85+ Heart Rate for 2 Days


I was hoping to get some of your opinions on what could be going on. I am 20 years old and have had a pacemaker since i was 7 months so I am not new to this or anything, but recently I think my pacemaker has been acting up. My current pacemaker is a ST. Jude and i had it put in Nov. 2017. For the last 2 days my heart rate has been rouly 85-90. Normally my pacemaker keeps me in thw 70s and all the down to 55 at night. This almost 90bpm heart rate has been keeping me up, and waking me up for the last two nights. 

I know that i am under a lot of stress right now, so I was wondering if that could be the cause of it? This is also my 1st St. Jude pacemaker so I am not sure what all of its signs are.(my medtronic gave me tunnel vision and a buzzing in my ears when it was low on battery) i was hoping one of you might know how serious this is and if i should go find a cardiologist.(my college shut down so i am living on the other side of the usa from my cardiologist) I don't want to freak out, and don't want to go to a cardiologist 1)because my insurance won't cover it and 2) because if this is minor i don't want to put myself at risk of COVID.


I woukd appreciate any and all advice, I am just trying not to freak out.





85 BPM

by AgentX86 - 2020-04-15 11:15:49

An 85bpm heart rate isn't usually dangerous but being unusually high FOR YOU is reason to get it checked out. It's likely Afib or Aflutter but your rate is on the low side for those. Is your heartbeat regular? If it is, it's unlikely to be Afib (the most common heart problem  by a mile) but it could be flutter. Or nothing at all.

Your problem is figuring out if it's one of these. The consequences can be catastrophic. Both put you at risk of stroke. If your heartbeat is irregular, you don't have much of a choice. You need to see a cardiologist or (preferably an EP) ASAP.

OTOH, if it's regular and stays below 100bpm,  it's less urgent. You might try taking magnesium supplements and eat something high in potassium (dangerous stuff in high doses so supplements are by prescription only). Bananas are good. Both magnesium and potassium deficiencies can cause arrhythmias. Sodium, too, but that's exceedingly rare with salt laden western food.

higher rate

by Tracey_E - 2020-04-15 12:09:57

They don't get too stressed unless it's staying over 100 but any change is worth a call to your doctor, esp if it's keeping you awake. If I have too much caffeine, my rate will jump up and stay up sometimes. Other times it's fine, wish I had a crystal ball to know what kind of day it is before I pour the coffee! Stress can do it also. Have you taken cold or migraine meds? They have speed up the heart rate. Or it could be something else is going on. I would not do supplements without consulting your doctor, and they won 't work quickly anyway, if they even work. 

Do you have a remote monitor that you can send a download? I'd call your doctor if they are far away, see what they think you should do. Lots of offices are only doing telephone appointments anyway right now so it doesn't much matter if you are across the country. There are meds that will bring your rate down. 

Disagree totally

by AgentX86 - 2020-04-15 14:53:17

Electrolytes work as soon as they hit the bloodstream - within minutes. If you're dehydrated (low electrolytes, really) effect is IMMEDIATE, if that's the problem. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of transient arrhythmia. Nerves and muscles need the trace metals to function properly and one of the first signs can be arrhythmia (the heart IS muscle and nerve tissue).

Sodium and magnesium are self-limiting well before one can overdose on them, though there is rarely a need for more sodium than we get from our diet. Potassium, not so much (neither self-limiting nor rarely get too little). This is why potassium supplements are by prescription. Bananas aren't though. Coconut water is also a good source of potassium.

Magnesium is a little harder to come by, so supplementing it may be a good idea (though forget magnesium oxide for anything but your nose). Dark chocolate is one of my favorite sources of magnesium. ;-). For a supplement look for an organic form for best absorption. You may have to try a few different forms. Some work really well for me and some not so well.

Apple Watch?

by arentas80 - 2020-04-15 16:29:20


Do you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or later? I ask because it has an ECG feature that works pretty decent. I just sent about 10 different strips to the doctor that each last 30 seconds. They told me I'm good, not showing any arrhythmias but if you have one it wouldn't hurt to send it to a doc. If you don't know how to export them PM me and I can walk you through it. It's a really neat feature. Wish you all the best!


Agent X

by Tracey_E - 2020-04-15 18:29:41

Disagree all you want, your advice is walking the line of PRESCRIBING. We are not doctors, even if we were we aren't Abi's doctor and don't know her history so telling her to take something is a really bad idea. 



by AgentX86 - 2020-04-15 20:20:19

Dehydration is a very common cause of arrrhythmias and can easily be corrected with food, even.  Eating a diet with the appropiate metals is no different than taking the supliments directly, or are you saying that one shouldn't have a healthy diet either?  Or would you just not tell someone to eat healthy foods?  Good grief!


by Benjijohn - 2020-04-16 00:44:54

I have the same problem when I drink alcohol. And another time, I had the same issue without any reason. After a blood test and it turned out to be Hyperthyroidism and ended in thyroidectomy

In any case, you are your own best doctor. If you think this is unusual, you should not hesitate 1 second and go to the doctor. The increased stress may also worsen the situation

I know it will cost a lot, and is very dangerous at the moment to go to hospitals, but I would strongly suggest you to see your doctor

Wish you the best


by IAN MC - 2020-04-16 05:24:17

It doesn't sit happily with me the advice that you should increase your intake of trace metals / electrolytes . I would only do this if your Dr recommends it.

I believe you have legislation in the U.S. which requires this disclaimer on all non - prescription food supplements :-

" This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease "   ( makes you wonder exactly what they are for, doesn't it  !!! )

Next,  people may start telling you to take bee pollen and horny goat weed...... so beware of some opinions which  you read on here. That's all they are ...opinions.

Tracey, as always , gives good advice.

A normal resting heart-rate is anything between 60 and 100 bpm but if you have symptoms and your heart-rate continues to bother you,then  I hope that you, and your doctor, will sort it out.

Best of luck



Mild Increase in heart rate

by Selwyn - 2020-04-16 07:39:53

Hi Buzbuz9,

I would echo Tracy's advice.

Check your pulse to may sure it is regular. If it is irregular contact your doctor. Your heart rate is not dangerous if you are otherwise fit and well.

Causes of a regular, raised heart rate 

1. Stress

2. Caffeine and other drugs ( as Tracy sugests, includes alcohol, smoking, stimulants)

3. Overactive thyroid ( usually has weight loss, though may not, and a fine tremor- a bit like stess!)

4.During and after exercise

5. Ilness, such as having a temperature 

6. Increased blood pressure

7. Electrolyte disturbance (Agent X86 alludes to this)

8. Other nasties...which if you are well I would forget about.

You rightly point out that stress may be the cause. Generally speaking there is cause and effect.  Stress is a major cause of folk having increase heart rate and rarely they end in hospital with a 'sinus tachycardia'. Caffeinated drinks ( tea, coffee, cola, Red Bull etc.) worsen stress and the increased heart rate. I have decaffeinated myself - expect a headache! Alcohol worsens the situation if taken in quantity or regularly. A little, as a one off is neither here nor there.  Exercise helps stress and gives a sense of relaxation and well being. It should be physical exercise that heats you up. This is probably the most useful advice for someone as fit as yourself.  Also, there are plenty of relaxation exercises on-line ( this is different from physical exercise). I would recommend these to you, especially the practice of diaphragmatic breathing. They will also help you get to sleep at night. Hot baths are useful as a form of muscle relaxation. If you like Yoga and that sort of thing this may help.

In tackling anxiety it is important to stop yourself thinking too far ahead. What we can think of in our heads is worse than reality.  You can train yourself not to do this. There are excellent on-line help sites for anxiety.  

I would not seek help by taking ANY substance unless under medical supervision. Any symptom that does not respond to simple measures, as above, that is ongoing will need a medical opinion as the list of posibilities  is quite long.

All I can say...

by AgentX86 - 2020-04-16 17:51:42

Is if trace metals (AKA "electrolytes") are scary, then you must have to change underwear after seeing an advertisement for Gatorade.  Good grief, people!


I have a question about chronotropic incompetence

by Gotrhythm - 2020-04-17 17:55:47

I don't know what is causing your increase in heartrate. I have nothing to recommend. But I did wonder: Do you have chronotropic incompetence?

In other words, is your heart incapable of speeding up without the help of the pacemaker? 

Mine is. No matter how stressed I get, my heartrate, at rest, will not increase. My blood pressure will go up, but pulse, never. My heartrate will stay at the pacemaker base rate until the pacemaker senses movement.

But early on, I still had some degree of chronotropic competence.  My heart would speed up some times, including under stress. The problem was that the resting rate would fall too low--and there were 4-6 second pauses.

So I wonder if you have chronotropic competence or chronotropic incompetence. It would be a clue about where to look for the cause of your increased heartrate at rest.



Apple watch

by NVjumper - 2020-04-18 12:36:58

Hi. I have Apple Watch 5 and Alive Cor Kardia AND ILR. Got the first 2 while waiting for ILR. Unfortunately I have not found Watch helpful as ECG is only 30 seconds, though you can repeat multiple  times. The Kardia you can do for up to 5 minutes. Both are easy to send PDFs to your Dr .  So if your issue is constant enough  you might be benefitted. My issues are episodic so by the time I  sit still enough to get good  reading they tend to go away.   Hope this helps 

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Since I got my pacemaker, I don't pass out anymore! That's a blessing in itself.