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low heart rate


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Rene' Koenig Find out more about Rene' Koenig
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  • low heart rate

    What causes a drop in heart rate?

    Yesterday I wasn't feeling well at all. As soon as I got out of bed my heart was doing wierd things again...beating really irregularly, and I felt lightheaded. I was feeling so icky I vomitted (which may or may not have anything to do with this).

    I finally went in to work at 11:00. Just walking from my car into the building I was lightheaded and my heart rate was down to 44. It gradually went up though. I continued to feel crummy the rest of the day, but felt ok when I got up this morning.

    Could it be that I felt awful because my heart rate was low and my heart was doing strange things? Or, is it possible that my heart rate went down BECAUSE my heart was beating irregularly? I remember last time I felt like that, my heart rate was 50. Generally it's anywhere between 62-80. Or, is this just a matter of "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" I've been on the same meds. (Verapamil and Norpace) for years, so it's not a matter of new medication.

    Any thoughts?


  • #2
    Re: low heart rate


    That's what I felt like when I was in a-fib. Maybe you should check out that possibility.



    • #3
      Re: low heart rate


      Hi. Maybe it was related to hydration issues reflecting a drop in your HR and maybe not.
      I know that as the fall months are here we are running our furnaces at night here in New England and I have noticed a more punky feeling in the AM with some increase in these seemingly transient symptoms myself. Also I know that I am not as hydrated because my skin is already getting dry and itchy.

      Have you tried taking your BP in the AM after rising. I know we all do it (Pop the pills right in),but sometimes in the morning we have to wait a bit until the vital signs equivalate a bit before taking the meds . This just may be your body responding to some temporary incidents and maybe it is something more concerning requiring a check in w/ your doc. If it happens again I would certainly inform my cardio. At the very least try checking and recording your BP/P for a few days and checking to see if you have undergone any recent weight changes as well.

      A sudden drop in BP or heart rate can be brought by various factors one of which could be by simple position changes and sudden increase in cardiac demand. Move slowly from lying to sitting and sitting to standing.

      More techniquely there is a vasal vagal response that often occurs with these same symptoms that you report. It is transient and usually subsides without incident as long as we take care and don't push ourselves too hard and too fast.

      I hope this has helped and that you continue to feel better.

      Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
      Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
      Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
      SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
      [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
      Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
      Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
      Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin


      • #4
        Re: low heart rate

        Hydration may be a factor - as you mentioned you vomited and this makes me thing you had something going on in your system that may have 'messed up' your electrolites and hydration levels.

        Talk to your doctor - and drink some gatoraid if you are feeling badly in the future- it just may help!

        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


        • #5
          Re: low heart rate

          Rene, I'm sorry you had such a rotten day. You really need to take this story to your doctor and try to find out what was happening. You got a lot of possibilities from previous responses to your postings, and it could have been any of them. If your blood pressure was dropping extremely low, it could have triggered a response of vomiting. I assume you were feeling your pulse to get the rate. If it was really that slow, your blood pressure may very well have dropped low enough to cause vomiting. An extremely slow rate may not be putting out enough blood through the heart to give you an adequate blood pressure.

          Another thing that may have happened is that your heart was really beating faster but it wasn't pumping out enough blood for you to be able to feel the pulse. If that was happening, you would count a slow rate, those beats you couldn't feel wouldn't really be pumping out enough blood to be worthwhile and you would still get a low blood pressure and the real bad symptoms you had. If you had been wearing a monitor, it would have been able to see if you had different types of beats, some not really pumping enough blood to cause a palpable pulse(one that you could feel when counting).

          Your doc needs to know all of your symptoms, including whether the pulse you felt was regular, irregular, and if you felt each beat at the same intensity. I hope you are feeling better now. Please call your doc soon so you get some answers. Remember, if you are really feeling bad, slow pulse, and lots of symptoms, the ER is your backup. Please keep us posted. Linda


          • #6
            Re: low heart rate

            Thanks everyone for all the replies! There is so much collective knowledge on this board that it's amazing! and very helpful.

            I'm definately feeling better than I was the other day. And, I have a bit of a sense of humor about it now. That morning, I still felt lightheaded and shakey while taking a shower. I knew I was going to get sick, so I got out of the shower, and there I was...soaking wet and vomitting! Boy, I bet I was quite the sight!

            All joking aside though, I really need to find out what is going on. It's so disturbing when my heart starts doing all those funky things and I start feeling awful. I'll try to call the cardio. this week.

            Thanks again, I really appreciate your input.



            • #7
              Re: low heart rate


              When I am in AFib, I always vomit. Ialso SWEAT profussly, have constant chest pain & feel crummy.. Every one is right talk with your Cardio