Heart Hiccups

DontGetTheCheese

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 22, 2015
146
92
I thought I’d share a ECG that caught something that, well, most of us have but most of us don’t notice: premature ventricular contractions (PVC). These are an extra beat but it feels like a missed beat or a heart hiccup. It’s a really weird thing and baring any major risk issue, they’re very much like a hiccup, benign, something that’s not easily fixed and annoying as bleep. They may also be driven by stress and these little bugger feed on themselves because it’s stressful having them.

I actually went to the ER, because while I’ve had them in the past, this time they kept on a coming. The ER EKG tagged it and everybody was like no worries dude, you are fine. Gonna see the cardiologist next week just to be sure and see if there’s anything I can do about them.

One of the ironies is that quitting caffeine may help them, but quitting caffeine can cause heart palpitations in some cases, along with headaches, and feeling sick.... Man, no fun for me but getting rid of cola can’t not be a positive.

It was easy to catch, they were firing a lot, so here you go. You won’t miss it.

ecg.png
 

steve knight

macrumors 68030
Jan 28, 2009
2,688
6,958
I have had that before. Now I have to wait till it happens again to test it. but for me it may only happen once in a great while. I always thought it was a missed beat but bit figured it was not after years of it.
 

hull22

macrumors member
Jan 16, 2011
67
36
Seattle, WA
PVCs are generally harmless, nothing to do about it. >99% of people have them if you look at 24hr heart monitors. Some people take meds to help with bothersome symptoms. Rarely do people end up having an ablation to treat them .
 

rugmankc

Contributor
Sep 24, 2014
2,145
631
They can be dangerous if you already have heart disease. I have had 2 heart attacks and a low ejection fraction with little left wall movement. I get 1-3 a minute. Mostly 1 or 2. Cardiologist said they don't worry too much about them till they reach 6 or more per minute. Magnesium can help. They do feel like a skipped heart beat. But, are an early beat and bc it was early and the next one is back in sync it feels like a missed beat. For most they are a non issue if your heart is healthy. But, as mentioned, I would see a doctor to be sure.

I haven't seen that specific looking spike on my EKG's with my S4. But, will keep an eye out. Mostly the chart is a little off early on like it is syncing in. I showed my EPS Cardiologist a few charts with that look and he didn't seemed concerned.

Bottom line is I am very thankful for the S4. I use it as a tool, not diagnosis. :)
 

Slimtrimkid

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2019
7
1
Thanks for posting about this. I’ve had mitral valve prolapse since 2008. I’ve seen a doctor and a specialist about it and they said it wasn’t a big issue. Recently, I moved from California to Texas and the move, along with other issues like depsression and anxiety, caused me to have more “skipped beats” than I normally do, so much so that a couple of days after last Xmas, I went into the ER really worried because I was having them every other beat for hours on end. After being looked at and spending almost the entire day in the hospital, the doctors told me that it was stress-induced PVC. I’d never heard of the condition before. Although, I get the early beats/hiccups all throughout the day, not every other beat right now, but frequent enough for me to notice, I haven’t been worrying about it too much, due to the fact that I don’t experience any issues like chest pain or dizziness. I exercise throughout the week without issue and at some point I think it’ll be good to see a specialist again, but it’s had no effect on my daily life. I just finished a five week therapy class and that’s helped immensely with my depression and anxiety which I’m sure were major triggers for the PVC. Anyway, I too own an Apple Watch 4 and will be monitoring my heart beat from here on out. Initially, when I bought it a month or so ago, i kept the heart functions off because I didn’t want to be alerted of any anomalies while I was attending my therapy and didn’t want to add any extra stress to my life while I was challenging myself through the classes. I just wanted to say thanks again for posting about this. I don’t know anyone with this heart condition other than myself and I have limited knowledge about it. It’s good to know that watch can detect it though. I appreciate you posting about this.
 
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DontGetTheCheese

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 22, 2015
146
92
I’ll see the cardiologist this week, he’ll tell me I’m fine, probably, and I’ll just confirm a couple of ideas that I have about it.

Mostly, they’re gone. I made two changes, gave up caffeine, and more potassium. As I was getting most of my caffeine from cola, I’ve freed up my diet for more potassium rich foods. I’m also taking a 600mg supplement which I’ll confirm with him is OK. Hyperkalimia is not a good thing either. For the record, the RDA for potassium is 4700mg, and based on my food intake I wasn’t even at half that. I’ve lost weight, no weird diets, but I was eating the same things every day because it was working and there wasn’t much potassium in it.

It was funny, Thursday night was really bad, seemed like they were non-stop, had a blow up at work to add to it, and they were ticking like crazy. That night I had taken my first supplement also and I was worried that had made it worse. Then, at about 11:30 it was quitting time. They just stopped and have stayed that way except for the occasional couple here and there. Yesterday, a nice day in these parts, was by far the best one I’ve had since they first appeared.
 
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harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,133
572
Oregon
Well don’t that beat all. I had no idea you were supposed to get that much potassium a day. I eat a banana, 2 cups of spinach, and some supplements in a shake. Apparently it adds up to about 1400.
 

DontGetTheCheese

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 22, 2015
146
92
Surprised me too. There’s more potassium in different foods than you think but it’s really easy to not get enough.

And, apparently I spoke too soon. Damn things been firing every so often this afternoon. Just a little bit of stress and away we go. Either this is more stressful than I think or I can’t handle any stress at all at this point.
 

RootBeerMan

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2016
1,320
5,028
Had the same thing many years ago. Went on a beta blocker called Atenolol for a year or two, (I did not give up caffeine) and they went away. I've had one or two over the years, but nothing like back then. Getting rid of the stress of having them was worth taking the meds.
 

Slimtrimkid

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2019
7
1
Hang in there. For me, it took me quite a while to adjust to it, but I t’s become a part of who I am today. As I mentioned before about the mitral valve prolapse, that’s when I first started experiencing irregular heart rhythms. It scared the crap out of me and I began to think that I’d have a heart attack at any moment, everyday. Now with PVC, I’m managing two issues causing my “hiccups.” I’m not in any way trying to say that the problems can’t be or won’t become more serious, but I try to leave the diagnosis’ to the doctors. However, reading a little bit about our conditions, it seems we can still lead active healthy lives. I’d never want to diminish what you’re experiencing, because I understand how alarming and bothersome it can be. And yes, stress seems to affect my condition as well, so I know what you’re feeling. In a strange way, over the years, it’s helped me appreciate life even more because when I sometimes feel that this condition is becoming more frequent and serious, it helps me value my time on earth just a little more. If it’s interfering with your life too much, keep up with those doctor appointments and in the meantime, I think you’re doing the right thing by keeping caffeine out of your daily routine and exercising and eating right. It’s funny how a topic on the Apple Watch could help connect us and open the door to dialogue about our common problem. Anyway, keep me posted on how things are going. PM me if you want anytime
 

dojoman

macrumors 68000
Apr 8, 2010
1,547
523
I’ve had PVC for more than a year. I’m on beta blocker it works if I take a low dosage 25mg. I once took 50mg and it causes more PVC in my case. Sometime the meds don’t work there’s something called breakthrough (not a good thing) where you will have persistent PVC throughout the day in a burst. Lately I’ve been taking potassium supplements and eating bananas seem to calm it down. You definitely need to cutback on Alcohol, caffeine, stress and sugar, they all seem to cause PVC for me.
 

Slimtrimkid

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2019
7
1
I’ve had PVC for more than a year. I’m on beta blocker it works if I take a low dosage 25mg. I once took 50mg and it causes more PVC in my case. Sometime the meds don’t work there’s something called breakthrough (not a good thing) where you will have persistent PVC throughout the day in a burst. Lately I’ve been taking potassium supplements and eating bananas seem to calm it down. You definitely need to cutback on Alcohol, caffeine, stress and sugar, they all seem to cause PVC for me.
All good advice. Thanks for chiming in man. Looks like it’s more common than I originally thought. Been eating bananas regularly myself. Gonna pick up some potassium supplements tomorrow morning too.
 

dfs

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2008
324
148
California
Let the heart doctor tell you if something is wrong and not the forum members here.

How much caffeine?
Been there, seen the movie, have the tee shirt. Yes, PVCs can by psychologically disturbing and pile another layer of stress on top of the stress that is very likely causing them in the first place. Mine were rather violent and felt like there was a tiny mule in my chest trying to kick its way out. Not good, hard not to obsess when that starts happening. For all the drama, mostly they're benign but occasionally they can be a sign of something more serious or create serious problems themselves.

Nowadays there's all sorts of great decaf coffee readily available, the Nescafe days are long gone and it no longer tastes like it's been strained through a dirty wooden floor. Ive never gotten around to giving up smoking my pipe but that hasn't caused any problems,. Your results of course may vary

So all the good people in this thread who are telling you you need to be seen by a doctor pronto are absolutely one hundred percent right. Mine put me on metaprolol tartarate (commercial name Lopressor), they went away immediately, I've never had a single damn one in 35+ years. If only all of life's problems were so easily solved!

Lopressor, by the way, is an interesting drug. It has the side effect of reducing micro-level muscular twitching, which is why the military reportedly issues it to snipers. And I would be anything but surprised to learn that it's a banned substance for appropriate Olympic events (dunno this true of other beta blockers as well). So if your hobby is forging passports or you have any other need for a particularly steady hand you might find that you're very grateful to be given the stuff. And, despite what you may hear, it has never interfered one bit with my love life. In my experience, anyway, there's absolutely no downside to taking a beta blocker once or twice a day.
 
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t76turbo

macrumors regular
Sep 20, 2012
220
243
I had exact same story as you. For some reason had them out of the blue. Started out occasionally then over a couple days they got more and more frequent to the point I was having them every 10 seconds.

I was worried and started cleaning out my drawers and closet of things I didn’t want my wife to have to deal with if I died. Eventually my wife came in and talked with me and I told her what was going on and she took me to the hospital.

Luckily I was told the same thing as you. Stress, caffeine, etc. they stopped that day or maybe the next and have only had them once in a blue moon since. No medication for them. Just less caffeine, and TRY to have less stress in my life.

I did go see a cardiologist just in case (at the urging of my mom) and he said the same thing as well.

Hope you are able to manage them on your own.
 

dojoman

macrumors 68000
Apr 8, 2010
1,547
523
Been there, seen the movie, have the tee shirt. Yes, PVCs can by psychologically disturbing and pile another layer of stress on top of the stress that is very likely causing them in the first place. Mine were rather violent and felt like there was a tiny mule in my chest trying to kick its way out. Not good, hard not to obsess when that starts happening. For all the drama, mostly they're benign but occasionally they can be a sign of something more serious or create serious problems themselves.

Nowadays there's all sorts of great decaf coffee readily available, the Nescafe days are long gone and it no longer tastes like it's been strained through a dirty wooden floor. Ive never gotten around to giving up smoking my pipe but that hasn't caused any problems,. Your results of course may vary

So all the good people in this thread who are telling you you need to be seen by a doctor pronto are absolutely one hundred percent right. Mine put me on metaprolol tartarate (commercial name Lopressor), they went away immediately, I've never had a single damn one in 35+ years. If only all of life's problems were so easily solved!

Lopressor, by the way, is an interesting drug. It has the side effect of reducing micro-level muscular twitching, which is why the military reportedly issues it to snipers. And I would be anything but surprised to learn that it's a banned substance for appropriate Olympic events (dunno this true of other beta blockers as well). So if your hobby is forging passports or you have any other need for a particularly steady hand you might find that you're very grateful to be given the stuff. And, despite what you may hear, it has never interfered one bit with my love life. In my experience, anyway, there's absolutely no downside to taking a beta blocker once or twice a day.
I'm taking the same drug, it also lowers blood pressure, slows down heart beat maybe that's why it's banned for Olympians?
 

hull22

macrumors member
Jan 16, 2011
67
36
Seattle, WA
So all the good people in this thread who are telling you you need to be seen by a doctor pronto are absolutely one hundred percent right. Mine put me on metaprolol tartarate (commercial name Lopressor), they went away immediately, I've never had a single damn one in 35+ years. If only all of life's problems were so easily solved!

Lopressor, by the way, is an interesting drug. It has the side effect of reducing micro-level muscular twitching, which is why the military reportedly issues it to snipers. And I would be anything but surprised to learn that it's a banned substance for appropriate Olympic events (dunno this true of other beta blockers as well). So if your hobby is forging passports or you have any other need for a particularly steady hand you might find that you're very grateful to be given the stuff. And, despite what you may hear, it has never interfered one bit with my love life. In my experience, anyway, there's absolutely no downside to taking a beta blocker once or twice a day.
Yes, you may not have felt another one in 35+years but more than likely metoprolol decreased them and made you not feel them as much. I would say that it's highly unlikely that you had 0 PVCs for 35+years. Most normal people have hundreds of them daily. Metoprolol doesn't make it go to zero, I'm sorry to tell you.

I wouldn't say there's no downside to taking beta-blockers. They often cause fatigue and yes, erectile dysfunction too. I can't claim that just because he experienced no side effects that it wouldn't cause it in someone else.

Beta-blockers are also used to treat essential tremor. I served in the Air Force. I highly doubt they're giving snipers medications that could potentially make them pass out.
 

ssledoux

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2006
1,629
896
Down south
I thought I’d share a ECG that caught something that, well, most of us have but most of us don’t notice: premature ventricular contractions (PVC). These are an extra beat but it feels like a missed beat or a heart hiccup. It’s a really weird thing and baring any major risk issue, they’re very much like a hiccup, benign, something that’s not easily fixed and annoying as bleep. They may also be driven by stress and these little bugger feed on themselves because it’s stressful having them.

I actually went to the ER, because while I’ve had them in the past, this time they kept on a coming. The ER EKG tagged it and everybody was like no worries dude, you are fine. Gonna see the cardiologist next week just to be sure and see if there’s anything I can do about them.

One of the ironies is that quitting caffeine may help them, but quitting caffeine can cause heart palpitations in some cases, along with headaches, and feeling sick.... Man, no fun for me but getting rid of cola can’t not be a positive.

It was easy to catch, they were firing a lot, so here you go. You won’t miss it.

View attachment 822931
I actually went to the ER with these when I was staying with my daughter in WA state last May. I was having a lot of anxiety because we were about to road trip from WA to Louisiana with a 3 week old (moving).

So while I absolutely wouldn’t tell you NOT to go to a dr, because you absolutely should, I will tell you that the ER doc recommended reducing or eliminating caffeine intake, and also taking a magnesium supplement (I take a supplement, and also do epsom salt baths also almost daily as a way to increase magnesium since it absorbs even better through the skin).

Unfortunately, I haven’t ditched that daily cup of coffee yet, but I’m noticing that I have some PVCs almost daily (more when I skimp on the magnesium), so my next bag of beans will be decaf. I haven’t had a soft drink in 3 years, and I rarely drink tea, so the coffee has been my only holdout.

Yes, giving up caffeine can cause issues, but those WILL go away once the withdrawal period is over, whereas continuing to drink it contributes to having more and more PVCs, which, I would imagine, over the long haul wouldn’t be great for your heart.

But hey, I’m curious - what did you use to monitor that, because I’m going to the cardiologist within the next few weeks for a checkup, and I’d love to monitor that for a few days before my appt.
 

DontGetTheCheese

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 22, 2015
146
92
I’m not sure what you are asking for regarding monitoring. I use lose it for food tracking and estimated my potassium from there. It’s not hard given that I was eating almost the same thing every day. Lose it doesn’t track potassium so I looked up the foods and, yikes. The ECG is from the watch. Anything else I’ve gotten from reading on these things.

I don’t know how many/day I have. Today, so far, not one, but last night it could have been as high as several/minute. And they ran from lunch on yesterday so easily hundreds. Changed the lunch slightly today so, hopefully. Feel better too, got a solid night of sleep for once despite the hiccups.
 

ssledoux

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2006
1,629
896
Down south
I’m not sure what you are asking for regarding monitoring. I use lose it for food tracking and estimated my potassium from there. It’s not hard given that I was eating almost the same thing every day. Lose it doesn’t track potassium so I looked up the foods and, yikes. The ECG is from the watch. Anything else I’ve gotten from reading on these things.

I don’t know how many/day I have. Today, so far, not one, but last night it could have been as high as several/minute. And they ran from lunch on yesterday so easily hundreds. Changed the lunch slightly today so, hopefully. Feel better too, got a solid night of sleep for once despite the hiccups.
Just wondering how you monitored that. Didn’t realize the ECG was functioning on the watch. Was that added with the last update?

How do you use it?
 

DontGetTheCheese

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 22, 2015
146
92
Just wondering how you monitored that. Didn’t realize the ECG was functioning on the watch. Was that added with the last update?

How do you use it?
I didn’t catch it with the watch, per se. I didn’t even know what they were. I took some ECG’s and thought they were messed up or I was moving my finger. The EKG in the ER caught it and told me what they were.

After that, I was having enough that I just started the ECG until I caught one. Not hard to do when you’re getting a couple/minute.
 
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DontGetTheCheese

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 22, 2015
146
92
To close one part of this out, spoke to the cardiologist today and he wasn’t worried. Same plan as I had, more or less.
  • Potassium
  • Slowmag (magnesium supplement)
  • Give up caffeine
Forgot one, no more redlining. I do workouts that get my 53 year old pulse in the 166 bpm range. He wants me to stay lower. I’ll try, even today when I went light I hit solid 150s.

He said I wouldn’t like beta blockers and I agree. Also, at the risk of speaking too soon again, 3 days with them largely gone. Maybe one or two here and there. So, hopefully, the additional potassium helped.
 
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oeagleo

macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2016
554
304
West Jordan, Utah
To close one part of this out, spoke to the cardiologist today and he wasn’t worried. Same plan as I had, more or less.
  • Potassium
  • Slowmag (magnesium supplement)
  • Give up caffeine
Forgot one, no more redlining. I do workouts that get my 53 year old pulse in the 166 bpm range. He wants me to stay lower. I’ll try, even today when I went light I hit solid 150s.

He said I wouldn’t like beta blockers and I agree. Also, at the risk of speaking too soon again, 3 days with them largely gone. Maybe one or two here and there. So, hopefully, the additional potassium helped.
I'm a 71 year old man, and I try to keep mine in the "Fat Burn" category, as I've got about 50+ years of lard that needs to be rendered out. But, I also will go up into the aerobic/"Build Fitness", or even higher (Anerobic) zones, as I'm also trying to build my cardio to offset about 35+ years of smoking. It's tough to keep it low, as my Max HR is 161, and if I ride my bike, it will go up into the 150-155 range and stay there. Takes a few days to recover, but I still do it, as I enjoy the bike rides.
One of the reasons I still occasionally will wear my Garmin Fenix, so to determine just how hard I'm going, and I always use it to ride the bike to see what the Recovery time is.
 

ssledoux

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2006
1,629
896
Down south
To close one part of this out, spoke to the cardiologist today and he wasn’t worried. Same plan as I had, more or less.
  • Potassium
  • Slowmag (magnesium supplement)
  • Give up caffeine
Forgot one, no more redlining. I do workouts that get my 53 year old pulse in the 166 bpm range. He wants me to stay lower. I’ll try, even today when I went light I hit solid 150s.

He said I wouldn’t like beta blockers and I agree. Also, at the risk of speaking too soon again, 3 days with them largely gone. Maybe one or two here and there. So, hopefully, the additional potassium helped.
I’m on my way to giving up caffeine myself - down to half-caff, and I only didn’t go cold turkey because I had just bought an expensive pound of coffee from the local roaster I didnt’ want to waste.

Been doing magnesium for a while, although I do need to be more diligent. Haven’t checked into Potassium, although I don’t think mine is low at all if that matters.

I’m 51, but my parents both had heart disease (different kinds), and my brother was diagnosed with both in his 50s. My sisters have been all clear so far, and they’re all in their 60s.

For general heart health, a friend’s cardiologist recommended mega doses of Vitamin C daily. It’s water soluble so can’t really hurt. I try to take 3-4,000 mg daily, but he recommended even more. I just can’t make myself swallow that many dang vitamins throughout the day.