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Irregular heartbeat /leaky upper valve

(32 Posts)
annep1 Tue 19-May-20 23:21:41

I've been told I have these and that a letter is being sent to the doctor to issue beta blockers.

This was a telephone call from the cardiologist two weeks ago. If I had been able to have a face to face appointment I could have got more information.

The echocardiogram was done in January 2019 and she said it needs to be repeated and monitored. The 24hour monitor showed the irregularity. I only got results last week. I wish I had gone private, would have been quicker.

I rang the surgery today and the letter hasn't reached them yet. Can anyone throw any light on this? I can't find much online.

Luckygirl Tue 19-May-20 23:33:26

Many people of our age have an irregular heartbeat, some occasionally, as I do, and others continuously. I am treated with a beta blocker and an anticoagulant.

I do not know about the leaky valve.

It is good that they are planning to monitor it, but I am sorry that you cannot have a face to face appointment at the moment. If there are specific questions that you need an answer to, maybe you could make a list and contact the cardiologist's secretary to try and arrange a further phone call. Most cardiology departments have a specialist nurse who can often be very helpful in these situations.

annep1 Wed 20-May-20 00:01:41

Thanks for the reply Luckygirl. That's comforting to know that others of my age have it. I wasn't told that. Merely told that an irregularity was picked up. An anticoagulant wasn't mentioned.

I had wondered would it be possible to have another telephone call. So I shall make a list and ring and hopefully get more information. I do think it's very unsatisfactory not to explain things. I've been very anxious since.

Thank you.

Lisagran Wed 20-May-20 07:18:39

There’s lots of good information on the British Heart Foundation website - www.bhf.org.uk/. You can phone them too and they are knowledgeable and helpful.

lemongrove Wed 20-May-20 07:28:54

My DH has always had an irregular heartbeat, but after fainting several times eventually had a 24 hour monitor attached ( in hospital) which showed that his heart was stopping randomly, sometimes for up to 13 seconds.
Up to that point, heart monitors ( at the GP surgery) hadn’t picked that up.A pacemaker was the answer.I don’t know about leaky valves, but if you are feeling faint at different times, particularly after bending down, then you should try and convey some urgency to your GP.Good luck, do let us know your outcome.

Ginny42 Wed 20-May-20 07:29:04

My friend has a leaky heart valve. I'll ask her what she's on and get back to you.

I had a bad allergic reaction to something last year and the Dr picked up that I also had a slight arrhythmia. I'm on a tiny dose of a beta blocker (1.25 per day) and it's fine now. It may not be severe, so you need to ask. Take care.

dragonfly46 Wed 20-May-20 07:33:57

I had a dodgy ecg a few years ago due to palpitations. I had a stress test which also showed abnormalities although I had no pain. I chose to go privately and had a heart echo. The outcome was that I had no problem with my heart. I have a leaky valve but not in a place to cause any problems.

Esspee Wed 20-May-20 07:38:29

I have had an irregular heartbeat for the last 71 years. Initially it was treated with phenobarbitone but in my teens I was switched to beta blockers which I have been taking ever since.
I remember being told by my doctor that Churchill used to take them before speeches, appearances etc. to control his heart rate. (No idea if that was true) but I can assure you they work.
When we get stressed we produce adrenaline which raises our heart rate. Beta blockers open up the veins to increase blood flow and blocks the adrenaline surge thereby slowing your heart rate. It is a simple and very effective solution.

annep1 Wed 20-May-20 09:39:40

Goodness Lemongrove that sounds scary. I'm glad they've found what was wrong. Thanks everyone for your information and advice. I feel more confident about asking for a fuller explanation now.

Pat123 Wed 20-May-20 10:31:05

Check out atrial fibrillation on BHF British Heart Federation website. Also lots of helpful videos from BHF on Youtube. AF or Afib is a common heart condition where heart beats irregularly. You can have a telephone consultation with your GP or privately with a good cardiologist who can answer all your questons

annep1 Wed 20-May-20 13:12:33

Thanks Pat.

Ginny42 Thu 21-May-20 20:15:40

Hello Anne,
I had a chat with my friend who has a leaky heart valve to ask if she could tell us about the condition and what treatment she has. She does not have the arrhythmia, but they did find angina, so she has meds for that too. She said her consultant told her that hundreds of people have been living with the condition for years unaware that they have it.

She said that each time she had a blood test done it showed that she was anaemic so her GP decided to send her for tests. She had a scan and as she's far braver than I, she watched the screen and could actually see the leak. She was told there are degrees of severity from mild, to moderate and one stage between the two and severe. She is mild to moderate. Surely if yours was severe they would have called you back quicker?

Her consultant put her on what he called preventive medication of anti-cholesterol tabs, BP meds and Ramipril.

As Luckygirl and Patlsuggest why not call the consultant's secretary for a telephone consultation?

I'm glad you are feeling more confident and hope can get some answers sooner rather than later.

EllanVannin Thu 21-May-20 21:20:38

I'm diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and had extensive tests in the past which didn't throw up any abnormality with the heart as an echocardiogram showed that everything was working fine.

I've actually had this condition for over 30 years and take Bisoprolol and Warfarin which keeps it ticking over, though saying that, I had 2 episodes last year, one in September when I had to be admitted into resus for a cardioversion by a drip to bring the heart back into sinus rhythm. I was allowed home after 8 hours. Then again in December where it stabilized in 6 hours without treatment, just attached to monitors.

My medication was increased from 3.75mg to 5 mg Bisoprolol.

I think my problem is anxiety-related but because of my age the A/Fib could cause a stroke or heart attack which is why I get admitted.
I've never had pain nor breathlessness, just a rapid pulse of 180 beats per minute which makes you feel as though you've been through the mangle. It's my electrics that misfire.

annep1 Thu 21-May-20 22:48:13

Ginny42 thank you so much for taking the trouble to speak to your friend, and for all that information. I too think and hope that the consultant would have got back to me quicker if it was serious but I think it's meant to be monitored yearly and it's over a year now. Also waiting time targets are not being met in my area.

Thank you also Ellanvannin It's good to get that information which is very useful.

I really appreciate you both taking time to write such detailed responses.
I now know that it's not possibly as bad as I thought.
I rang the cardiology clinic today and asked if it would be possible to have an appointment to speak to the consultant to get more information. . I was told that I would have to speak to my GP. I explained that the GP had been waiting two weeks for a letter and I was concerned as I was supposed to be given beta blockers and also a further echocardiogram was due. I was told that I would have to ask the GP to ring the clinic and in any case they weren't doing any tests at the minute. (The private clinic is also running slower with tests at the minute)

So I shall ring the GP tomorrow and see if he can chase up the letter. I do wish the cardiologist had explained more on the telephone.

Perhaps hopefully the consultant thinks everything I have is mild and nothing to worry about. I just don't know. I will report back.

annep1 Thu 21-May-20 22:52:45

Sorry if I seem overly concerned. I know there are people with much more serious health problems to worry about.

Nannatwiglet Thu 21-May-20 23:08:54

Don’t worry Annep1....This happened to me at the start of lockdown and I was taken into A&E. I didn’t need to stay in hospital,but was put onto an anticoagulant and beta blockers. (Same as EllanVannin!)
After 8 weeks, I am feeling so much better...I am still waiting for tests(ECG etc)I was dealt with by an NHS doctor and I also managed to find a private cardio one. He has been keeping in contact with me by phone, as there are no consultations in private hospitals where we live due to the Covid problem.
Speak to your own Gp about any problems...Atrial fibrillation is so common nowadays and people cope with it with the correct meds.. It has been an anxious time, but I am sure like me, you will be fine soon...Try not to worry...! The medication takes a while to get into your system remember....

annep1 Thu 21-May-20 23:22:37

Nannatwiglet sounds like you had an acute attack of some kind? I'm glad you're feeling better. That's a long wait for tests. It's not a good time to be ill!
Thank you for reassurance.

Nannatwiglet Fri 22-May-20 08:46:54

Forgot to add....annep1...I was prescribed Propranolol for anxiety. To be taken as and when required.

Do ask your GP for advice.
Good luck!

annep1 Fri 22-May-20 11:35:37

Thanks. Nannatwiglet. Will do.

EllanVannin Fri 22-May-20 11:48:39

Might I add that Atrial Fibrillation itself isn't a killer, but obviously as you get older there is a risk. Other than that, keep taking the pills.

annep1 Fri 22-May-20 19:35:03

That's good EllanVannin, thanks. I'm hoping to speak to the GP tomorrow morning. No letter yet for prescription.

annep1 Wed 27-May-20 23:42:42

Just an update in case anyone is interested. I rang the practice and the receptionist was so helpful when I said I had been waiting for them to receive a letter from cardiologist since 7 May which still hadn't arrived. Long story short, my prescription will be ready tomorrow.
Lucky girl and Pat I did what you suggested and rang the consultant's secretary today. She rang me back very quickly trying both mobile (didn't hear for some reason) and landline. She was really nice and took time to explain and answer questions. The faulty valve is the mitral, unfortunately one that can cause problems - the tricuspid is the one that doesn't. But many people don't get worse. She said it had been classed as mild to moderate but she thinks its mild and a review in 2 years is ok. Irregularity in heart rhythm is common and not concerned. The one thing to watch for is breathlessness with activity, and to report that. Also if I was concerned I could have the review quicker.
It was good to get more info and I couldn't ask for more. None of us are guaranteed perfect health. (I hope the beta blockers are ok. I have M.E. and I'm not great with pills.)
So thanks everyone.

It makes you think though, how precious life is and how we should spend our time wisely and appreciate our family and friends and make good memories.

Puzzler61 Thu 28-May-20 08:30:48

Hope your mind is at rest now Ann and you realise you’re not in imminent danger, and you now have a prescription.
The diagnosis of a new condition is always scary - even more so when no face to deface appointments are available right now for reassurance.
Carry on enjoying life, and remember there are always kindly folk on gransnet happy to chat and help share your worries. Take care 🦋

Puzzler61 Thu 28-May-20 08:31:18

*face , not deface

lemongrove Thu 28-May-20 08:43:18

annep1 😃That’s reassuring for you, isn’t it.Sometimes good to be quite proactive about these things and push for information/action on them.
Hope all will be well for you.🍀