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Can acid reflux cause slow heart beats?

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Posted on Mon, 1 Jun 2015
Question: Hi I had all my tests done by my second cardiologist a few months ago. Everything came back normal with a structurally normal heart. i passed my stress test achieving 90 percent of maximum heart rate. The 48 hour holter showed 400 PACS and 15 rare PVCS. It also showed an average heart rate of 71 but showed 26% of the time in bradycardia and 12 percent of the time in tachycardia. Lowest heart rate was 41 at 5 AM while sleeping. My cardiologist said it always showed sinus rhythm. The reason im writing in to you is that i have episodes where ill be sitting or standing where i get a few very slow beats. Approximately 5 to 8 beats in a row which are very slow. It usually happens when i feel like i have food in my esophagus or a lump in my throat. Someone onece told me this can happen with increased vagas nerve stimulation. I could feel these beats very slow around 50 bpm and then after the 5 to 8 slow beats it speeds up to my normal rate. My cardiologist insists that i have a very healthy heart and that my etopic beats are due to my health anxiety and possibly acid reflux. Can acid reflux cause the vagus nerve to slow down my heart for those slow beats ? I get very worried about this. Sometimes when im sitting watching television my heart rate will be around 54 bpm
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Nothing to worry about! Just relax!

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXX!

Thank you for asking on HCM!

I understand your concern, and would like to explain that your clinical scenario is highly compatible with a situation triggered by anxiety and increased amount of stress.
Your heart looks completely normal and your performed cardiac tests confirm that.
It is true that even gastric acid reflux may exacerbate such a response. It may trigger a vagal nerve output increase, leading to heart rate slowing similar to your symptomatology.
But this has nothing to do with your heart. You have a normal heart. So relax! Nothing frightening to worry about.
You have to talk with your doctor for an appropriate anti secreting therapy with a PPI ( like pantoprazole, omeprazole, etc), for your acid reflux.
Hope to have been helpful to you! Greetings! Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
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Follow up: Dr. Ilir Sharka (24 hours later)
Doctor thank you for your reply. I have an appointment tomorrow with my family doctor to discuss the treatment for acid reflux. I had another episode today of tachycardia. My heart rate went up to 170bpm it is scary but it felt like it was beating in sinus rhythm. Will this damage my heart or harm me?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Nothing wrong is going to happen with your heart.

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXX!

I am glad to confirm you that nothing bad is going to happen to your heart..

Sinus tachycardia will not cause any harm at all. So relax!

Wish you a good health! Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Ilir Sharka (3 hours later)
Hi doctor can etopic beats trigger sinus tachycardia? Last night after lifting both my daughter's into bed my heart started racing again. I'm not sure if I felt any etopic beats before the rhythm got fast. I did deep breathing and splashed water on my face. The whole episode lasted approximately 3 minutes. Is this problem that I am having characteristic of svt? The pulse feels regular just very fast. Also when this was happening I also had a bloating feeling in my stomach again. Where my stomach had some pressure and felt very full
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
No obvious risk could be identified by rare ectopic beats.

Detailed Answer:
Hi again XXXX!

You don't have to worry about any rare ectopic beats.

They are generally well tolerated, and usually are not shown to trigger sinus tachycardia, but in some individuals the associated anxiety may be the reason for such a finding.

Regarding a SVT suspicion we can't speculate on that, it would be an obvious reality only if it is confirmed by an ambulatory ECG monitoring.

Hope to have been helpful!

Greetings! Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Pradeep Vitta
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Ilir Sharka (5 hours later)
Hi doctor I appreciate your response I've been trying to get an appointment with my cardiologist but he says I am healthy and he will see me next year. About the etopic I understand that you say rare etopic are well tolerated. When are etopic a cause for concern? Are they always benign with a structurally normal heart? Or do they become dangerous when you have a certain amount no matter what? The first holter I did last year showed 925 PACS In 48 hours the most recent showed less. Also is it common to have etopic over a long period of time such as a few years or more?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka (56 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Rare PACs are considered benign with a nomal cardiac structure.

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX!

Ectopic beats are considered problematic when they are in the settings of any present cardiomyopathies, or any acute cardiac conditions. As nothing of the above conditions is present, and you have a structurally normal heart, your rare ectopic beats are considered benign.
Sometimes rare ectopic beats may be presrnt even for years, and still the patient is considered normal.
Greetings! Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
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Follow up: Dr. Ilir Sharka (2 hours later)
Hi doctor I have one last question so I can ease my mind and go to bed. There are days when any simple movement like today will make my heart start racing. For example just getting up from a seated position will bring on palpitations. Then other days I will climb my stairs and my heart won't be beating so fast and I'm fine. Does the nervous system or stomach have anything to do with this? I've noticed since my stomach has not felt right the last few days, any movement makes my heart race. Is this connected? I know exertion speeds up heart rate naturally but this is more than that.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka (13 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Digestive disorders and anxiety do influence your heart rare.

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX!

As I have explained you before, digestive disorders (indigestion, esophageal acid reflux, hiatal hernia, etc) do influence heart beating.

So, you need to discuss with a gastroenterologist about your stomach upset.

Probably some additional tests (like fibrogastroscopy, etc) may be necessary to identify the right disorder.

Hope this could help!

Greetings! Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Ilir Sharka (18 minutes later)
Ok doctor I will see my family doctor and get a referral. Is this dangerous for the heart when it is affected by the stomach?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka (5 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
No any obvious risks for your heart.

Detailed Answer:
Hi!

You don't have to worry about that XXXX!
There is not any obvious risks for your heart. Relax!

Greetings! Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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Dr. Ilir Sharka

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Can acid reflux cause slow heart beats?

Brief Answer: Nothing to worry about! Just relax! Detailed Answer: Hello XXXX! Thank you for asking on HCM! I understand your concern, and would like to explain that your clinical scenario is highly compatible with a situation triggered by anxiety and increased amount of stress. Your heart looks completely normal and your performed cardiac tests confirm that. It is true that even gastric acid reflux may exacerbate such a response. It may trigger a vagal nerve output increase, leading to heart rate slowing similar to your symptomatology. But this has nothing to do with your heart. You have a normal heart. So relax! Nothing frightening to worry about. You have to talk with your doctor for an appropriate anti secreting therapy with a PPI ( like pantoprazole, omeprazole, etc), for your acid reflux. Hope to have been helpful to you! Greetings! Dr. Iliri