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Shortness of breath with racing heart rate. Medical test normal. Should I be worried?

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Practicing since : 1998
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About once to twice a year whilst cycling I get shortness of breath and the feeling of a racing heart. Today we were doing a 50 mile reliability and this occurred after about 30 miles of fast cycling. I had been doing a lot of work on the front and after this I had to hang in the pack for a few miles then afterwards I was fine again. I went to my doctor and had a blood test, an ECG and chest X-ray but everything came back ok. Most of the time when cycling everything is ok. Do I need to worry? I don't get tightness of the chest and if I'm climbing steep ascents everything is ok!

Best regards
Posted Sat, 23 Mar 2013 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Y V Siva Sankara Murty 2 hours later

Thanks for writing.

I very much appreciate your efforts and the ability to do long cycling.

Sudden onset of breathlessness with feeling of racing heart can be related to an arrhythmia of heart. I am glad that you met a cardiologist. You could discuss with him about using a Holter machine while cycling - we could record your heart rate at the time of your symptoms to easily rule out arrhythmia.

The second possibility is a normal physiology - straining hard while fast cycling increases oxygen demand. Heart pumps hard to cope up with this demand resulting in uncreased heart rate and breathlessness. This settles down when you take a rest.

At this moment it would be hard to predict which of these two - normal and abnormal event caused your symptoms. Holter test can clarify our doubts. Discuss with your cardiologist.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have other concerns.

Take care.

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