Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Terrifying arrthmyias from Vaso Vagal?



I am a 48 year old male who twice has had the following symptoms: sudden feelings of hollowness, pressure under sternum, then a feeling like pressure on the heart, which feels weak, bubbly, finally soft, like a water balloon that is wobbling...then a feeling it is doing "flip flops", skipping it is about to stop. Each skipped beat is horrifying and a feeling of imminent death due to heart stoppage occurs. BUT....the pulse SLOWS down, to 50 or 60, from a normal of 90 or so. Despite panic, which comes AFTER the slowing of the pulse and heart symptoms. The only thing that works is to lie down on the floor on my stomach, stretching my chest up on my arms, which seems to give more "room" to the heart, (it feels like it is being squeezed within the chest) and lay there and shake, twitch, spasm and beg God to make it stop. The latest series of attacks came after several months of increasing GERD symptoms. My earlier experience with this, 12 years ago, was looked at by doctors who were basiclly baffled. I was given Tagamet, tranqulizers, antidepressants, etc. Holter monitor showed nothing of significance. (Especially when the HMO waited months to test until after s/s got better.) It gradually got better over a year or so, during which time I was completely crippled, couldn't work, could barely drive or go anywhere. I believe it is: GERD, perhaps with Hiatal Hernia and/or ulcer, with burned esophegus, which becomes hypersensitive, goes into spasms, then triggers a vaso-vagal bradycardia with it's terrifying symptoms. Now being on Zantac, and only being able to sip Ensure, now some of the symptoms seem to be related to constipation. After passing gas and some stool, then suddenly feeling better. I am of course scared it could be a more serious arrythmia disorder, or lead to it. My heart just seems to "flutter" when it should beat. The pulse becomes very small, weak, thready and slow when under an attack. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am again totally crippled with this and it is terrifying. My email:

This web site is not a substitute for a thorough medical evaluation and diagnosis of your vaso-vagal type symptoms.  Medical treatment and diagnosis is the only acceptable initial response to these serious symptoms since they might present from any number of life threatening and treatable illnesses. It is for you and your physician to rule out more serious illnesses; Please don't use this online forum as an alternative to getting responsible medical attention and being under the care of a physician for the duration of any unknown, suspected or dangerous vaso-vagal syndrome symptoms.
Last changed: June 22, 2007