I was recently diagnosed with atrial bigeminy. Could you tell me what it is and a little bit about its symptoms? How do I know I need to see a doctor for an emergency? Atrial bigeminy is actually a description of a pattern of heart beats that occurrs in couplets. A regular (or sinus) beat is followed by a "premature" atrial beat. These premature beats are the result of electrical impulses sent from other parts of the atrium than the sinus node (our normal pacemaker). Such "extra" or "premature" beats cause more problems for doctors than patients. In reality, they are almost never felt unless we take our own pulse or blood pressure. For the health care worker or patient who takes a blood pressure, premature atrial beats or runs of atrial bigeminy make it difficult to get a good reading. The premature beat has a lower blood pressure as the heart hasn't had sufficient time to fill with blood. As the normal beat may have a higher pressure, the measur...
Little time goes by for me without a request for cardiology consultation that involves a female, aged 35 to 60 who is having “problems that may be cardiac”. Invariably the idea that the symptoms are not related to menopause, either because the patient reports that the symptoms had ended some time ago, the periods were continuing, or that the doctor had done a blood test that showed that it wasn’t menopause leads to further investigation. As a male physician in a brief column I won’t belabor the many irritating symptoms that are recognized by women the world over and have been memorialized in magazines and books by well known people that have suffered the same changes and renamed them “power surges”. So how does a doctor go about helping a woman find out which symptoms she should worry about? Just the same way the doctor goes about diagnosing every other process in the body. We ask questions. You can ask the same questions of yourself. The answers can help s...
If you're having heart problems you may feel that your heart is beating irregularly, very fast, or forcefully in your chest. You may have chest pains or experience a heart attack.
Symptoms of heart problems include:
rapid or irregular heartbeat
swelling of feet and lower legs
feeling weak or dizzy
Many things can cause heart problems, including stress, being overweight, and smoking. Several breast cancer treatments may cause heart problems:
chemotherapy, especially the medicine Adriamycin (chemical name: doxorubicin)
Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab), a targeted therapy
Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab), a targeted therapy
Some hormonal therapies:
Arimidex (chemical name: anastrozole)
Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane)
Femara (chemical name: letrozole)
Faslodex (chemical name: fulvestrant)
Avoiding heart problems
If you have chest pain or trouble breathing, talk to your doctor right away. Since heart pro...
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