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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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I feel a kind of fluttering in my chest and I can feel it beat heavy.

hello, every now and then i feel a kind of fluttering in my chest and i can feel it beat heavy. it keeps fluttering and i can feel this-its horrible. i was wondering if this is dangerous and what causes it. thanks
Sat, 12 Dec 2009
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See a doctor for goodness sakes!!!;
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doctor1 MD

i feel like my heart is fluttering and i get this heavy feeling through my chest and through my sinuses like my breath is being taken away it only happens when i am stressed and ever since i gave birth to my daughter she is now five months and it happens for a couple weeks then stops then creeps up again i just want to know whats going on

doctor1 MD

Hello Dr Samuel, I have scoured the internet and found the usual explanations for my symptoms and have made an appointment to see a doctor but am still concerned. Over the past 7 years I have been experiencing chest symptoms that have gradually become more severe. On the left-side, localized to where the nipple is and slightly under it, I get severe pressure with palpitations followed by a kind of deflating feeling. It continues the whole day and sometimes for weeks. I try to focus on something else otherwise I become very anxious. Usually, at most this feeling continues for 3 days, but I have been suffering with this for the past month now with a few hours of relief. My chest becomes super heavy and empty at the same time with intense fluttering flip flops. It is the strangest feeling. And now on top of that, since about 6 months, I wake up with shoulder pain on the right side. I usually feel all these symptoms either upon waking, sometimes after a meal or occasionally if I smoke . But more often that not, I wake up with them and they last the whole day. Every once and a while I will take a nap and they will disappear suddenly. Thanks for any insight. I really appreciate it.

doctor1 MD

Hi. For the past five years i have had intermittent episodes of fluttering/vibration/wobbling feeling in my chest near the left apex. It lasted for more than six months the first time and was bad enough that it extended throughout my circulation and i could feel the blood moving left AND right between my shoulderblades (both lying down and when i walked). The vibration is felt not imagined but did not show up anything abnormal on an ECHO (private as my doc would not refer me) except mild mitral leakage. After seventeen doctors i met a locum who detected a systolic murmur and prescribed proprnalol 120 mg daily for prophylactic reasons. I stayed on this for about a year and the internal wobbling/vibration very slowly dissipated (i quit my very high stress job and was in bed for most of the year) and eventually the symptoms disappeared completely. I reduced the propranalol down to 40 mg a day and then was able to stay off it for a year. But every six months or so, the wobble comes back (it is a shaking inside which is autonomous and i have no control over it. It is almost like a bad caffeine reaction which won t turn off but it s not a racing heartbeat; just a very strange regular vibration like the ascending aorta is bouncing up and down very slightly). The propranalol helps with anxiety but if the vibration gets really bad, i double and triple the dose and, normally, the vibration gets killed off over a few weeks and i can drop the dose back down to 40 mg. Sometimes i wonder if long-term use of Propranalol is actually causing the vibration; but apparently there is NO data on this available in spite of the drug having been FDA-approved for more than 60 years (rather strange?). Since Propranalol makes your heart think it doesn t have to work so hard especially under stress, it makes me wonder what happens if you have a true underlying structural or mechanical problem; obviously, Propranalol will only mask any real cause. After fighting this for more than five years i am tired. Recently, my work has been extremely stressful (the environment is like that of an extremely busy Air Traffic Control) and my Mother passed away from cancer; but i was forced to travel 12500 km (twice) last year and this year to help her as she deteriorated, and i had to do it practically alone. A few weeks ago, the vibrations started again. They begin with a repetitive cycling and last all day; they get worse when i lie down and it takes hours for them to almost dissapear (but they do not unless i take 3x40 mg Propranalol at once)...when i turn on my left side to sleep, they get much worse and it is like there is a (loud) heavy rumbling inside my chest. They begin when i am asleep and often wake me up; and appear to be caused by sleep apnea which i was diagnosed with in 2005. But i refused to use CPAP as i felt i could never get used to it (and i only had one apnea episode lasting 1 minute and my oxygenation was normal; but i was asked to fork out $1000 for a machine and i felt i could do better). I do believe sleep apnea has contributed to a very mild structural defect which i probably have in the mitral valve; but the current situation would appear to indicate that i do not need any serious intervention (and i definitely do not want any...this is a very risky area to get involved in and in any case, i can t afford $25,000 for a mitral repair). However, i worry that over time, this vibration is indicating clearly that i have a growing (and i use the word literally) underlying internal heart problem or circulatory/pulmonary valve issue which should have early intervention. But the current status quo in the West indicates that i will be always treated as a head case or anxiety case and left to deal with this alone. That is highly disconcerting. The only thing i can think of is to get a new ECHO again (costs me $500 each time) and compare the numbers with those from the one i had a year ago; and a chext X-Ray to check shape and size. I really understand now (as i did not before) the dangers of premature/unnecessary intervention in the cardiac area; but i am also quite concerned that doing nothing will possibly exacerbate a real but untreated phsyical abnormality which is asking for treatment. I can afford insurance but i am concerned that i will be denied and in any event, do not ever want to have to undertake any kind of surgery if at all possible. Note: i am a smoker of about 2 years and have been cutting back (less than 1/2 a pack a day). But the smoking actually seems to improve the fluttering...and i don t drink much caffeine or use drugs. Any suggestions as to how to eliminate this condition?