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What causes fluttering feeling in the chest?

Answered by
Dr. Abhishek Kapoor


Practicing since :2007

Answered : 2496 Questions

Posted on Thu, 14 Aug 2014 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: what causes a fluttering, shaking feeling in the chest (left side) upon awakening? I also get a lot of fluttering that I'm not sure is my heart or can gas cause it? I am on Bystolic .05 mg because it was prescribed by my doctor (started on it Feb. 27, 2014). I don't believe it has helped the fluttering. I tried to go off the Bystolic for 9 days and experienced skipped heart beats, sometimes as much as 1 every minute. When I went back on Bystolic, I didn't experience skipped beats anymore. But for years I've experienced the heart flutters and if I lay on my right side, they for sure will begin. I am also on Levothyroxine since I was 45 years old. I take .50 mg Mon.Wed.Fri and .75 mg Sat.Sun,Tues.Thurs. It seems that when I'm active I don't experience the fluttering, it always comes on when I'm at rest. Sometimes when I awake in the morning I will feel a weird shaking in my chest also.
Answered by Dr. Abhishek Kapoor 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Get your ECG or ECHO done

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for using healthcare magic. I, Dr Abhishek Kapoor, would help you in this query.

Your main symptoms is flutters. It could be part of anxiety or cardiac ailment or hypothyroidism. In that case, first get your ECG or ECHO done. That would help to rule out any underline cardiac problem. If it comes normal, then it would be due to anxiety or hypothyroidism. In that case, you can try propranolol and antidepressant like paroxetine. That would help to control such symptoms. If these symptoms are due to thyroid dysfunction, then it would be resolved with thyroxine. You can also try some benzodiazepine on sos basis. Your doctor will know about it.

If you have more query, you can ask.

Dr. Abhishek Kapoor
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nalaparaju
Follow up: Dr. Abhishek Kapoor 18 hours later
I had an Electrocardiogram done on 2/11/14 and it was normal. I saw a cardiologist on March 5 - he reviewed my past history and decided that with what he learned about my past and the same recurrence of heart palpitations over & over, I didn't have a heart problem- He prescribed the Bystolic .05 mg which I began taking the end of February 2014.

In the past I've been to the ER many times with fast heart rate and heart palpitations. The diagnosis was always Anxiety.

My questions to you are:
"Is Bystolic suppose to help with the palpitations?" And if so, why isn't it helping?

"Is quivering in the chest, over the heart, anxiety related also"?

"Could a slow heart rate cause the shaking feeling upon awakening?"

"Bystolic has caused my heart rate to become much slower, like 58 - 60 beats per minute, should I be concerned?"

I don't think I'm hypothyroid because I had my Thyroid levels checked on Mar. 4, 2014 and the test came back normal, so I believe the medication I'm taking is sufficient.

How is an ECHO test different than and ECG?

I would not want to go on benzodiazepine because I have a niece who was on it for a year and it didn't help her, she had bad side afffects; and now she is trying to wean off which is very difficult for her.

Is the fluttering I experience dangerous? Should I be concerned or let it go because I can live with it if it isn't anything to worry about.?????

I guess there are 6 questions (above) I'd like answered.
Answered by Dr. Abhishek Kapoor 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
You can try antidepressant

Detailed Answer:

I think, you have anxiety disorder and this may be the reason, you are getting palpitation. In your case, you need different drug rather than Nebivolol. Nebivolol is anti-hypertensive drug and it control heart rate. That would be the reason, it decrease your heart rate below 60. Range for heart rate is 60 to 90 per minute. If it goes below 60, it could lead to hypotension. It could be dangerous. In your case, palpitation or flutter is due to anxiety and in anxiety induced flutter, anti-hypertensives do not work. To control that, you can try antidepressant like escitalopram or paroxetine. You can get your ECG done. It help to check heart rhythm. It is completely different form ECHO. ECHO helps to check any structural damage to heart and ECG helps to check any rhythm dysfunction.

You have anxiety induced flutter, so it is not dangerous. It could lead to some dysfunction in your personal life, but not to health. In that case, you should try some antidepressant if you do not want to take benzodiazepine.

I think, you have solved the query you have raised. In case, you have more, you can ask.

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

The User accepted the expert's answer

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