Palpitations when flying?

Hey PMC!

Hope this post finds all of you blessed and feeling well. I wanted to find out from others if they’ve experience palpitations when flying. Ever since the PM I’ve noticed I get really bad palpitations once in the air. I’ve taken something to relax me (Ativan) but they still persist. Once I land I start to feel better. Anyone else experience this or found a way to stop/reduce them? Thanks for any input and thanks for reading my post. Take care everyone! 

God Bless


Sounds like anxiety

by Lavender - 2023-01-09 09:18:21

I have severe claustrophobia following a long period of being stuck in a tiny elevator with a verbally abusive man-no room to even sit down while waiting to get out. Psychologist therapy etc isn't able to fix this. I tried several methods.

When I fly, I take Ativan -although I never take any meds otherwise. The Ativan makes me barely tolerate it. I still have to mentally zone out or I want out of the plane. Once I stepped in, looked down the aisle and had to be forced in by my guy.  Lol Another time, there was a delay in taking off once we were in our seats and I was thinking of making them let me out. 

Knowing you feel better on the ground, makes me think it's anxiety about flying. 

Palpitations and bumpy rides

by Gotrhythm - 2023-01-09 11:47:10

I have frequently observed palpitations come and go during flights. The rougher the flight, the more palpitions, but they can happen even on completely routine flights. Often there are several bumps as the landing gear is retracted, as well as bumps and dips as the plane travels through different layers of air. Once the plane levels off at cruizing altitude, the ride smooths out and the palpitations go away. Off course, it we hit a patch of turbulence, they start again.

What's happening is that the pacemaker is sensing the vibrations caused by my body moving up and down rapidly and thinks I'm exercising, so it gives me a little heartrate boost.

The same thing can happen on a bumpy road. Once, it even happened at a pipe organ concert because of the intense vibrations of the base notes.

Anyhow, it's probably not a sign that anything bad is about to happen. The best thing to do with palpitations is take deep, relaxing breaths until they go away.

By the way, I love to fly, and I'm not prone to motion sickness. I think the bumps are kind of fun. The palpitations? They just add a little extra spice.

"The palpitations? They just add a little extra spice."

by AgentX86 - 2023-01-09 16:49:30

Too funny! 🤣

It's probably not relevant here but remember to drink loads of water when flying, even if it means a trip to the little noisey room. Aircraft cabins are dry. Even though you don't sweat, or don't think you do, you'll lose a lot of water in just a few hours.

Palpitations when flying

by Gemita - 2023-01-10 04:16:13

Hello Alejandro, where are you flying to?  Would it be for your special heart appointment, or somewhere nicer?

I do recall when I was first diagnosed with an arrhythmia (Atrial Fibrillation) before episodes were well managed with medication, I had to fly to a relative’s funeral in Germany (only 1 hour+ away from London) and I did suffer quite badly during the flight from my palpitations, but as I say that was before I was given medication to calm them down.

Does flying affect a heart condition?  That would be another question.  High altitudes can worsen some irregular heart rhythms I have been told.  This has certainly happened to me as stated above.  I attach a link Alejandro on navigating air travel for those with cardiovascular concerns.   Might be helpful:

Good luck and please let us know when you have further news on any diagnosis

Thank you!

by arentas80 - 2023-01-10 05:35:17

That is why I love this site! Always useful information provided by the members! Believe it or not I had no idea planes were "dry" as AgentX86 noted. I will definitely be drinking more water now. I have been wearing compression socks when I travel so I hope that's been helping. 

Gemita- the article you provided was very informative. Thank you! Years ago I stopped riding roller coasters because I felt what I know now to be palpitations. I wonder if the physiologic responses are more sensitive in my body. Yes I do feel a little anxiety but I definitely can tell the difference in how I feel once up in the air. 

I came back home to see family. No special doctor visits this trip. I have my UCLA follow up on 1/24 so I'll post an update once the results are in 🙏🏼

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