caffeine

After over 2 years of having a Boston Scientific Atrial pacer, I'm now having all these missed beats, and what feels like very short pauses (< 1-2 secs).  I have contacted my cardiologist and I have an appt in 3 days with electrophysiology to interrogate my device.  I'm wondering what part caffeine plays in this, if any? I work nights so of course caffeine is a part of my life. Has anyone ran into caffeine problems with their devices?


2 Comments

""Missing"" beats

by AgentX86 - 2020-06-06 00:36:05

These are most likely PACs (Premature Atrial Contractions) or PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions).  They aren't missing beats at all, rather an early beat caused by something other than the normal sequence (ectopic).  They feel like a missing beat because the blood hasn't completely filled the heart before this early beat happens, so the beat isn't felt.  The next beat happens in more or less the right time so it feels like a beat is completly missing and everything else is OK. 

These PACs and PVCs are so common in everyone that there is no point in having the pacemaker record them all (couldn't if it were important).  Pacemakers are programmed to only respond to a string of PACs or PVCs.  While this string length is programmable, it's a large number (mine has a minium number of 5) compared to what you're feeling.

Caffeine can certainly cause and/or increase the number of PVCs and PACs.  A larger contribution is dehydration and if you're not getting enough of the trace metals (primarily potassium and magnesium) it will certainly cause all sorts of rhythm problems. 

Caffeine

by Gemita - 2020-06-07 05:37:14

Hello Bob,

For many of us caffeine will cause palpitations depending on the strength and frequency of our intake.  My cardiologist told me to avoid coffee/strong tea (and even chocolate which contains caffeine) with my arrhythmias but I don't take caffeine anyway so it wasn't the cause in my particular case.  (But when I took coffee in the past, it caused immediate palpitations).

My brother works some night shifts and this can really take a toll on his health.  Are you able to get quality sleep during the day because lack of sleep will play a part ?  

It is not for everyone, but I drink "Barleycup" which is an instant hot drink like making coffee or tea.  Add boiling water and milk.  It is free from caffeine and is made from roasted barley, rye and chicory.  You can add more to make it stronger and you can have as many cups as you wish to keep you going.  Sometimes caffeine will affect the quality of our sleep, so please consider an alternative drink which should help.  Also caffeine might give you an immediate boost but then you feel like crashing which isnt good for our heart or body.  Caffeine can also make us dehydrated and this can lead to a further feeling of tiredness, so it is a vicious circle.  You need to drink lots of water or find an alternative beverage.

Also eat a protein meal before starting your shifts, or take a protein meal into work.  Try to avoid a heavy carbohydrate load like a sandwich made with white bread which will just make you extremely lethargic and wanting to sleep without a coffee fix. Maybe try a handful of nuts instead of a sandwich when you start to feel hungry for a quick pick me up.

It is miserable I know and I hope you can find the right solution for you

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