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Arrhythmia?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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hypoxiajunkie

New Member
May 14, 2004
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I have noticed, every now and then, that my heart will skip a beat (just stop beating) for less than a second.

This only happens when I go to sleep.

It does not happen often at all.

My mom has sleep apnea. But I don't think my family has any heart disease.

So: is this an arrhythmia? It does not hurt. No chest pain no arm pain. But I do take -very- careful breaths for a half second or two afterward.

It worries me a bit though. This did not happen before doing apnea swimming - but my max depth is only 7 meters and my dynamic no fins is only 68m, static to 5 min.

Any ideas? (other than see a doctor)
 

feign

Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2003
460
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Sounds like this could be a PVC or premature ventricular contraction of the heart. They are usually a benign occurance and happen in basically every normal person every so often. What happens is an ectopic ventricular depolarization of the heart occurs (sometimes can be felt by the individual as a palpitation) and then there is a compensatory pause in the heart rhythm afterwards (would seem like a missed heart beat).

There are a number of things that can cause them to occur or occur more frequently including: hypoxia, caffeine, smoking, alcohol, cocaine, low potassium levels.

These PVC's are only a real concern if they are a result of serious heart pathology such as a cardiomyopathy or in a "heart attack". In these cases they would be occuring very frequently though, such 10-20 times per minute for example. In these cases where the heart electical signals are disturbed due to damage or change to the heart muscle, a PVC is capable of "setting off" a fatal arrhythymia, such as ventricular tachycardia.

In summary, you are likely fine and totally normal. Maybe in your case these are being encouraged by caffeine use or sleep apnea for example? Either way, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it to make sure everything is ok and if you are at risk for something like sleep apnea it would be worth looking into because that problem has some long term health implications. Take care,

Lee
 
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hypoxiajunkie

New Member
May 14, 2004
52
2
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Well there is definitely no palpitation (fluttering of heart). Just that my heart will stop, and then start a half second (or so) later.

Happily I don't use coffee, cocaine, alcohol, tobacco. I am a vegetarian so maybe low potassium (in bananas, right?). I do a lot of hypoxia though. :D
 

Bill

Baron of Breathold
Oct 17, 2001
1,805
332
188
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I'm glad Lee stepped in with a better answer than I could give. In case you're still worried, I first noticed 'skipped beats' about 55 years ago. The more I train, the more I notice them. Every doctor that I mentioned this to, asked me a few questions and told me that they are fairly common.
Still a good idea to talk to your doctor.
Aloha
Bill
 

feign

Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2003
460
54
118
Many people do not "sense" a PVC, therefore it is possible you may not feel anything other than notice the compensatory pause after it as if your heart stops momentarily.
 

andrsn

Just visiting...
Aug 26, 2001
1,213
75
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Hey everyone,

I've been having this problem quite frequently lately. I had an extremely traumatic experience happen to me a few weeks ago and it seems it has increased the frequency of these occurances.

My wife made me see a doctor to just get checked out for post traumatic stress something or other and the Dr's didn't like the EKG. One said it was normal but when I explained to them what I do and how anxiety, endorphins, adrenaline, etc make this more intense they stressed my need to see a specialist.

I'm still trying to find one I can afford and that I trust(no insurance right now), but in the meantime it ain't getting any better. It happens about every 10 beats or so. Sometimes, the "compensatory" beat, as feign puts it, is so intense, it feels like it's knocking the wind out of me. It literally shakes my whole body.

I've beached myself for a while, or at least until I can see a specialist, but I'm still pretty freaked out day to day to say the least.

Andy
 
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samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
3,221
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I've also had trouble with this recently, just had ECGs and blood tests and they can't see any reason for it and apparently its fairly common - so I would say see a doc and check its nothing serious but once you know that, you might just have to live with it - its a lot less scary once someone has told you its not something you need to worry about too much though - and therefore it happens less (or at least seems like it does!)

S
 

roy_nexus_6

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2003
368
50
118
a few years ago after looking at my cardiogram my doc. told me that I have a slight arythmia (heart skipping a beat), when I told my doctor that I run marathons he said it's a common occurance among long distance runners and I have nothing to worry about.

Andy, what you are experiencing, isn't a blip on a cardiogram like my syptoms (I don't really feel anything), If this was happening to me, I would see a doctor as soon as possible.
 
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samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
3,221
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I finally got my arrhythmia diagnosed properly today - the third ECG they have done and this time it was really obvious - I have what they call an "Ectopic Heartbeat" (same as PVC) - like an extra big beat in the middle of lots of normal ones - bizarrely it is usually caused by alcohol, tobacco or caffeine consumptiom - I don't smoke, never touch caffeing and have had about half a bottle of wine in the last six months....

it is also a result of doing more exercise than usual... which does make sense as I have been working out a lot harder for the last couple of months..

but anyhow, he said I didn't need to worry about it, just get used to it (which is a bit much as it wakes me in the night and makes me jump when it happens!) and can happily carry on diving...

has anyone else had this? has it gone away?

mmmm...

sam
 

Merlin

New Member
Feb 28, 2005
264
50
0
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sam, Ive had it happen too but it was not a pattern. It has only happened a few times and has scared the beejeez out of me. I think must of the times is has happened I have been stressed out for a reason or another. They have also only happened while sleeping and they felt like a sudden panic attack that faded real quickly. My best bet is that they will go away eventually if your doc said not to worry about it.
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
2,334
410
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Sam, how bout shifting to a lower gear for a month or two? not rest, just cut the the training stress on your body, maybe you are slightly overtraining without knowing... you don't have much to lose...

If that doesn't work maybe more wine will. :)
 

AltSaint

Pipe and Flippers
Dec 29, 2002
380
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I had the same thing diagnosed in my early 30s. It calmed down a lot as I got older, and now I only experience it after too much alcohol / too little rest / overdoing cardiovascular training.
 

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
3,221
278
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ok mark....I will wait til I get old...

and a good excuse to take it a little easier perhaps....

s
 

kingohyes

New Member
Aug 17, 2003
233
28
0
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Dont worry, this is something I have experienced also in really tough training periods, but it does not follow a pattern, it just comes now and then.. Just take a small break and you will be fine :)
 

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
3,221
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btw had a load of checks done last week with a proper cardiologist - ECG, echocardiogram etc and ALL IS NORMAL!!!

He thinks I just overdid the training whilst I had a virus earlier in the year and beat my heart up a bit, but its all recovered.

Moral of the story - if you feel rough, take it easy until you feel lively again!

S
 

brasso

New Member
Jun 17, 2005
3
0
0
70
Sam,
Any updates on your arrhythmia?

Currently, I'm on all kinds of bad meds for arrhythmia - but have learned a few things along the way. Many good comments made over the last 2-3 years. I would only add the following:

1. A trace by an EKG will not detect it unless it happens during the few seconds of the test.
2. A 24 hr or 30 day monitor is likely required to capture what type, frequency and duration (My problem is atrial fib and atrial flutter)
3. Significant risk factor from poor sleeping quality - often caused by sleep apnea - either obstructive or central. Maybe this is more frequently a problem while training? I know I have dreamed many times of free and SCUBA diving and held my breath or breathed very shallow. Other risk factors ID'd are also real.
4. After having arrhythmia for a matter of months/years it becomes less noticeable - even if more severe.
5. Arryhthmias that cause your heart to pump inefficiently can cause symptoms of hypoxia. If you're hypoxic while diving (and have arryhthmia) shallow blackout is more likely.
6. Delay makes it worse, however medications are popular with cardiologists. Some help to regulate electrical signals, some slow them down (like beta blockers). My resting heart rate went from 72 to 35. Dive response with such a low baseline is not an option - so free diving is out for me until I can fix this. Other meds retard clotting of the blood to reduce the risk of strokes - blood can clot as it 'pools' inside the spastic heart chambers. When the heart pumps again, a large clot could be on it's way to a bad place.

Hope all is well
 

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
3,221
278
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mine went away with some rest and magnesium supplements. Turns out I just hurt my heart a little bit by over training whilst I had flu. Had ECGs and Echos and no last damage thank god! Sorry to hear abot your situation.

Sam
 

brasso

New Member
Jun 17, 2005
3
0
0
70
Glad to hear you're doing well. Keep it that way!

I believe that my situation is temporary - but keeps the snorkle away these days - ughh.

Thanks for the reply,
Guy
 
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