but I have been hesitant to take lately. Proper diet is constant discussion - as I'm off most milk products and caffeine and the basic acidic mess... I'd be happy to find some doctor or doctors in the Chicago area that can help with "diet" and or a gastroenterologist that recognizes the connection between heart and GERD... any thoughts?
    3mother responded:
    Thank you! I have just been diagnosed with GERD and I have noticed the heart palpitations too. It is very uncomfortable. I do have other problems with my heart: mitral valve prolapse (MVP) and premature ventricular contraction(PVC). They are not serious and I can get it under control with breathing techniques. But the ones I am getting now I can't control. It is usually at night. I had no idea that it could be connected but reading the other messages, with info. about the vagus nerve, it makes sense. I am going to mention it to my gastroenterologist and see what he says. I am assuming that most people posting are from US so it will be interesting to see if there is a difference in opinion. Having had medical treatment in both places, it would seem that Candian bodies and American bodies are totally different, if you go by the different treatments suggested by doctors; usually the American doctors seem to be much more reasonable.
    CalGal37 responded:
    You may want to have a look at the following article: - ?GERD Linked to Lone Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation?
    jnk1014 responded:
    I first noticed the heart palpitations and some pain in my neck and stomach pain when I started taking Prevacid again. I stopped taking it and I haven't noticed any more palpitations and less pain. Could PPIs be too strong for some people? I'm taking Pepcid AC 2 times a day until I can get to the gastro. I feel much better but I should be on a PPI because I have Barretts Esophagus. Any suggestions?
    susieq610212001 responded:
    I have experienced the same thing. I have been taking PPI's for about two or three years now. I asked my gastroenterologist if my heartburn could build up enough inside my chest at night and cause my heart to beat fast . He told me no. My family doctor ordered me to wear a holter monitor to rule out my heart. Of course, nothing happened while I was wearing it for 24 hours. Then I had to have an echo test done and that come back fine. It was determined that I have panic attacks. My mom also has them. I take prilosec for my gerd and it does nothing. I go back to my gastro doctor in three weeks because I've been having problems swallowing lately.
    NoSoPatient responded:
    I have found the EXACT same things: onset of palpitations only after getting GERD, researching and finding the connection with the vagus nerve, and having doctors look at me like I'm nuts to think the acid reflux could be causing the palpitations. If you feel like posting an email address so I can get in touch to compare notes, that'd be great. (Otherwise, here is fine.) Are you by any chance a very thin woman like myself? I do remember asking one young female physician from an unrelated specialty about this, and she did say that, especially in a woman of my build, the heart and esophagus were near enough to each other that an irritated esophagus could cause the palps. (I've forgotten her exact words, but that was the basic idea.) One other friend of mine is of a similar build and also has the acid reflux and the palpitations. I went through one terrible bout two years ago (when this all started), and for about four or five months, there were many nights when I got just a few hours sleep before the heartbeat woke me. Then, without making any sweeping lifestyle changes that I can recall, the problem vanished for a long time and just resurfaced a week or so ago -- which explains why I'm up Googling the problem at nearly 2 a.m.
    herbalremedies responded:
    I have Acid Reflux stuck in my Voice Box. And I am one of the few gutsy ones who likes to defy the medical industry by not taking more than accurate diagnoses from them....and refusing all and any kind of drugs or medications. While the ENT found my condition and the diagnosis while I complained of loss of voice they seemed very upset to see a patient that refuses MEDICATIONS. And I looked them in the face and told them: do you have anything that CURES this, not that TEMPORARY aliviates the pain, because I am not interested in the pain as I can stay with natural pain of scale 10--on the scale of 1 to 10--and wait for it to go away by itself naturally, but I am interested in any herbs, anything from the soil that may heal or cure this disease, you know natural stuff not synthetic and manufactured in the lab (the ones that once you take them for one medical condition they will give you 10-20 new medical conditions later in life).....Of course their answer was:No. But why did you come to us was their question. Me, simple human that I am answered: only for DIAGNOSIS, thank you. Had the heart palpitations, too. What do I do when it happens: I rush to a sofa to sit and put my feet up and try to find my I Love Lucy CD to relax works wonders on me! Otherwise, I--a mother of a 5-year-old and a 6-year old would freak the kids out if they knew my pain is so big, right ? So, my cure is this: a couple of months of Slippery Elm Bark to make my voice come back and get my pain lost for a long time....and after that regimen was done I started with Licorice Herb Root (organic only so you don't have any toxins added to your condition already there). And Voila! Now I drink the tea when I feel my throat bothers me and my voice si somewhat half-gone....I never had my voice all the way gone again for the past one and a half year since taking the plants!!! It is like believing in GOd: if you believe in the Herbs they work for you....but if you don't then they will just scare you as you've been brainwashed by the system to be scared of them. You can cure and heal and fix almost everything (I said almost everything) with plants. I cured many of my medical conditions with Herbs ...and now I do it all myself without even consulting any doctor or naturopath any longer. I let the people who manufacture the drugs shove them down THEIR throats...but not down my throat! Sincerely, Herbalremedies honesty!
    herbalremedies responded:
    Well, a very important remedy for stomach ulcers and even for GERD is one that I found accidentaly while visiting East Europe last summer and stayed there 6 months to do some treatments was this natural ingredient which is going to make you run around the room in disbelief: GOATMILK--RAW. And I mean.....if you don't like plants into tea....then swich yourself onto Raw Goat milk and boil it and drink it.....not only has more protein then Cow milk, less lactose than cow milk...and real Vitamin A and not synthetic VIt A added like Cow milk' s processing techniques, it also has more Ca (Calcium) and the fat in Goat Milk is actually the fat that is easier digested by human digestive tract and intestines and your Gerd will drop to a lower level and your digestion will get better and I lost 13 lbs in those 6 months of living on a European farm with Goat milk and came back without don't believe me? Bad for you....but this is the TRUTH. The living proof is MY BODY! And I stay with the good healthy raw milk. Even if you just switch to raw Cow milk would get you rid of some of your digestive problems, therefore GERD
    zen332 responded:
    Hi, NoSoPatient,

    I didn't realize there were so many people out there experiencing the same thing. When you mentioned the period of time where you had many sleepless nights, I can relate! I used to lay in bed wondering how in the hell I was supposed to get up at 6:30 a.m., go to work (in a medical practice no less) and function effectively. I would eventually fall asleep from sheer exhaustion after several nights of palps. In researching this, I strongly believe that the close proximity of the esophagus to the heart is an issue if there is any spasmodic activity of the esophagus. The doctor I work for (a gastroenterologist) prescribes Librax. I've only taken it once and didn't like what I felt.

    Has anything happened differently in your life which may have caused this problem to resurface? I know when I am unusually stressed, it exacerbates the problem. But, in the past, I've always handled stress without GERD and palps. What are next steps for you?
    mysticangel683 responded:
    I also have a rapid heart beat and my doctor thinks it is caused by GI problems and my GI doctor don't think so. I have had 3 or 4 Ekg's and they all have come back fine. Blood work too. I live in Ohio and my husband has discussed taking my to cleveland clinic since we are only 2.5 hours from there. Can you tell me the name of this doctor that you guys are talking about?
    Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Hi Mysticangel,

    Specific doctor recommendations cannot be made on our boards so if you're comfortable doing so, you may want to post an anonymous email address others can write to with any recommendations.

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