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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Vagus Nerve, Heart PVCs PACs, Dizziness


 Goofy - Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:44 pm

For almost one year now I have been experiencing mild to severe dizziness, mild nausea, strong and rapid heartbeats, sharp chest pain and aches, headaches and the very strong feeling of my heart beating in my throat. Similar to many posts on the cardiology forum I have had numerous tests include 3 holter monitors, echocardiogram, radioisotope imaging , treadmill tests and many ECGs often after being delivered to the hospital in an ambulance. Holter monitors have shown I have Wenckebach (2:1 only appearing while sleeping, thus unrelated to daytime episodes) in May 2005, but a subsequent monitor in October 2005 showed PVCs and PACs, tachycardia and a high heart rate of more than 110,000 beats in a 23 hour period. On occasion, usually within 2-3 hours after waking I can physically feel my pulse skip a beat (or similar), for example ...beat.., ...beat.., ...beat.., ……,... beat..,... beat… This can happen up to 4 or 5 times a minute and last for up to 1 hour on and off. Echo has shown mild concentric LVH (13mm with 73% EF), isotope test shown no apparent problems, and treadmill test up to 170bpm was OK. I have been prescribed Seloken and mild tranquilizers on the basis that this is stress related but these have had no apparent effect.

As I had a severe snowboarding accident 7 years ago breaking my left shoulder in a number of places I asked the doctor if this was related and an MRI was taken of my neck on October 15 2005, with no major problems evident according to the Doctor. I had infrequently seen a chiropractor over the years and in late October 2005 I saw a new Chiro who UNSUCCESSFULLY tried to crack my neck on several occasions. Instantly the dizziness became worse for days as did the frequency of the PVC/ PAC feelings. It is important to note I felt the PVC/PAC before seeing this chiro however.

As I moved house I ended up going to a new hospital seeing a new cardiologist who has suggested after numerous tests that I have an imbalance in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and this is evidenced by the fact that the “skipped beats” seem to appear soon after waking illustrating one system does not correctly take over from the other. I can also confirm that the PVC/PACs seem to appear the morning after I have had one or more glasses of wine and/ or foods which arguably may contain additives or MSG type substances. The doctor suggested the imbalance may also explain the irregular heartbeats and occasional Tachycardia. I was referred to a neurologist who after hearing of my frequent headaches, left shoulder and left side chest pain also requested an MRI of my neck. I kept quiet about the first until afterwards so we had a “before and after”. The November 2005 MRI showed a major herniated disk near the top of my neck, with a large white spot appearing in the MRI which the doctor said was a piece of my disk which had broken off and was “floating” away from my spinal cord. When I asked where it would go, he suggested this would “melt” or dissolve eventually. Is this true? The doctor also looked at the original MRI and pointed out what was a minor herniation at that time, the beginnings of what I could now see. Dizziness and heart episodes seemed to often occur soon after, or within a day after carrying heavy objects or carrying my children (3months and 2 years old) while shopping or something.

Although my post may seem more relevant to the cardiology forum my question lies around the vagus nerve. I have had enough tests on my heart to show it is physiologically in good shape aside from the arrhythmia and Wenckebach. I have evidence of a herniated disk and floating disk in my neck. I have frequent and severe headaches which I think are more related to the old injury rather than migraines and I have areas in my throat (near the submaxillary gland area) which appear to be swollen at times. I have dizziness virtually every waking moment. In short my neck area is not in good shape and I have been asked to wear a soft collar for 8 weeks with no other treatment. Is it possible that my bad neck (resulting from the shoulder break so long ago) is now and was stimulating or irritation the vagus nerve in some way that is and always has been the source of the heart problems? Could this also be the cause of the chest pain, and occasional twitching and fluttering in my chest and abdomen? Surprisingly the doctor suggested “NO” to all these questions and even suggested this was not the cause of my increasingly worsening dizziness or heart episodes.

Apologies for the long piece. I could explain no other way.
 Goofy - Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:59 pm

Interestingly enough, I have been back to the doctor to review the MRI again. It appears the herniation(s) are between the C3 and C4 as well as C4 and C5. The doctor suggested this was too far down the neck to affect the Vagus nerve and therefore my heart issues and the neck are two unrelated problems. Is there anyone able to confirm, or refute this? Since wearing the neck brace recently my dizziness has levelled, but not improved and I am experiencing a large amount of chest pain particularly just left and up from my sternum as well as about 3 inches directly below my armpit. I would put this down to nerve pain except that I have severe palpitations and a very strong heartbeat at the same time.

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