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Fast heart rate after drinking alcohol. Should I be worried for heart attack?

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Dr. Mayank Bhargava

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 1658 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 8 Mar 2013 in Heart Rate and Rhythm Disorders
Question: I went out last night and had 6 pints of alcohol. I woke this morning with a really fast heart rate and scared I will have a heart attack
doctor
Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 46 minutes later
Hi,
Welcome to XXXXXXX forum.

Drinking too much alcohol can affect the electrical impulses in your heart or increase the chance of developing atrial fibrillation and other supraventricular tachyarrhythmia.
Development of atrial fibrillation after drinking alcohol is also called as "Holiday heart syndrome".
Chronic alcohol intake may cause heart to beat less effectively and can lead to alcoholic cardiomyopathy (disease of heart muscles).

You should consult with XXXXXXX medicine specialist/ cardiologist and should go for thorough check up.
You should go for electrocardiography (ECG) on preliminary basis.
Any type of persisting arrhythmia's (disturbances in heart rhythm) may be detected by simple ECG.
You should also go for serum electrolytes, 2 D Echo (to rule out cardiomyopathy) holter monitoring as well as electrophysiological studies of heart.

Typically, racing heart rate may resolve rapidly with spontaneous recovery during subsequent abstinence from alcohol use.
Its clinical course is benign, and specific anti-arrhythmic therapy is usually not indicated.

Hope that helps.
Let me know your other queries.
Take care,
Dr. Mayank Bhargava
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Mayank Bhargava 9 hours later
does this mean I have a heart condition? I had an ecg done 3 weeks ago and it was fine. my head feels very thick and dreamlike after a night drinkin and unable to concentrate. is this normal?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 5 minutes later
Hi,
Presence of racing heart rate after binge drinking may be due to disturbances in heart rhythm and may be alcoholic cardiomyapthy.
these are just presumptions. For exact diagnosis, you must go for 2 D echo and holter monitoring (as you have normal ECG).
A person may have head heaviness along with drowsiness after drinking and it should be considered as normal.
Best regards,
Dr. Mayank Bhargava
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Mayank Bhargava 15 minutes later
how do I get to go for one of them as because my ecg came bk as normal my
doctor will probably say I dont need it doing. I also have a flutter like sensation everything now and then in my heart for only a second or 2 and ive had it where my hearts been racing then it stops altogether for litterally a second then starts again beating normally. I do suffer with anxiety and I take amitriptyline and citalopram for this. my dad died suddenly of a heart attack at just 46 years old. because of this I had my cholesterol checked 3 weeks ago too and it was 5.7. thanks for your replies doctor.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Mayank Bhargava 5 minutes later
Hi,
You shouldn't take alcohol as alcohol may be a precipitating factor for underlying heart rhythm disturbances.
As such if you are getting racing heart rate due to alcohol then there is no need of any treatment. These rhythm disturbances gets revert after abstinence of alcohol.
You should again consult with your treating doctor and should explain your family history and go for above mentioned investigations.
Take care and get well soon.
Dr. Mayank Bhargava

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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