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What causes popping sensation in my diaphragm and severe ectopic heartbeats after eating?

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Practicing since : 2004
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Hi In approx. 2010 while on holiday in XXXXXXX Lanka, I started to notice severe ectopic heartbeats following eating. I am a fit 46 year old woman. Weight 9st,12lb. Regular exercise. No pain associated with this. It became quite unbearable over the last couple of years where I was sent to A&E for ecg twice (heart scan too which was fine). I explained that I only experienced this while I was digesting food. I was referred to a gastric specialist last year who didn't bother looking inside because "I wasn't passing blood from anywhere and that NICE guidelines say no blood no camera". he said I had indigestion. I have tried pretty much everything on the market for indigestion but nothing worked. PPI's don't work either. I don't get acid reflux. I eat a healthy diet and have tried for 9 months to eliminate certain foods but no patterns emerged. I have been taking Chinese herbs for 9 months and they helped a lot. I am now taking some suppliments like Magnesium, vit B, aloe vera juice which shorten the bouts a lot. I have a popping sensation in my diaphragm sometimes when I breath in and out and an ache in upper left quadrant for a day or so prior to these bouts (which can last weeks and then settle for weeks). Its annoying more than anything. I am not suffering from GAD or anything like that. I am a Counselling Psychologist for NHS. I have lost complete faith in my GP who informed me that my symptoms were common in babies. I have no idea what that means. I am much more improved now however not symptom free. Any thoughts would be great thank you.
Posted Tue, 4 Feb 2014 in Heart Rate and Rhythm Disorders
Answered by Dr. Saumya Mittal 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Few queries Detailed Answer: Hello. I am Dr Saumya Mittal. First and foremost, my apologies how the doctors have troubled you. I will like to ask you some questions. You said that this ectopic heart beat happened when eating. First i would like to know from you, what exactly do you mean by an ectopic heart beat? And second, how long after eating did it happen? At the cost of sounding overcautious, did these ectopics happen when walking, running or in any other activity? You said an ecg was done that was apparently normal. Was a holter monitoring ever done? Holter is like a 24 hour ecg recording. Were your electrolyte levels ever checked. I would also like to know all the medicines you are having, and all the medical and surgical issues you ever had. And frankly, answer this truthfully. Do you think you are an anxious person? Are you a type A personality? I will try to help you. Please try to understand that your case was undiagnosed by doctors who were seeing you, while this is only online and I cannot examine you. So I would like to have the answers to these queries before I go further. If possible, please upload those ecgs as well. Hoping to hear from you soon.
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Follow-up: What causes popping sensation in my diaphragm and severe ectopic heartbeats after eating? 23 minutes later
Good Evening. Thank you for your reply. When I was sent to Accident and emergency it was following my routine smear test. I had eaten lunch and asked the nurse to have a check. I did have a 24 hour monitor on and I went to work as usual and then gym in the evening. The result came back as normal. I had a heart echo test also. This was also normal. I was told that they were 'ectopic beats', an added beat? The happens after a meal sometimes during and can last for about half an hour sometimes longer. I must say though that when I burp, it lessens. I don't consider myself a Type A personality. I have moderate stressors at work obviously, being a psychologist I manage high risk clients sometimes. generally though I enjoy my job and people I work with. I sleep well etc. I only take vitamin B, magnesium and aloe vera juice. I do not take medication for anything. I had a shoulder arthroscopy in 2010 (decompression surgery). This is fine if I don't over do it in the gym. I have not had any other significant surgery. wisdom teeth extraction at 19yrs. Other than this annoying symptom I am fairly healthy. Thank You Ann XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Saumya Mittal 6 hours later
Brief Answer: suggesting tests Detailed Answer: Thank you for your response XXXXXXX Now it seems you have had a Holter monitoring suggestive of ectopics. Most common cause of developing such ectopics is an electrolyte imbalance. So I would suggest you have them checked. I also would suggest meeting a cardiologist to have a look at the Holter monitoring, and probably start you on some rate stabilizing medicine, like maybe a betablocker or amiodarone. I may also suggest a thyroid profile, depending on the body profile. Thyroid disorders can be bothersome when undetected. I would suggest we talk again with the reports. As before I would request you to upload the ecg and the holter report. Best of luck Dr Saumya Mittal
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Follow-up: What causes popping sensation in my diaphragm and severe ectopic heartbeats after eating? 4 hours later
Hi. I have had full bloods carried out on two occasions that i was in accident and emergency and they were clear. Tested for h.pylori, clear and ceoliacs disease. All come back fine. Cardiologist said heart was fine when i went for result of echo and holter. I dont have results. We are not given those in the uk. Just to add. I was told i could not have beta blocker because although the heart was irregular after food it isnt fast. About 62 beats per minute. It never races fast whilevthis happens.
Answered by Dr. Saumya Mittal 38 minutes later
Brief Answer: Here is what I think it is- Detailed Answer: Hello XXXXXXX Recieved you response to the query. Now this was a new piece of information that you develop a low heart rate. I would agree that beta blockers should be avoided. I don't think you have gastritis, and I definitely don't think that you need antianxiety drugs. I would like to know one thing, not that I know that you are from UK. Do you use a napkin (tied to neck) when you eat? Or wear some clothes that are tight towards your neck? The reason I ask this is because I feel that you have "carotid sinus hypersensitivity". Now what exactly is that? Carotid sinus is a small structure in the neck in the carotid artery in the neck. What it usually does is that it monitors the blood pressure in the body. And sends signals accordingly to the brain to regulate the blood pressure. Now it is well known, that any pressure on the neck, often by even tight collared clothes causes it to send signals to the brain, causing the heart to slow down. I think this is what is happening. Unfortunately there is no safe way to test this. However, now that you know what this is, I think you can think back yourself if such is the case. Any pressure on the neck- napkin, tight collar, tight shirt that presses on your neck if you bend forwards to eat- can cause this. The best way to avoid this is to avoid tight clothes. The other possible option that may be happening is that when you eat, the intestines take away the blood from the rest of your body. This may in turn trigger the similar response as in "carotid sinus hypersensitivity" and eventually cause the heart to slow down. Again there is no safe way to test it. The tilt table test is present, but only few neurophysicians attempt it. However, the solution is again simple. After you have finished, assuming that the problem happens after meals, don't get up immediately. Relax, wiggle your toes before you get up, and have plenty of fluids. Better still, if possible, do not get up at all, and sit with your legs raised for some time, like in bed. The idea is to switch the blood from legs to the intestines. I am sure this will help . Would like to help you further if you have any further queries. Best of luck. Dr Saumya Mittal.
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Follow-up: What causes popping sensation in my diaphragm and severe ectopic heartbeats after eating? 3 hours later
Good Morning. Thank you very much for your reply. This is very interesting. As I said before I have found much improvement in symptoms over the last couple of months. its very unpredictable. I shall try your suggestions. Thanks again. Have a nice day. Best Wishes XXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Saumya Mittal 2 minutes later
Brief Answer: Best of luck Detailed Answer: Best of luck Heal well XXXXXXX Have a good day Dr Saumya Mittal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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