General Question

loser's avatar

What the heck would cause an irregular heartbeat that can be fixed by changing the position my body is in?

Asked by loser (14965points) January 3rd, 2009 from iPhone

I know you all aren’t doctors but I’m just curious if maybe anyone has heard of such a thing. I’ve been all over the net and I can’t find anything.

And so you know, I will be getting this checked out!

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15 Answers

Allie's avatar

Yes, I’ve had this happen before too. I don’t know why though. It doesn’t happen often and I’m pretty sure mine has something to do with drinking alcohol cause it only seems to happen when I’m drunk as I’m lying in bed about to pass out. Anyway.. hope you find out. Sorry I couldn’t help more. Be healthy!!!

augustlan's avatar

It happens to me in bed, too. Just turning over to the other side usually settles it back down. I’m not sure why, though. Hope you (and I) are okay!

sndfreQ's avatar

As a sufferer of hypertension, I have been told that the added weight on the heart may cause additional pressure or increase in blood pressure. If you lay on your right side, the heart is elevated, whereas if you lay on your left, the organs (right lung and liver), may place additional weight on the heart.

Another possibility could be acid reflux or even a hiatal hernia, which causes acid from the stomach to flow up your esophagus, and cause pain and/or discomfort in the chest, which can be mistaken for chest pain, and elevate blood pressure indirectly. You could try sleeping on your back, in a semi-elevated position (prop several pillows behind you, so you’re reclined at a 45 degree angle)...

I’m not a medical professional, so that’s just an expressed opinion of mine; IAC, you should have it checked out soon.

Take care.

much2smile4's avatar

It’s probably just anxiety..

I get palpitations that stop when I lie down, and the doctor says that it’s either anxiety or stress..

And apparently, even though you may not feel stressed you are stressed..

That’s what i’ve been told anyway..

I’ve had to be put on a holter monitor for 24 hours a few times, and that’s all they came back with..

Hopefully they don’t find anything to be severly wrong.

Flavio's avatar

What do you mean when you say irregular heartbeat? Have you identified a pattern?

augustlan's avatar

@Loser: Did you ever get this figured out? Are you feeling ok now?

loser's avatar

It still comes and goes. Very weird.

augustlan's avatar

Did you go to the doc? As you should have young man! :)

loser's avatar

<kicks at small pebbles on the ground while looking down shyly>

Um, no….

augustlan's avatar

Bad boy! Bad, bad!

Allie's avatar

Yous hould go. we dont wan thanything bad to happen to y ou.

augustlan's avatar

I second that, but you know, soberly ;)

sw33tness1132's avatar

When I was on my right side trying to sleep I felt my heart stop for a second. What do you think it could be? can your heart really do that?

tylerdennison's avatar

A detailed answer from a layman who’s had irregular heartbeat: I have had serious two episodes of atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm) which each ultimately required 3 or 4 day hospitalizations. They both began during the night while I was in bed. I believe the direct cause of both episodes was that, when I first lie down, I often have irregular heart rhythm. If I sit up for a minute, the beat returns to regular, and I can lie back down again with no more problem. This very often happens.

Anyway, I believe the times my heart got locked into an irregular beat were times that I laid down, was so tired I failed to notice my initial irregular beat, and fell asleep, sleeping for hours before noticing. By the time I was awake and able to notice, the rhythm couldn’t correct itself and slip back into regular rhythm without the aid of medication.

This is my theory based on my own experience. And to answer you, yes, body position very definitely can cause irregular heartbeat. When you fail to notice the irregular heartbeat early enough, I think it slips into irregular and stays. If this is true, then the solution is simple: just be mindful of your heart rhythm when you lie down for a night’s sleep. If it is immediately irregular, take action. Sit up or switch the side you’re lying on. Or lie flat on your back.

All this, in my experience, seems to occur independent of any blood pressure issues. My blood pressure is good. Two contributory factors, though, may have been caffeine over-consumption during the day, and fatigue. A cardiologist told me that he had this condition himself, and that fatigue is a known contributory factor. I knew caffeine could be a problem without a physician telling me so, from having read about this.

I wasn’t that concerned about the irregular beat until I was told by a nurse at the hospital that you are more apt to “throw a blood clot” during an episode of irregular heartbeat. This is so because the blood pools in the heart without moving along as it constantly must, and it can begin to coagulate. Like any clot, it can pose the bigger health risks of stroke or cardiac arrest. Since then, I have been told the same by doctors in person, and I’ve read the same online. So take it seriously, as a condition that can’t be let go indefinitely.

Good luck.

augustlan's avatar

@tylerdennison Welcome to Fluther, and thanks for such a detailed answer!

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