Heart & Cardiology/Was this serious


Dr. Richardson,

You're always so helpful, I'm Having fear over an incident that last occurred about 5 years ago. I'm very concerned it was vt.

It happened about 3-4 times in a year.

I would be going along normally, mainly sitting or walking slowly,  when suddenly I had the overwhelming and very terrifying sensation that my heat had stopped totally. Very different from my usual skipped beat, it was a thud then nothing. As soon as I registered the absence, I became very scared, breathless and lightheaded. I would bend over or fall to my knees because I was sure I was going down anyway. During this time, I'm trying to find my wrist pulse and I'm not finding anything.

Then suddenly ill take a deep breath and focus into my heart and I can feel it faintly beating although fast and fluttery. Then it pass and I'm left a very scared and shaky mess.

One episode happened a few hours after I Gave birth to my son, my nurse came in to check my vitals and this episode started as we were waiting for the bp reading and pulse. It happened and I. Became very afraid, to make matters worse the Bp machine couldnt read anything and I had to ask the nurse to come back later.

I am almost 28, large body frame, 5'4, 205. I've had about 5-6 ekgs in the past 6 years that have always been excellent. I had a holter September of 11 that was described as exquisite. I also jogged while on the monitor heart rate reached 155. But no pacs or pvcs were found.

BP is 112/76 and resting heart rate hovers in the 70s.

I have 2 questions

1. In the episodes I just described, does this sound like vt or some other potentially dangerous arrhythmia?

2. My palpitations have never been caught on monitor, given that all my tests are clear, can I still be assured that my heart is healthy and free of electrical abnormality that would be cause for concern?

Thank you doctor for taking time.out to help us.   : )

Hello Ashley,

1. No, not vtach or any dangerous arrhythmia.  Probably the beginning of an ordinary fainting spell, when the heart slow down.

2. If fainting spells recur frequently, you probably should ask for an event monitor, a little box you carry around that records your EKG a few minutes before and after you press a button on the box to indicate you feel faint.  It could conceivably be heart block, that is failure of the atrial impulses to reach the ventricles.

Best wishes.

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David Richardson


Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.


Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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