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Thread: Arrhythmia and Acid Reflux

  1. #1
    Karlynn Guest

    Default Arrhythmia and Acid Reflux

    For about a month now I have had frequent PVC's and PAC's. I'm fairly certain they are related to my digestion. In the past, any time I'd eat too much, or get an upset stomach I would get a bit tachy and have PVC/PAC's. My heart has always been sensitive to arrhythmias and I do get them from time to time. The last few months I've begun to wonder if I'm now having acid reflux issues. Lots of burping, uncomfortableness in my stomach, and it may sound strange but that kind of feeling you get in your stomach when you feel anxious. I've noticed that I'm feeling this way at the time the PAC's (or whatever) are occurring. I've looked up "Arrhythmia and GERD/acid reflux" and many people report that they do get arrhythmia when their GERD is acting up, but say that doctors are hesitant to say there is a connection. I'm almost certain it's a connection with me and was wondering if anyone else has this experience.

    I know - I plan on going to see my PCP if it continues. But I'm waiting for a week or so. My mentally disabled brother has been here for a visit and he takes a lot of attention because of his OCD and that's really stressful. The last month or so has also been very hectic. Next week should be normal - so I'm going to see if it settles down before I go in.

  2. #2
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    I know that post op they had me on prilosec otc. Maybe you could pick some up and just see if it makes a difference. Couldn't hurt i imagine.

  3. #3
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    I bet the whole thing is related to you being more anxious and/or slightly more stressed the last month or so.
    My Mom and I have always had stress go right to our stomachs.
    Once your brother's visit is over, don't be shy to spend some time on yourself for a few days. You deserve it :-)
    BAV-Aortic Stenosis...AVR Oct 11, 2005 / St.Jude Regent mechanical 21mm
    INR Home testing since 2007 with Coaguchek XS...Self-Dosing

    "Caution: I may have been in contact with Nuts"

  4. #4
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    I have the same theory about my palpitations. See, there's the vagus nerve right there in the stomach's spincter that runs along the esopghagus. If that thing is stimulated it can spark a plethora of symptoms that definitely effect the heart.

    When I started to be aware of what foods caused my heart burn the palpitations slowly diminished. That's not to say I still don't get them for what seems like no reason.

    In the living room.

    "If something is going to affect your life, it's best to know as much as you can about it." -Donald Trump

    I am not a doctor or a medical professional! Always check with your doctor before acting on any information that doesn't come from your doctor.

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  5. #5
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    I was also going to mention the vagus nerve. By the way, AaronJ, I love all the great diagrams you insert into your posts!!!
    Mitral valve repair & maze procedure - October 20, 2005 - Montreal Heart Institute
    A-Fib - August 2005
    Endocarditis - 2004

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrienne View Post
    I was also going to mention the vagus nerve. By the way, AaronJ, I love all the great diagrams you insert into your posts!!!
    Thanks Adrienne. I'm just trying to share knowledge in the most effective way. Sometimes I might be completely wrong when I post something, but I at least try to support it with examples/exhibits/citations. I'm also used to posting on a very notorious imageboard where posting images is just what people do.

    As far as the reflux thing, I have confirmed mild esophageal erosion. You can see it in this pic. I'm almost positive the green marks the stomach sphincter where the esophagus meets the stomach. The other pictures I have of my colonoscopy/EGD scope are not PG 13. Don't click the pic if you're squeamish.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In the living room.

    "If something is going to affect your life, it's best to know as much as you can about it." -Donald Trump

    I am not a doctor or a medical professional! Always check with your doctor before acting on any information that doesn't come from your doctor.

    If you have/had an aneurysm, please answer my poll here:

  7. #7
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    In my arrhythmia experiences, 2 out of three of them I had substernal
    pain,(right in the upper pit of my stomach) that came and went immediately. The pain was in the mod-severe range and only lasted about 5-6 seconds.
    I had no reflux with it and had not been eating. I have been curious as to
    which comes first; is it the arrhythmia causing the reflux(or pain) , or is
    the eating and or reflux triggerring the arrhythmia(?) It could be that it
    was the vagal nerve(as Aaron said) being affected by the onset of the arrhythmia which lastly causes the reflux. But that still doesnt explain why
    this is occurring when you eat a meal.
    Also,from what I remember doesn't the vagus nerve cause a parasympathetic
    reaction, or do I have that backwards
    Karlynn, I hope this goes away soon, or you find an easy
    solution, my best--Dina
    Tricuspid Valve Replacement(Bovine)2/4/08
    A.Flutter x 3,with 2 ablations & cardioversion 2007
    "A little learning is a dangerous thing..."-by Alexander Pope

  8. #8
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    I have never noticed arrhythmias with acid reflux. All of the sudden everyone has acid reflux, including me. Good luck.
    Deb
    Coincidence is Gods way of remaining anonymous.
    AVR 7-6-07 Bovine Pericardial Valve. Akron City Hospital Ablation 6/08, Akron City Hospital

  9. #9
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    Karlynn,
    It sounds a lot like what happened to me for several months earlier this year.
    The difference is I was being treated for acid reflux for about two and a half years using Nexium. After going thru every test known to man (including some I never even heard of) I stopped taking the Nexium after doing a lot of research. Surprise. My gas and bloating went away and so did all those skipped beats.
    I hope you get some answers because I'm well aware how uncomfortable it can be.
    The only thing I would caution you about is if a doctor put you on something like Nexium, watch your INR.
    Don't get me wrong, the Nexium did cure my problem with GERD, but Astra Zeneca recommends taking it for 4-8 weeks, not years.

    Rich
    Rich
    AVR 7-29-96
    St. Jude Mechanical
    Wm. Beaumont Hospital
    Royal Oak,Mi.
    Dr. Paul Clancy

    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away"
    Geo. Carlin

  10. #10
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    Karlynn,
    My brother had a mitral valve replacement in Sept '06. He had a bout of a-fib soon after his surgery. Time went by and he was fine then he went through another bout with a-fid. He has a physical job and he mentioned to me he was not eating breakfast and lunch because his stomach felt really full and uncomfortable. I was surprised because I didn't associate stomach issues with a-fib. This full uncomfortable sensation went away when he got his a-fib resolved.
    Mitral Valve Prolapse/Regurgitation
    MV Repair, Port Access, 02/21/07 by Dr William Ryan, Presby Hosp, Dallas

  11. #11
    Bridgette Guest

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    Every time I got AF in the past, I would feel totally nauseous and also feel like there was wind trapped in my chest or something (if that makes sense) that caused a sharp pain, so I would take Enos or Quick Eze etc to try and make me burp....
    Actually, I couldn't stand the thought of food when I was in AF.

  12. #12
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    Yep. Matter of fact, that's how my valve problem was discovered. Irregular heartbeats caused by GERD. Before my surgery, (and even now) I started taking 2 zantac a day. As long as I do this, no skipped beats, unless I get a stomach virus or something not controled by zantac. I asked my cardio about why. He said the heart often rests against the stomach, so when it's aggravated, it sometimes affects the heart.

  13. #13
    Karlynn Guest

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    Well, I'm heading to my PCP on Wednesday. I took Prilosec for 2 weeks (because that's what the OTC package says you do - it doesn't talk about long-term use) and after about 3 days on it my gas and reflux settled down and I stopped having the arrhythmias. My last dose was Saturday morning. We went out to eat with friends that night, I had a beer and a half, and too much to eat (my friends insisted we share a fried Twinkie - wish I hadn't!!!). I woke up about 3 Sunday with an upset stomach and....yes... arrhythmia (the usual PAC or PVC's). I thought maybe it would settle down again but it seems to have just aggravated the issues and now I seem to be back to square one - burping, slight burning, PVC/PAC's.

    So I'm pretty sure my question is answered: the chicken (gastric issues) come before the egg (arrhythmia). Now we'll see what my PCP wants to do as far as management.

    And an FYI for warfarin users - the Prilosec did not affect my INR.

  14. #14
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    Karlynn,

    Did you try TUMS, or Rolaids, or Zantac, or any other Fast-Acting antacid to supplement the Prilosec?

    GERD patients (and some Radiation Treatment survivors) are often on Prilosec (or Nexium) for YEARS (or Forever???) unless / until they get a Fundoplication (doesn't sound like FUN to me!...) where they do surgery to wrap the upper part of the stomach around the Lower Esophageal Sphincter. It was a popular recommendation several years ago. Haven't heard much about it lately.

  15. #15
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    I'm thinking it could have been the beer that started this. My SO has acid reflux (but no arrhythmia) and beer plus the meds don't mix.
    Laughter is the Best Medicine

    MVR March 30/07 Carbomedics Valve - Said and done in 5 days - Shocked & Dumbfounded
    I've learned..That to ignore the facts does not change the facts

  16. #16
    Karlynn Guest

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    Thought I'd post an update.

    I did go to see my PCP. He felt it was a "sour stomach", maybe not GERD because I don't get the burning in my throat. He ordered a gallbladder u.s. which came back negative. That surprised me to no end, as I've felt I've had gallbladder issues from time to time. He also wanted me to get an endoscopy and had me go see a GI doc. Since I'm turning, cough, 50 soon, he also wanted me to get a colonscopy.

    By the work of angels and miracle do-ers, I actually got in to see the GI doc that same day for a consult because someone had just called and canceled. Otherwise, I would have had a 4 week wait.

    My insurance doesn't cover routine colonoscopies so we discussed whether I could wait a bit on the endoscopy. After telling the doc how Prilosec seemed to help for a while, until I stopped the 2 week course, he told me to take it daily and if in 2 weeks I was still having the stomach issues and the PVC's that we should go ahead with the endo.

    I thought for sure I was going to head back in because the Prilosec didn't seem to be working - until about 10 days after taking it again.

    So now I'm taking daily Prilosec. The stomach seems to be fine and the arrhythmia has resumed to my normal "occasional" blips.

    I might as well still have them do the endo when I go in after my birthday for the colonoscopy, but I think problem is solved.

    So - the moral of this story - even thought I could find no official medical information that the vagus being irritated causes arrhythmia - I'm certain it does.

    Thanks for the help on this issue!

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    Karlynn,
    This reminds me of my problems earlier this year. Severe gas and bloating which caused my heart to skip 24/7.
    It was long term use of Nexium which caused this even the doctors were not sure. Once I stopped it all symptoms went away, but it did take about two and a half months. I lost eight pounds and two inches on my waist size.
    After a lot of research I found that these meds kill the bad bacteria which causes problems like acid reflux. Unfortunately it also kills the good bacteria in our digestive systems. I am certainly no expert and am only relating my personal experience. Consider a pro-biotic or just eat yogurt, either will restore the good bacteria in your system.
    For those on or considering Nexium be aware it can cause a lot of problems with ones INR. I had to increase my dosage by over twenty percent once the Nexium was completely out of my system. Also understand that Astra-Zeneca recommends taking Nexium for 4-8 weeks only. The longest study they have done is 12 months. Beyond that they do not know what effects may happen with long term usage. I know some have been on it for years including myself.
    If anyone wants to see a list of potential side effects from long term usage let me know and I will post it. It is VERY long to say the least.

    Rich
    Rich
    AVR 7-29-96
    St. Jude Mechanical
    Wm. Beaumont Hospital
    Royal Oak,Mi.
    Dr. Paul Clancy

    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away"
    Geo. Carlin

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