ectopic heartbeats
ectopic heartbeats


I have had a few ectopic heartbeats in my time and it can be very scary!

It’s the beat then the pause and then the HARD beat. Some of you know exactly what I mean. That forceful beat brings a lot of relief after that PAUSE!!

Here’s the deal.

You will agree with me that any “EXTRA” heartbeat that you can physically feel in your body or neck can upset you.

Here is some of the stuff that I have learned about this -“extra”- ectopic heartbeat thing.


Ectopic means “wrong place” as stated in Ectopic Heart Beats AF Association Australia Patient Information. There is something like an ectopic pregnancy or ectopic eruption (a tooth on the wrong path -basically) So an ectopic heartbeat is a heartbeat that is too early, it’s at the wrong place of the heart rhythm.

It can also be an “extra” beat from the Atria (upper chambers of the heart) or the Ventricles (lower chambers of the heart). It occurs before the normal beat. These “extra” beats can also feel like “thuds” or “forceful” beats that some people feel in their neck.

Ectopic heartbeats are very common and mostly harmless in people who have no other heart disease, but they are scary and can put some people in a panic attack( that included me for a while). Many people are totally unaware that they have an ectopic heartbeat from time to time.

According to Dr Sanjay Gupta having ectopic heartbeats is normal but feeling them is not so normal. This can be linked to people with health anxiety issues.


Your story! for most of the part.

Yes, sometimes it is difficult to pick up the ectopic heartbeats, and a health professional only has your story to go on. An electrocardiogram, ECG or portable monitor can confirm the diagnosis, but it depends on how regular your ectopic heartbeats are.

These exams and tests which would also include a physical exam (Medline Plus) may often not show ectopic heartbeats. If your ECG is normal and there are no symptoms your doctor may say that no other tests are needed and you are OK.

This does not mean that it’s just in your head! It just means that it cannot be picked up during the examination period. Your health professional will know what to look for if there are any other serious heart or health problems.


You feel your heartbeat and the palpitations.

It feels like your heart stops, or skips a beat.

There may be forceful or hard beats that you can even feel in your neck.

Your heart is pounding.

Or there may be no symptoms at all!


Premature Atrial Contraction (PAC) which originates in the heart’s Atria (upper chambers) or,

Premature Ventricular Contraction (PVC) when the premature beat comes from the Ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart.


I have experienced most of my ectopic heartbeats, if not all, when I had a full or bloated stomach. The feeling that my stomach had something to do with this extra hard beats was always there. To explain this to my doctor always felt so stupid. The way I made sense of it was the following: Because I have an enlarged atrium I thought my heart was larger than normal and because of that, when my stomach was full, I could “feel” my heartbeats.

The real reason is a bit more complex and I will do my best to try and explain it.

The vagus nerve is also called the wandering nerve because it travels throughout the body. It actually extends from the brain to the stomach. It is also called the “mixed” nerve because signals are going in both ways. An irritated vagus nerve causes symptoms that vary widely.

How ectopic beats happen or start I will explain in another post.

When my stomach expands due to overeating or excess gas my vagus nerve comes under pressure. This sends haywire signals to my brain and heart and causes ectopics. Usually, my ectopic heartbeats do not last very long.

Burping or passing gas/wind works wonders for me, and rescues me from my ectopic heartbeats.

Getting a detox could also help. Try the Red Tea Detox.

Everyone is different and maybe taking extra magnesium, probiotics, chewing your food better,  taking ginger capsules or just moving around and adjusting your position can help.

If you want to support this site please make a donation.

I am no Doctor or health professional and am only speaking out of my own experience and research. Please ask your own doctor, caregiver or health professional, if you want to take any new supplement or vagus/vagal maneuver. But do ask as many questions as you can.

If this was helpful please let me know, and leave a comment.

Have you had any ectopic heartbeats?

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  1. Hi I started getting ectopic beats in November 2017 I had an ecg and a scan with a cardiologist and a holter. I had 57 ectopics over 24 hours. Why do they start? & how do I get rid of them? I’m so scared for my health. Apparently everything is fine but I want them to go and I have super bad health anxiety. I am really enjoying your articles.thanks

    1. With a recording of only 57 abnormal beats, you’re worrying over nothing, I had a recent monitor that captured 2,920 PACs and I was reassured that that number isn’t compatible with high grade atrial irritability. Over the course of a 24 hour period the heart can contract more than 80,000 times. So, you see why a number of 57 means nothing to worry about. Get on with your life, until you have something to worry about. I have a congenital heart defect and I’m still trying to live my life without worry, because that would only make me sicker.

      1. I don’t think that’s fair to tell Julia to get over it just because you had more ectopic events. (That’s how your post sounds whether you meant it to or not.) Health anxiety sucks for everyone. She’s looking for help in working through them, not looking to be dismissed because your’s happened more frequently.

    2. They never pick mine up but it seems to be getting worse…i hate that they say everything is okay when this is stopping me from leaving my bed…the anxiety is beyond controllable….

  2. Hello
    I would love some help with ectopic beats.i have ventricular ectopics. Started last Nov out of the blue. About 57 a day. I’m so scared and want them to go away. I hate feeling them.i purchased your book.not sure if it will help me i do t have afib. Any help would be great 😀

    1. Hi Julia.
      Dr Sanjay Gupta says that one of our greatest problems with Ectopics is our FEAR. In short, the more we fear the more we feel and react to them and so it goes on. Once I started conquering my fear the Ectopics got less, or I did not feel them that much. Here is a link to 2 of his videos.
      Also read my other post:
      I know it sounds too easy, but try some of the tips and do the breathing exercises.
      Hope it helps, and find what works for you.

    2. Started having extra systolic heartbeats in 2014. Thought that I was going to die, I was so scared. It comes and goes but the past 2 days I had it a lot, even woke up at 4 this morning due to one. I was laying on my left side. When I have it I totally freak out. Wish it could just go away. The specialist and my go was so chilled about this.

  3. Thank you so much. I appreciate your help. I will watch the links. I have no idea why my post was posted twice. Sorry and thank you 😀

  4. I have been having palpitations over the past month, firstly they were just occasional but now I am in a constant trigemini, I have a 24 hour tape booked in two weeks, I am a very chilled out person and I do not worry about things, I am well aware that this things can just happen, I don’t like the way they feel but I put up with it. I am fit an healthy and I run regularly. I am hoping that they will go as quick as they came. reading your notes are good as it gives a better perspective than medical pages

  5. Thank u very much. It is a very helpful article.
    My heart is pouncing in a daily basis. I did ECG, Ultrasound blood tests and x-ray. Everything was normal. Honestly I’m scared. Your article (irritated vagus nerve) might
    be the reason for what i have.
    The again

    1. Hi Moatasem
      Hope you get some answers. Unfortunately, I think it will be difficult for your doctor to say if it definitely is an irritated vagus nerve, but take notes of what you eat, if you are tense and see how your “stomach – vagus nerve” reacts.
      Also very important is to do your own research!
      Hope you are better very soon.

  6. Thank u very much. My heart is pouncing in a daily basis. I did all tests for my heart and all the results were good. Now I might have what I read in your article
    Thank u again

  7. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to have found your site!! I have been having this since I was pregnant with my third son last year- it was exactly a year ago that I drove myself to the ER with a pulse of 137 bpm and thus entered what has now been s year long odyssey of figuring this out. I always hold the doctors that it was tied to what I ate, which I initially believed to be a glycemic index issue. I’ve had a few diagnosis (premature atrial fibrillation when pregnant). Self-diagnosed a magnesium deficiency and have been using it topically and this has helped tremendously. Found that alcohol is a major irritant, as is anything that would classically cause indigestion. Been eating tums most nights aside from when I ate paleo gluten free and had no symptoms! With the inevitable gluttony of the season I have over indulged and had two scary episodes in the past week where, for the first time, I felt he missed beats!!! Almost drive myself to the hospital again, but my pulse slowed down over a couple of hours with the last one and quicker tonight. In my desperation I took to the googles and found the wealth of info you have shared. THANK YOU!!! I always explained it as my body was having a panic attack and it was connected somehow to what I ate. I will still see my primary or a cardiologist to rule out additional possible causes, but am sure this is what is going on. You’ve really made such a difference for me.

    1. I am very glad that my story and experiences have helped you. Please keep me updated, and I hope you understand this “monster” better.

  8. Passed out in church 9 months ago. All the tests several specialists nothing wrong except I have been avid exercise advocate for 50 years. Cardiologist says over reative vagus nerve, must learn to deal with it. Most triggers come from bowels and involuntary holding breath when concentrating on something.

  9. Hey! Thanks for sharing it.
    I have been so scared myself. First arrhythmia happened 4 years ago and it would last a few minutes in a while. Drove myself to ER and nothing caught in the EKG. I been struggling with this coming and going until this year when I had some episodes of pain in chest and skip beats and my heart would raise to 200 bpm. I recorded it all in the Apple Watch 4. Then, I decided to go to the doctor and now I am still getting checked. He said he thinks that this PVC but needs to be sure. For the worse things see the discomfort that it causes since it is so abrupt and the panic kit causes. Since I also have health anxiety! Thanks for sharing your experience

  10. I too have been having heart flutters on and off for 2 yrs. I always thought it was like a gas bubble. I didn’t know what specialist to see… I have pain under my left rib cage at times also like a ulcer or hiatus hernia. Google and found your site. I am thinking the vagus nerve is the problem. I’ll keep trying the techniques. Thank you

  11. I have had ectopics for a number of years, always related to gas as Judy said a gas bubble. Pain under my left rib cage ..Dr. tested enzymes for the pancreas. So easy to say don’t worry, but I do agree deep breathing … elevating head at night, eat nothing 3hrs. before bed. taking “pantoprazole” to block acid, gerd is evidently a part of this…in my case… pull up your spine, don’t hold your breath; slow deep breaths help. So good to see others share with this, as my 23yr old grand daughter has them too, that’s the age when I noticed them.

  12. In case anyone is wondering they should check to see if they have LOW stomach acid. I gave myself a bad spell of them 2 years ago from drinking alkialine water and eating too much water melon lol, weird I know. Experienced tremendous fear for 3 days as I was having thousands of them. I took some apple cider vinegar and started restoring my stomach acid and it went down to 10 the next day, then 2. Now I have anywhere from 1-10 a day on average and I can handle that. Still believing for complete healing but maybe somebody here is getting them for the same reason I was. Forums like this were very encouraging to me to see I wasn’t the only one going through it. It’s tormenting when you don’t know what’s going on. So thanks.

    1. Hi Rylee

      Thank you for your comment. I do not have much experience or knowledge of LOW stomach acid. Maybe some of the readers have more info on it, and leave a few comments.

    2. Hi, my holter records 4k ectopic beats. However doc says they can burn only when it goes beyond 10k. So I have to find alternative solution. I heard about this apple seeder vinegar. Could You let me know what quantity and which Brad is good to go? Thanks

      1. Hi Praveen

        I have never used Seeder vinegar so I don’t know about the quantities.
        Maybe someone visiting this site can give guidance, but I suggest you rather ask a doctor or medical professional.
        People can only talk about what worked for them and give suggestions. Hopefully, you get a few.

        Thanx for your comment and question.

  13. I’ve had arrhythmia issues for 19 years. Started with PVC’s when I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. About 4 years ago they went away. A year later I started having runs of extra beats. This comes and goes, very random. ECG is normal. Cholesterol and BP are normal. I’m sick of the anxiety this causes.

  14. Thank you for your posts. I have been dealing with irregular heartbeats for years but only really starting having them frequently 2weeks ago. I’ve been told my heart is fine. Drs have chalked it up to menopause and hormones shifting. Although I’m sure that plays a role, my worst episodes happens right after I eat. I have been having almost daily indigestion. I tend to feel the palpations less after burping and/or the zantac kicks in. I had no idea the correlation between stomach and heart until I started googling. I’m grateful for what I have learned here and look forward to researching more.

  15. It’s 4am in the morning .. palpitations woke me up and my stomach is gurgling Horrible dose of ectopics, which seem to be getting worse despite breathing exercises Suffered from this for years and years Had heart MRI scan 6 months ago after heart attack and stent fitted ..All is wonderfully well with my heart so why after something serious happening that I took very calmly does this always always feel like a situation in which I am not calm at all .. Am supposed to go on holiday tomorrow but dont want to go anywhere in this condition Reading more about Vegas nerve and trying to be calm educating myself ….Hoping I have a hiatal hernia so some5hing can be done!!! Eating triggers episodes despite being careful about saturated fat nowadays Interesting that we all feel physically that there is a correlation between tum and ectopics … Good to read I’m not alone but on the other hand Im sorry you are all suffering too Its a really ghastly condition to live with …..

    1. Hi Pam

      I know it’s horrible!
      But I think sometimes it’s very good just to let your feelings out about this Ectopic “THING”
      Hope you feel much better soon.

  16. It looks that we are all in the same page. Having those symptoms can drive you crazy and then when the Dr. tells you “everything is in your mind” really bothers me. Anxiety sky rockets with the filling that you are going to pass away on those events. I have visited ER tens of times in 6 months. For the moment, I have not been diagnosed but I continue my quest. Already have visited family, cardio, internal, ENT, endocrine, nephrologist, oral surgeon (by the way, a cyst on top of a molar was discovered with a TAC), neurologist, electrophysiologyst, and now I am visiting the gastro (will have endoscopy). I just don’t want to list down all the tests that I have been into. In addition, very frequent throat infections (Antibiotics have destroyed my stomach/flora).
    I wonder how much radiation, needles, pills and blood sucking will I tolerate.
    Life can become miserable with all the thoughts and anxiety.

    1. Hi George
      Don’t give up.
      During my anxiety journey, I came to a point where I just said “whatever!” I did not give up but I did make a stand and decided that fear will not rule my life.
      It did not happen overnight but I did overcome fear in many areas of my life.
      You can do it!

  17. I started suffering from Ectopic beats 10 years ago when I was 23. went to the doctors had ECG / Echo/ 24 hour holter. Doctor told me I had a Right branch bundle Block ( RBBB) but nothing to worry about.
    Ectopics largely dormant for 10 years except after drinking Alcohol.
    This year my Ectopic returned. I had 3 occasions where I was woken at 3am with racing heart beat in my neck. The third time it lasted for a while and I didn’t feel well so went to A&E.
    In May I saw a Cardiologist , had ECG / Echo and 14 day monitor.
    Cardiologist confirmed Ectopic beats and ectopic “Salvo’s” ( multiple beats in a row)
    But told me these were less than 1% of overall heartbeats.
    Suggested I manage via lifestyle, reduce anxiety linked to my Ectopic’s and reassured me I shouldn’t worry despite getting these every day.
    I also believe my Ectopics are linked to eating and anxiety. As I write this I’m having a few Ectopic s as I struggle to digest my breakfast !

    From my experience management of this issue is trial and error I am trying;
    – magnesium supplements
    – exercise
    – cut out caffeine and alcohol
    – CBT ( cognitive therapy ) for my health related anxiety.

    I hope you all find some relief and that this is helpful. In summary I would say accepting these ectopic beats for what they are and staying calm has been most helpful to allow them to pass.

  18. I noticed I felt some skipped beats (PAV/PAC) after working out hard a few years back, didnt think anything of it because I didnt feel any other symptoms and assumed that because I my heart was working at max rate it was reasonable to feel something odd. Then I had several nights I noticed them as I was going to bed, but didnt bother me much until I started noticing them before going to bed and relaxing. The increasing frequency caused me to go to urgent care and had some blood work and a quick ECG, all was normal. I also got a 24 hour monitor during which time I felt no skipped feelings, though the report said there were rare isolated ventricular and super ventricular ectopy. I made an appointment with my PCM who referred me to a cardiologist and I got a 15 day monitor, Echocariogram and a Nuclear stress test. During my 15 day monitoring I had probably several occasions per day where I would feel something and hit the record button, but the day after I took off the monitor I probably had more palpitations over the next 36 hours and maybe the whole time on the monitor, it was while I was going to sleep, all throughout the day… it was bad. What I wanted to say though was I began to notice that whenever I was getting the skipped beats I was also burping right after, almost every time. Another night I was having frequent palpitations I noticed I had a lot of burping and gas and then they stopped and my heart rate and chest all felt calm again. The next day I didnt eat until 11am and had not experienced any palpitations, and minutes after taking a few bites of some food I was burping and getting gas and the palpitations returned. I’m strongly suspecting some king of GI/vagus nerve connections but there doesnt seem to be a lot of medical literature that links GI problems to this, not that Ive found anyways.

    Im 33 otherwise pretty healthy male, I stopped drinking caffeine about 2 months ago and stopped my already minimal alcohol intake just in case, but it apparently didnt change anything as Ive had more palpitations in the last 2 weeks than in my whole previous remembrance.

    I follow up with the cardiologist in a few days to go over what the tests showed and see what he says. I wanted to see if anyone here has had any success in their treatment strategies? Did fixing your gut help, or taking extra magnesium maybe? Just hoping this is the result of some bodily/hormone changes related to aging and wont continue…

    1. Hi Dan,

      I have had some success. Magnesium supplementation, stretching, yoga, exercise and cutting out caffeine and alcohol I believe have all helped…. However, I’m convinced that my underlying triggers are stress and anxiety.

      On family holidays my ectopic beats have been almost eliminated, even when working out hard or at times drinking alcohol. I had 3 weeks off of work and felt fantastic. I had some CBT therapy that also seemed to make a difference.

      Recently however I have started a new job, and I have noticed an increase in my ectopics again. Today I had to get up at 3am for an international flight for work and my ectopics have been regular all day. I don’t like being away from my family so this reaction is logical.

      So, I’m summary I’d say the real key is understanding your triggers, managing them where it is reasonable and practical, but not over thinking it.
      It sounds like your anxiety levels raised after the monitoring, and from experience now you have recognised your ectopic beats it can be hard to put them out of your mind. The thought Arrest article on this thread gives very good advice.

      From my experience my best strategy to manage this issue is relaxation, and remembering this issue is benign, I will be ok, and so will you.

      Best of luck.

    2. Hi dan… I’ve experienced the exact same things as you. I would have a feeling of a slipped beat with then a hard thumping beat some times this would go on for hours .If was almost always triggered by food. And a lot of burping and then finally it would subside only to start again after my next meal. During my google search I came across roemheld syndrome and it describes my symptoms exactly. I began to take magnesium, a probiotic, digestive enzymes and coq10 and it has helped tremendously also started meditating to help calm my vagus nerve.

  19. Hey guys!
    My story starts 12 years ago when I got pregnant with my 3rd child. One morning, when I was 4 months pregnant, I was cleaning the bathroom and I started to have wicked tachycardia. My HR was up to about 180. I had never experienced anything like it before, and I was a gymnast for 13 years prior to having kids.
    Anyway, I was having the “skipped beats” along with the severe tachycardia.. so I was tripping out pretty hard.
    Went to the hospital, they told me everything was fine and that this was normal.. umm, not normal for me but okay!
    At the time, I wasn’t drinking caffeine, I wasn’t smoking cigarettes and I wasn’t on any type of medication.

    I saw a cardiologist who dismissed me and said all of it was normal right after the first event.. so I gave up and just dealt with the tachycardia and PVC/PACs.
    About 4 years ago, I noticed if I ate food too soon after waking up, that the palpitations and tachycardia would get triggered. So I stopped eating breakfast.
    In the past two years, the “skipped beats” generally don’t happen as often.. unless I’m about to start my period. Then I’m constipated and bloated and definitely notice a huge uptick in tachycardia/missed beats.

    I feel them coming on usually, because my chest feels heavy and I feel like there is a brick in my stomach.
    I can usually sit up very straight and do a gentle stomach massage and make the symptoms stop.
    Today is 11/17/2020
    I noticed there are no dates on the other posts.

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