Treating the Root Cause of a Racing Heart: A Case Study -- By Conner Keyeski, APRN
Mary*, a 40-year-old woman, experienced two episodes of palpitations with a racing heart rate and heavy chest sensations that sent her to the emergency department. She came to Atma clinic for a second opinion and to get a different perspective on these health challenges.
Mary's path to us was long and complicated, yet didn't bring her the relief she sought. She had already, in working with her primary care provider, ruled out an acute cardiac event. Labs had revealed that she was anemic and was given a prescription for iron, which made her very nauseated and caused her to stop taking it.
She was referred to cardiology to have an echocardiogram, ECG, and Holter monitor placed, all of these tests came back negative. She was then prescribed a beta blocker to help regulate her heart rate, which she did not tolerate and stopped taking. She was sent to another cardiologist, an electrophysiologist for a second opinion, who repeated the home Holter monitoring, which revealed a one-time event of an elevated heart rate. She was then offered an ablation procedure (costing upwards of $25,000 and a 4 year follow up period) to block the abnormal heart rate.
Up until these episodes, Mary did not have many health issues, and she did not have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. She ate a healthy diet and exercised routinely. But now facing the ablation procedure decision, she decided to see what Atma could offer her.
Mary’s hour-long physical appointment allowed ample time to gather information and determine the next best steps for her, which included necessary labs to obtain and gave us the opportunity to discuss contributing factors.
We also discussed other symptoms she experienced, including insomnia, fatigue and brain fog. She was also facing work related stress during this time, so we suggested she practice relaxation and stress relieving techniques.
A more thorough look at her labs -- including iron panel, full thyroid panel, hormones and inflammation levels -- revealed iron deficiency, B vitamin deficiency, magnesium deficiency, slightly elevated thyroid levels, and hormone imbalance. She was started on a chelated iron supplement that is easier on the stomach in addition to targeted supplements. At this point we decided not to start thyroid or hormone supplementation or medication until we resolved her nutritional and iron deficiencies. She postponed her appointment for the cardiac ablation.
Mary's follow-up labs six weeks later showed resolution of her anemia and iron deficiency, and more importantly, she had not had any episodes of palpitations. She reported sleeping better and having more energy during the day. She cancelled her cardiac ablation, and we plan to recheck thyroid and hormone panels in the future.
The Atma approach allows the time to gather details and determine the best next steps for each person specific to their needs.
______ Conner Keyeski, APRN RN, is one of our practitioners focused on holistic health. Visit with him or our other practitioners for your first (free) visit at 785/760-0695.
*pseudonym for a real patient