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Feel like heart stops beating for a second. Hard to breath. What are the complications?

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Practicing since : 1981
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Sometimes it feels like my heart stops for like a second, and then starts again but very slowly and hard for about 2-3 beats, and then continues as normal. When it happens it seems to be hard to breathe and I am compulsed to inhale. I have tried not inhaling and it appears to possibly elongate the amount of time this happens. I may be misinterpreting the "stopping" as just the transition to the slow/hard beats. This happens maybe 5 times a month on average, but can occur 5 times a day or 1 time in a month or two. It is very inconsistent and has been happening for years now. I don't drink alcohol often at all and don't intake caffeine often either.This began happening when I was a young teen I believe, possibly earlier.
Posted Sun, 19 Aug 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 1 hour later
Hi there,
Thanks for writing in.
I am a qualified and certified cardiologist and I read your question with diligence.What you have described is called Palpitation, it is a cause to be concerned about not to panic.
Please answer a set of 5 questions before I reach nearer to cause and the conclusion.
1. Ever in your awareness of your heartbeat is akin to someone pounding your chest from within rapidly or forcefully, You can say you agree with someone pounding is OK but whether it is rapid and forceful you cant say or it is both rapid and forceful or rapid only apart from what you have described. Skipped beats.
2. Are there any skipped beats of heart in an episode what follows to the beats thereafter, are these forceful pounding but slow as you said.
3. You said you feel as if your respiration is affected that is alright. Do you feel lightheaded or is there any giddiness or blackout during an episode.
4. An episode begins like a bolt from blue and ends suddenly, as abruptly as it began or it slowly builds up and then gradually settles down. How long it lasts?
5. During an episode an electrocardiogram or EKG has been done or you have been examined and started on any medicines.

You may not answer all of them considering those irrelevant but whatever information you will provide shall be useful in planning a strategy to manage them. So, I am looking forward to answer from you.
I will try to answer thereafter as soon as possible.
Dr Anil Grover,
CardiologistM.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Feel like heart stops beating for a second. Hard to breath. What are the complications? 52 minutes later
This has been going on for many many years. I think I might recall a family doctor saying I had a very slight heart murmur when I was like 14, but I could be slightly mistaken on the diagnosis. It wasn't a big deal and it was discovered by chance and nothing followed.

Also, I am asking this now, because I am in the Navy and am about to go out to sea for 8 month. I don't want this to become a problem while I am in the middle of the ocean away for good medical centers. Also, the Navy deals me a lot of stress, lack of and inconsistent sleep, and a lot of labor. I don't know if those will increase or worsen the issue, or cause something else bad to happpen.

1) A skipped beat followed by slow hard pounding, then less hard and rapid beats, followed by normal heart beat.

2) I don't quite understand. Usually an episode isn't followed by anything out of the ordinary, nor is an episode preceded by anything out of the ordinary.

3)I don't recall ever feel lightheaded, giddi, or blackout. The respiratory effect is very minor but is a part of the episode every time.

4) It is pretty quick. It starts suddenly with the skipped beat, and then lasts up to 5 5-6 seconds after. I have never timed it, it is always too sudden to think about that.

5) N/A
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 23 minutes later
Thanks for answering my questions succinctly and promptly.
I guess we have a reasonable diagnosis or set of diagnoses to work with. You have either a). Tachy XXXXXXX Syndrome: Paroxysmal Supraventrciular Tachycardia(PSVT) the episode of rapid heart rate you described is bradycardia that is the skipped beats now. b). Second possibility is intermittent atrial fibrillation and c) the nature of murmur howsoever benign needs to be discovered.

I can understand your position. However, diagnosis can be established in a day and you can be fully treated in a weeks time to save the trouble for ever (least of all middle of nowhere). For the diagnosis to be established therefore please fix an appointment with the doctor at the earliest. Doctor will do the physical and systemic examination in detail. He may ask for an echocardiography+ Doppler examination and ECG. If arrhythmia is not found on ECG, he would order an Holter examination. Depending on type or arrhythmia you will be given calcium channel blocker drugs like Verapamil or Diltiazem or beta-blockers or (in the worst case scenario) he may seek a cardiology consult and advice you a pacemaker. In the US, in different states cardiac surgeon or cardiologist implant the pacemaker. It is small procedure done under local anesthesia and pacemaker size of 4x5x1 cm volume is put in the subcutaneous tissue below the clavicle. Patient is discharged on next day and is fully mobile ready to climb mountains if need be in a week's time. In any case you can take the decision of when in discussion with the doctor after preliminary examination and choose the timing. Therefore, nothing to worry, it is only a cause of concern which need to be addressed. Good Luck. If you have any questions for me, I will be happy to answer asap
Best Wishes.
Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Feel like heart stops beating for a second. Hard to breath. What are the complications? 2 days later
From what I described to you, does this seem to be an issue big enough to be discharge medically from the U.S. Navy? Can this issue be amplified by stress or sleep loss? What if I don't have an "episode" again for a while, how are the doctors to prove it? Are there other ways to diagnose without having recorded an episode? What are the negative side effects to this? I am wondering if I have anything else that may be going on that is linked, unbeknownst to me, to this issue. What is the worst case scenario if something does go wrong?
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 24 minutes later
I will try to answer your questions to best of my knowledge.
1. As for discharge from army is concerned, on their own initiative unless the examining doctor picks the murmur and detailed echocardiography reveals something more, No. However, if you tell them all the details and they want to do Holter which picks arrhythmia which is considered bad they would allow you to appeal but consider discharging you.
2. Yes, most certainly, lack of sleep and stress can aggravate the issue.
3. No way! Doctors can not prove it unless they do holter or fortuitously it shows in EKG done at the time of arrhythmia. If you do not report anything it is unlikely they will find anything on their own with the exceptions written above.
4. Most difficult to answer is to describe negative side of it. Ninety nine percent chances are that you will live a normal life to its fullest barring an odd episode or two. Almighty had built enough safety mechanisms in human body. On the other hands, say you have an episode while driving the resulting loss of control of vehicle can be dangerous- a remote but real possibility chances of which are not more than chances of your otherwise loosing control of car but you would blame it on the episode. I hope I have made myself clear. Incidentally, this also describes the worst case scenario, medically. Worst case scenario your job wise, I leave for you to decide based on answers to question no 1-3. If there is anything where I failed to make myself clear, you may ask again, I will try to clarify. Good Luck.
With Best Wishes
Dr Anil Grover,
Medical Specialist & Cardiologist
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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