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Fluctuating heart beat, breathlessness, stress in past

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Cardiologist, Interventional
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 192 Questions
My heart beat is speeding up then slowing down and somtimes it feels like it stops then double beats in between. I get short of breath sometimes just walking up the stairs. I stopped smoking 4 months ago, I am 39 years old, I am 6'2 and 234 pounds. I have no history of heart problems. I do consume some caffiene but not a lot. I have worked in a high stressed job for the last eight years and now I am not working at all. I get eight hours of sleep. I am not getting any type of headaches. I do and always work out atleast three days per week.
Posted Sun, 6 May 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Raja Sekhar Varma 12 hours later

Thank you for your query.

From the description of your symptoms, it appears that you have an arrhythmia (abnormal rhythm of the heart).

This is a medical emergency so please visit a emergency room or doctor near by you to undergo investigations like, ECG, echocardiography, stress test etc.

The exact type of arrhythmia can be diagnosed based on a 12-lead ECG with a long rhythm strip and a Holter monitoring.

The arrhythmia should be happening at the time when the ECG is being taken for it to be diagnostic.

Similarly, when you are connected for Holter monitoring, the arrhythmia should happen during the 24 hour period for the test to be diagnostic.

If you are getting the arrhythmia less frequently, you may need other tests like an Implanted event recorder or an Electrophysiologic study (EPS).

In the former, a small device is implanted below the skin and it records events for a period of months.

This is studied later and the ECG during the arrhythmia is decoded to make a diagnosis.

In an EPS, electrical potentials are recorded from different sites within the heart using special leads inserted through the groin and positioned within the heart using x-ray fluoroscopy.

Using a programmed stimulation technique, attempts are made to artificially induce the arrhythmia.

Once the arrhythmia is induced, it is studied. It is also possible to cure some specific types of arrhythmias during the same sitting by doing radio-frequency ablation, etc.

The specific treatment for the arrhythmia depends totally on the diagnosis.

If you have already taken an ECG, it would be nice if you can scan it and get it uploaded so that I can see the ECG and give you a more specific answer.

Depending on the situation, you may also need an echocardiogram, stress test and routine blood/urine investigations.

It is good that you have stopped smoking. Your weight is a little bit high for your height.You need to reach a weight of around 200 lbs.

You could reduce the caffeine intake as much as possible. Also, aerobic exercises, regular walking, jogging, swimming, etc could help.

Stress can precipitate and worsen arrhythmias, therefore good stress reduction techniques will definitely help. Alcohol, in excess, also can cause many arrhythmias.

The exact cause for your condition will depend on what specific arrhythmia has been detected.

I hope this answers your query. Feel free to contact me for any further clarifications.

Thanks and Regards.
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