I Am Having Short Bursts Of Chest Pain When I'm Lying Down To Sleep Which Evolve To "Jolts" In My Chest That Keep Me Awake... What Can It Be?


Asked by Hugh Martins

I Am Having Short Bursts Of Chest Pain When I'm Lying Down To Sleep Which Evolve To "Jolts" In My Chest That Keep Me Awake... What Can It Be?

Hi all, I'm a 31 year old male, do very little exercise but have a balanced diet and don't smoke or drink. About 9 months ago I started feeling strange fluttering "bumps" on my chest that turned out to be extrasystolic beats. They were going on almost all day shortly after I woke up until I went to bed. I started on beta-blockers and eventually the bumps subsided to the point that now I only have them very sparsely and only for a few seconds. Sadly, a rather annoying symptom has popped up. When I'm lying down in bed I get these instant bouts of pain in my chest, usually around the sternum, sometimes more to the left, others to the right. They last only a second or two and feel quite sharp, but not too strong. They also are not radiating, or at least, they don't spread to shoulders/neck/arms/jaw. When I am about to fall asleep, I feel a jolt in my chest like I've been punched right in my heart and wake up in a surge. This repeats a few times until I eventually fall asleep. Some nights it goes on for hours, others I don't have a single event. I notice that when I wake up in the morning, more often than not I feel my chest a bit dull or achy, a feeling that eventually goes away. Sometimes my heart seems to be beating a bit too fast as well (by resting rhythm is around 75 bpm). Now, I have done several ECGs this year and they all came out clean. I have also done 2 echos to my heart, which detected no abnormality in ejection fraction, valves or otherwise - except my left ventricle seems to be 1 mm larger than normal, but the doctor told me that was nothing to worry about, especially since the same thing has been detected when I was 17 years old. I had a Holter monitor that detected no frequent rhythm abnormalities, but this was before these night jolts started happening. I have no issues with blood pressure (usually around 120/75). I am on propanolol, 40 mg daily. Can this be all due to anxiety? I don't really have any other symptom (shortness of breath, fainting, enduring chest pain, sweating, etc) and when the chest pains come up during the day it seems to have nothing to do with exertion - sometimes they come up when I'm lazying on the couch, others when I come back from a brisk walk. Should I worry about a valve issue if my Echo was clean? Should I ask for a Stress test or an event monitor? Any suggestion would be most welcome.


Hi Hugh,

I'd start by contacting your doctor again to discuss what you are experiencing during the night. It may be worthwhile to wear the Holter monitor for a period of time again.

You may also be interested in what Dr. Sinatra teaches on the impact of EMF exposure on the heart. Reducing exposure may just alleviate your symptoms.

If you want to research this possibility further you can find information on his blog. Here are some example posts:

Dangers of Electropollution

Cordless Phones and Arrhythmia

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD

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