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Acute hypotensive episode - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Heart Failure
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2585 Questions
User :   I am a 63 year old female. Just now my heart stopped beating. I weigh 139 and am 5'3". I take verapamil for heart racing. I take it twice a day. Today I forgot to take the morning dose. I was sitting at my computer at 12:45 PM and all of a sudden I felt funny and realized my heart was not beating. I stood up and felt for a pulse. nothing. I felt like the room was going to get dim, there was some awareness of my sight being different, just a little. So then I made myself cough, and jumped up and down, and then walked quickly to the bathroom to get my pills, and just as I got there, I checked my neck again and it had resumed beating but now it was quite fast. I took the pill, and then lay down for about a minute, when it converted and went back to a very deliberate and strong beat but not fast like it had been. Finally it went back to normal with out being so deliberate, after a short while. Now i am okay. What happened?
Doctor :   hello
Doctor :   i am Dr
Doctor :   give me a min please
Doctor :   let me read your query
Doctor :   did you pass out ?
Doctor :   even for a smallest duration?
User :   no.
Doctor :   ok what you have experienced is a acute hypotensive episode
Doctor :   do you have any other medical conditions ?
User :   I never have passed out when this happened. I was put on verapamil several years ago for my heart racing. But at the beginning I resisted taking the pills twice a day and so only did i t once a day. Then, I would get break thru symptoms some time. No one could figure out why until one ER doc asked me how much i was taking and he corrected me when I said I was only taking one a day.
User :   So after that and about $10,000 over 6 years for unnecessary ER visits, we solved the problem and I take the pills twice a day, faithfully, but this morning I forgot.
Doctor :   yes one should never change the dose of the medications with medical supervision
User :   I don't think I have any other medical conditions. I don't take meds for anything else.
Doctor :   well i can understand your concern
Doctor :   how are you feeling now?
Doctor :   do you keep your self well hydrated ?
User :   Do you think this will start happening all the time? I have had it happen before but I can't remember if it was before or after I started taking both pills as prescribed. I knew to cough to startle my heart, so that is what I did.
Doctor :   An abnormally fast heart rate (tachycardia) also can cause low blood pressure. The most common example of tachycardia causing low blood pressure is atrial fibrillation.
Doctor :   no it will not keep on happening
Doctor :   dont worry
User :   Sometimes I will get the heart racing from wearing too tight pants or not sitting up straight in a chair. Sometimes after the episode went away I would burp, so felt there was some pressure on my heart somehow. But I have only had this heart stopping thing only happen a few times.
Doctor :   BUT this is a very strong indication that you need to see your cardiologist and get a simple EKG done
User :   Do you mean i need to drink more fluids? I guess I am not the best in that department, and this time of year there are parties to go to. Last night I had two glasses of wine before dinner.
Doctor :   water is must
Doctor :   it keeps your blood pressure up
User :   Right, I will try to do better in the water drinking department. I have aunts who got storks hahah, I mean strokes when they got older.
Doctor :   ok and please dont forget the EKG
User :   I do have a cardiologist and I have not seen him in a long time, so I guess I am due a visit. when the folks came to town who do those exams at the hotels and you get a bunch of tests I had that and things were normal but that was about a year ago. I heard about it from XXXXXx
User :   One more thing. Is it all right to have alcohol, like 1 or 2 glasses if I take verapamil?
User :   My cholesterol is like 93 for the good cholesterol and the bad is the rest of the total for a total of about 220. That seems high but the good cholesterol is so high.
Doctor :   yes thats borderline high
Doctor :   alcohol should be avoided
User :   I cannot take Zocor or those drugs, my legs ache. I tried red yeast rice too and the same thing.
User :   Ok what does it do to you to drink alcohol if you are on verapamil?
Doctor :   it delays the effect
User :   Yes I willc al monday to get an EKG appt with the cardiologist. When you say delays the effect if I am taking it twice a day on a rolling schedule, is there anything to worry about from the alcohol mix with the verapmil?
Doctor :   yes you should avoid it
Doctor :   if you can once a week is still ok
User :   Ok then I will only drink once a week. I know if I do that I will lose some weight too. Now I must say my husband is a family practice doctor but pretty much does not give me much advice. I think he would fear I would be asking all the the time this or that. So I have my own doctor if I need one unless it is just antibiotics or a refill on the verapamil. Thanks for the advice today!!
Doctor :   your most welcome
Doctor :   take care and do see the cardiologist
User :   OK have a great weekend. AAAAAAA
Doctor :   happy holidays
Doctor :   good bye
User :   PS. Yes I will see the cardiologist!
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