Is a "racing heart" normal for someone with heart disease after a bypass?

3 answers | Last updated: Dec 07, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Since my mother had a bypass operation a month ago, she has been complaining that it feels like her heart is "racing out of control." Is this normal?

Expert Answers

Barry M. Massie is chief of cardiology at the San Francisco V.A. Medical Center.

It's not uncommon, but that doesn't mean it's nothing to be concerned about. Your mother's symptoms should be reported to her physician immediately.

The most common cause of a racing heart is atrial fibrillation, a rapid and irregular heartbeat that occurs in up to half of patients who have a bypass or other cardiac operation. While atrial fibrillation in itself isn't particularly dangerous, it can lead to blood clots in the heart that may cause strokes or other complications. Atrial fibrillation usually occurs soon after surgery, but it can recur in the first couple of months.

Your mother's physician will likely order an electrocardiogram (EKG). Depending on the results, her doctor may want to prescribemedication to slow your mother's heart rate or return her normal rhythm, use an electric shock to "convert" the rhythm back to normal,or, if the abnormal rhythm persists, use blood thinners (warfarin or coumadin) to prevent blood clots from forming.

Community Answers

Doctor logan answered...

An arterial bypass is serious surgery requiring regualar checkups. The cause of racing heartbeat is often, if left untreated by sinetal elongator types of heart medication to extend or elongate the pulse, the condition can cause another heart attack or stroke. It is also important to prevent the post surgical complications by taking your medication as prescribed. Meditation and relaxation excercises have been known to also solve racing heartbeat syndrome in patients.

Professor Ben Logan M.D.I.D.L

A fellow caregiver answered...

My doctor precribed me 1,1/2 hours of walding (without exertion) since I had bypass surgery, no blood transfussion, in 2006. As of to date I have kept his advise by walding 90 minutes (about 2.5 to 3.5 miles) at least 4 days per week. I have continued to take my blood pressure medications as directed, I am having my 80th. birthday celebration next April and remain happily married to my wife of 56 years.

So please, all of you who are in the same health situation, follow very seriously the advise of your physician, excercise yourself up to your capabilities and you will LIVE.

The Bible also says, "Follow the advise of your parents and you will live longer".