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Question
Posted by: pinkie | 2005/12/07

breathless spells,skippin beats

I'm 20yrs old,female.About 2 or 3 years ago i was in church standing when i suddenly felt light-headed,my eyes clouded up and although i was breathing,the air didn't seem to get into my chest,i felt slight pain in my chest.I felt so weak and nauseaous that i had to sit down and put my head down before the feeling subsided.Since then i've had about 5 or 6 more incidents at various places and times.The last on was in November,when i went shopping,standing on my feet for over 4hours under the blazing sun with my mom.I was so weak i thought i would pass out,i had two cold beverages and even after a long rest i couldn't walk for a distance without the pain from my heart.The sensation made me feel helpless and very uncomfortable that i was babbling to myself.I have also noticed that at certain times my heart seemed to skip a beat or seemed to stop for a second and then beat so hard and fast that i feel slight pain in my chest,sometimes i hold my breath till my heart stops pounding so hard.Is this something i should be concerned about?I am 68kg and 1.62m tall.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Pinkie,

Yes, it can be a frightening experience. It sounds as though you had a sudden drop in blood pressure, which means less blood gets through to the brain, so you become light-headed and can even faint. Usually, once you are horizontal, you should recover quite quickly.

The unknown part, is what causes the drop in blood pressure. There are many possible reasons for this, such as immobility for long periods, dehydration, etc. In your case, there is one possibility which does need to be investigated.

As you mention a skipped beat, it is possible that you have an intermittently irregular pulse. When this does happen, for those few moments your blood pressure can drop drastically, and can cause exactly what you have described.

To have this checked, you will need to see a cardiologist. Your GP can do an ECG, but only the cardiologist can do the Holter monitoring type of ECG which can track your rhythm over 24-48 hours, and detect even small abnormalities.

I suggest that you keep you fluid intake up in warm weather, keep moving, and please arrange a referral by your doctor to a cardiologist.

Good luck,

HeartDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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