Why Does My Heart Starts Beating Hard While I'm Relaxing?

Question

Asked by wenny111

Why Does My Heart Starts Beating Hard While I'm Relaxing?

My heart goes through periods of beating very hard - it happens several times per hour when I'm awake. It beats so hard, as if I was in a car accident, or I'm extremely scared, but I'm not doing anything other than laying on the couch. What's causing this?

Answer

It's difficult to say with any certainty exactly what the problem is.   It could be any one of a number of abnormal cardiac rhythms.   They range from simple "extra" heart beats to more serious types that require investigation for their cause and treatment.

You must make an appointment with your physician for an evaluation.   He/she will ask you several questions, examine you, and perform an electrocardiogram.   Be sure to let  your doctor  know about all medication, caffeine and tobacco use, as well as any family history of heart disease, abnormal cardiac rhythms, and thyroid disease.   If your abnormal heart beat is not evident on the electrocardiogram, he might request a 24-hour monitor of your heart beat and/or other studies to look at your heart.

Some rhythms are caused by excess caffeine or nicotine.   Thyroid disease is also a common problem that can present as abnormal heart beats.   In these cases, correcting the cause eliminates the problem.

Some rhythms only require observation, while others require medications.   In severe or persistent cases, invasive studies need to be performed called electrophysiological testing of the heart, which requires a catheterization and "mapping" of the electrical system.   Doctors can then eliminate the rhythm by cutting the abnormal pathway using radiofrequency techniques.

You need to start at the beginning.   See your doctor and he'll know what to do.

Best wishes and feel better.

Martin Cane, M.D.