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What causes heart murmur, irregular heart beats, dizziness and insomnia?

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Posted on Mon, 1 Aug 2016
Question: I have an occasional heart murmur, which feels more like my heart skips a beat. I have had it periodically where I am aware of it at times since my early twenties, with many years between episodes of not being aware of it. I am now 45 and this most recent episode began a couple of weeks ago. I am aware of the skipping beats and it has caused a slight dizziness at times. It often feels worse at night, making it difficult to fall asleep, though after a good night's sleep, it improves greatly. I was told a long time ago that it was a benign condition, but I'm wondering if it is something I should be worried about now. I am trying to lose weight, have decent blood pressure, though I do smoke, which I have been doing for about 10 years. I'm trying to quit and only smoke about 6 cigarettes a day now. Thanks for any advice. If it persists, I will see my doctor--have just been putting it off due to a tight work schedule.
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (37 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Time to have this evaluated.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

There are benign murmurs, but a murmur is different from a skipped beat or premature ventricular contraction, which feels like the heart gave a leap or a thump.

There are benign arrhythmias too, which don't give any symptoms other than occasional brief heart thumping, skipping, or racing. But when there are other symptoms such as dizziness that accompany the heart arrhythmia, then it needs to be looked into.

So - you should see your doctor soon. Your doctor will do an EKG (which records your rhythm only for a brief time) and probably will also want you to have a holter monitor test, which records your heart rhythm over a period of time (such as 24 hours - you wear it), an echo cardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart) and possibly a stress test.

If your heart skip sensation is also accompanied by chest pain or pressure, you should go to the ER immediately.

I am glad you are making lifestyle changes (they all sound positive) and have cut down on cigarettes. You might want to talk with you doctor for help with quitting and staying off cigarettes. I've had success with patients taking Zyban (wellbutrin) for smoking cessation, but it can make people a little shaky feeling at first so it might be best to hold off on considering that until after you get the heart symptom sorted out.

Get plenty of rest if possible too.

If stress is a significant factor right now, talk with your doctor about that, as higher levels of stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol) can exacerbate the heart skipped beat problem, and dizziness too. But still get your heart evaluated.

I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3138 Questions

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What causes heart murmur, irregular heart beats, dizziness and insomnia?

Brief Answer: Time to have this evaluated. Detailed Answer: Hello and welcome, There are benign murmurs, but a murmur is different from a skipped beat or premature ventricular contraction, which feels like the heart gave a leap or a thump. There are benign arrhythmias too, which don't give any symptoms other than occasional brief heart thumping, skipping, or racing. But when there are other symptoms such as dizziness that accompany the heart arrhythmia, then it needs to be looked into. So - you should see your doctor soon. Your doctor will do an EKG (which records your rhythm only for a brief time) and probably will also want you to have a holter monitor test, which records your heart rhythm over a period of time (such as 24 hours - you wear it), an echo cardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart) and possibly a stress test. If your heart skip sensation is also accompanied by chest pain or pressure, you should go to the ER immediately. I am glad you are making lifestyle changes (they all sound positive) and have cut down on cigarettes. You might want to talk with you doctor for help with quitting and staying off cigarettes. I've had success with patients taking Zyban (wellbutrin) for smoking cessation, but it can make people a little shaky feeling at first so it might be best to hold off on considering that until after you get the heart symptom sorted out. Get plenty of rest if possible too. If stress is a significant factor right now, talk with your doctor about that, as higher levels of stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol) can exacerbate the heart skipped beat problem, and dizziness too. But still get your heart evaluated. I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information.