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Getting electrical sensations in chest before sleeping. Is this a sign of a serious condition?

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Practicing since : 1981
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I get these very strange electrical sensations at night before I fall asleep that originate in my chest and shoot to different parts of my body. They make my limbs jerk and when they shoot over my heart, it feels like a skipped heart beat.

It is the same feeling you get when somebody scares you. (that very nervous feeling in your stomach) but it is amplified x100 and it shoots to different parts of my body. It keeps me up for at least an hour every night before I finally fall asleep. They happen right as i close my eyes and begin to relax. I am completely awake, they do not happen as I am in transition from being awake to falling asleep. I am fully awake. They are very scary and it feels like the sensations are strong enough to stop my heart.

Is this a sign of a more serious condition? Is it progressive? Can it stop my heart beat? I am very scared. Please help

Thank You

Posted Fri, 27 Jul 2012 in Sleep Disorders
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 5 hours later
Hi there,

Thanks for writing in.
I am a qualified cardiologist and I read your question with diligence.
Let us come to skipped heart beats.
You have listened to mechanical clock beating tick tick tick and so on. Imagine yourself are hearing it in silent room with half concentration of its existence and other half reading a book. If one tick does not come after the perceived time that is skipped beat. Or one tick comes before time and there is pause longer than normal before the following tick that is also skipped beat. Human heart beats for about 72 times a minute meaning about 0000 (60x72x24) times in a day. It follows what is normal circadian rhythm of the body for example slower in night faster in day time. Also. as per of the body. When you run it beats faster. During this rhythmic run when it beats out of rhythm the condition is called arrhythmia. Well, arrhythmia, mostly benign, mostly physiological may be 1% of time that would translate to 1000 times a day. When we perceive it, we call it skipping of beat. Sensitive persons appreciate more, anxious persons appreciate more and relaxed happy go lucky type learn to ignore this normal phenomenon. In several studies it has been found arrhythmia is present in almost 90% of fetuses and neonates. Mostly benign. So, if you dont know how skipped beat feel like means what I explained above. XXXXXXX arrhythmia does occur, it is responsible for some patients of heart attack even not able to reach hospital. On EKG it manifests as conditions which need treatment in the form of drugs, pacemaker and at times intracardiac cardioverter defibrillpator. So, if one thinks of dangers only they are many but compared to prevalence of skipped beats in majority of population the proportion is small.
Coming to fluttering feeling in your chest. Do they come like bolt from blue and after some time stop as abruptly they start. Or you get fluttering feeling when you are running or walking fast. Did you ever keep your hand over where the fluttering feeling is? Is there cat's purring feeling. If any of the question you want clarification please write back, I will answer the followup query.
I was surprised at your worry of electrical sensations stopping heart. If you have studied physics then you will understand that the current at which heart operates is in 5-30 mili volts, it needs electrical energy of at least 50 joules on the chest to change its rhythm. But naturally you are some sort of arrhythmia during arrhythmia blood supply to various organ especially brain is affected therefore during the period you are getting arrhythmia you get plenty of nervous feeling in stomach shooting to various parts of body and inability to sleep. Yes, there would be associated tension. When it is over you relax.
If there is follow up query I will be happy to answer. One question I want to ask, do you get to sleep at all or there develops sleep deficit making you sleepy during day. Second question is your height and weight.
Looking forward to hear from you.

With Best Wishes.
Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D(Internal Medicine) D.M(Cardiology) http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
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