Sudden heavy heartbeats

Every once in a while – I can be slouching in the sofa, reading in bed, or sitting by my desk in my work chair – I feel an sensation in my chest: First there seems to be a slight pause in my heartbeat, like an hesitation or a vacuum, following which my heart seems to beat quite heavily (but not, I think, more frequently) than usual, for a few seconds until the beat returns to normal.

Sometimes these eruptions, if you could call them that, occur several times in sequence. It tends to happen almost every day, sometimes several times on a single day. At the time when it happens, I am usually, but not always, at rest. I notice it even if I’m out walking, or performing some physical activity.

If I were to liken the experience to anything it would be a hiccup, or a muscle spasm. It is painless, but unnerving. It’s not that it bothers me; what bothers me is that it might be the symptom of something serious.

I’m not on any kind of medication.

I’ve had the same problem for many years. Nobody until now has been able to tell me what it was. Including a cardiologist.
I learnt at some point that I had a slight heart “conduction” issue. I wouldn’t know the english word for it. I’ve been told it’s not related with what we’re talking about. Lacking any other hypothesis, I’m not convinced.
I’ve been told many times that it was tachycardia, or “nervous” or something , but it doesn’t happen particularily when I’m worried, or depressed, or stressed, or anything. It seems to be completely random. I can spend a long time without it happening, or it can happens every other day, or it can happen dozens of time a day for a couple months.
Everybody told me not to worry. I’m still worried.

If you abused caffeine as much as I did, you’ll get these sensations. Otherwise, maybe see a doctor about it?

I’ve had the same thing for years. I talked to a doctor about it, and he said it’s perfectly normal, and I shouldn’t worry about it - unless it starts happening often, or they become strong enough to be noticeable. Most people have them, but don’t notice them. I’d say talk to a doctor about it. Which, considering this is an internet message board, is going to be the only reliable advice you’ll be getting here.

And as purely anecdotal evidence (which is an oxymoron), I’ve found that it happens much less often when I’m exercising regularly.

Heart palpitations?
I get them too. Less since I switched to decaf diet soda though. Had them all my life. I remember getting them as long as I can remember… at least 5 or 6 years old for sure.

What you’re experiencing sounds similar to something I noticed a few years ago. I went to the doctor and was told that I was experiencing premature ventricular contractions. He told me it was rather common and usually nothing to worry about. In fact, you usually don’t even notice them.

Not a doctor so take it with a grain of salt. If you’re nervous get it checked out.

Yeah, I was having PVCs some years ago. The fluttering sensation was disconcerting. The doctor put me on a low-dosage beta-blocker and the problem disappeared.

I had these a few years ago. My doctor also said it was nothing to worry about. It turned out it was a side effect of a medication I was taking - Seldane, one of the earliest decongestants that wouldn’t make you drowsy. It was eventually taken off the market.

Definitely sounds like PVCs. I had these about 15 years ago. My doctor rigged me up with a heart monitor that I wore for 48 hours, and the resulting EKG printout confirmed his suspicions.

While never completely sure of the cause, I suspected caffeine. I cut down on my caffeine intake and have never had a recurrance of PVC.

I was scary at the time though. Felt exactly like my heart was pausing and skipping a beat.

I’ve had those for years. Irritating, aren’t they?

I get 'em every month around my period (along with times when my heart just races for 30 seconds or so). However as another poster said, when I was working out regularly, I didn’t have them at all.

I also get them when I have too much caffeine.

Like others, I was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia. I completely cut out caffeine and take a low dosage of Inderol/propanolol, and it’s pretty much gone away.

See another cardiologist.

My heart problem went undiagnosed for years. I saw several different cardiologists before the last one finally found the problem.

Thank you all for your informative responses. It is almost certainly a case of premature ventricular contractions.

As for seeking professional advice, I did confront my doctor with this issue some time ago, and she explained that the heart might skip a beat once in a while, and this was quite normal; no technical terms, nothing about possible causes, and altogether too vague to be of any comfort.

I had a similar problem when I was about 34 years old. The doctor asked if I smoked. When I told him yes, he asked me to quit for 2 - 3 weeks and come back to see him again. After quitting the smoking, the heart problem disappeared. I have not smoked since and my heart seems to be healthy at 75 years old. Do you smoke?

I don’t smoke, and never have. I don’t drink much – usually about 2-3 beers a week. I consume about a pint of Coke every day, though.

Ah, ha. I think you’ve got it there. I too noticed these unusual feelings and I talked to my doctor about it. He set me up with the local cardiologist. I took the stress tests, etc. Everything checked out just fine. As soon as I told him I have three to five Cokes a day, he said that there was my problem. Well, that and a bit too much baggage in the abdomen, if you know what I mean. He said to drop the weight and drop the Cokes, or get used to these little flutters.

I get that exact same feeling - like a missed or paused beat, then a thudding, but not faster, heartbeat for a while, which I can actually feel as being much heavier when I place my hand on my ribcage below my breast. It does seem random, and I never know when it is going to start or stop. This is the main reason I haven’t tried to go to my doctor about it. BUT I am not on any medication, I don’t drink tea or coffee, or any caffeinated drinks etc, and I consume very little alcohol. I’m pretty darn sure I’m not stressed either! :slight_smile: I had wondered if it was to do with hormones, but that seems to make less sense if males are getting it too. It doesn’t really worry me too much although I guess I should mention it to my doctor at some point just to be sure.

I had these or similar symptoms on and off during for a few years, it is now obvious that it was stress related even though I usually experienced the odd heart behavior while at home, in the couch, and so forth, when feeling (and being!) very relaxed rather than in stressful situations. The doctor said it was stress related almost immediately but I didn’t really believe him because I didn’t fell stressed out and later went to another who made several tests and didn’t find anything; but once again, now that I’m at another place in my life, and haven’t had these symptoms for years, I can see that the first doctor was probably right.

I get it too, but it always seems associated with gas going up my esophagus-and it impinges on either the heart muscle or aorta?

If you are concerned, you could ask your doctor to do a Holter monitor analysis, where they attach electrodes to your chest and record a continuous EKG for 24 hours. That should tell them whether you have anything to worry about.