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Tachycardia or pounding pulse when lying on left side

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by MeSci, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    After getting accustomed over the years to the pounding pulse I often get just after lying down in bed (not sure if there is also tachycardia, but I think there is sometimes), I finally noticed last night that I only got it when lying on my left side.

    Of course this may be an idiosyncratic issue that only happened last night, but I had a fairly bad night, having to visit the loo numerous times, so made a point of observing what happened each time I got back into bed, and it was consistent. Lie down on left side: heart starts pounding; lie down on right side: no pounding.

    Anyone else noticed this?

    It would be good if it is consistent, as it provides a way to avoid this annoying, distracting symptom!
    rosie26 likes this.
  2. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

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    Not the same thing but heart related. When I lay on my left side my heart rate decreases by 10 bpm. It's 10 bpm higher on my back and often another 10 bpm higher on my right side.

    ?!?!?
  3. catly

    catly

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    I get the pounding heart thing when I lie down at night, it's always worse on my left side--but when it's really bad I also get it when lying on my right side--although less pronounced. I usually have to fall asleep on my back because it drives me crazy!
    MeSci likes this.
  4. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    ?!?!? indeed! I often think that my body is mad. My brain is sane though!
  5. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

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    It is normal for this increase to be experienced on the left side. Chinese medicine doctor advised me to avoid lying on that side for that reason. It is because the heart and aorta tend to the left, so when you're lying on that side, the weight of you is squishing and putting extra pressure on them. You can hear the pounding of the heart more on that side as well.

    Also, just FYI, lying on the left side usually opens up the right nostril (you'll notice they naturally alternate throughout the day) which stimulates the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system. If you want to fall asleep more easily, start on your right side. This both reduces the pounding-heart sound, and opens the left nostril, which is the parasympathetic channel, or the rest-and-digest channel.
    sueami and rosie26 like this.
  6. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    My heart rate increases on my back and on my right side, and I feel like I can't breathe sufficiently. If I try to sleep on my back or right side, I wake up feeling suffocated and extremely light-headed. I've had a couple episodes where it happens on my left side as well, and I was literally turning blue after an hour of it :eek: Taking a medication to raise my pulse pressure (Strattera or yohimbe) takes care of it, when even my "good" side goes bad, and lets my heart rate get low enough for me to sleep.

    A pulse oximeter shows that my oxygen levels drop quite a bit when laying on my right side or back. My heart and lungs have passed various tests with flying colors, so presumably it's an autonomic or purely positional problem. But with it getting worse when my pulse pressure is worse, regardless of position, I'm inclined to guess that it's largely autonomic.

    Something else is that I'll be light-headed in an out-of-breath way when standing after exertion, or even sitting, but won't start gasping for air and recovering until I lay down. I often walk up the stairs at night, use the bathroom, and put on my nightgown while breathing normally (and feeling crappy), but then start gasping as soon as I lay down, and start feeling better as well.

    I had something similar happen after a stress test last week - riding an exercise bike until I had to stop due to feeling like I couldn't breath, then sitting in a chair and still feeling like I couldn't breath. Then after a couple minutes I sorta slid onto the floor, bending forward quite a bit, essentially with my feet "up" (well, not "down" anyhow), and automatically started panting and finally recovering. It wasn't something I had any control over.
  7. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Interesting. My heart pounding when lying on my right side is quite consistent, although occasionally it doesn't happen, and very occasionally it happens when I lie on my left side. I think I'm OK lying on my back.

    I think this is all very interesting, and just did a search for 'positional dyspnoea'. This paper seems very informative.

    I had to look up 'decubitus'!

    I haven't yet tried checking my bp when lying down.
    Valentijn likes this.
  8. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Decided to check bp and hr the other night/morning. Systolic bp was high in all lying positions, no tachycardia despite pounding.

    On waking, bp high when lying on right side and back, near-normal when lying on left side (the most poundy side). Again no tachycardia. I think there was some tachycardia for short time last night, but the pounding isn't necessarily associated with tachycardia.

    My bp tends to hop around all over the place so I don't know how typical these findings are.

    I'm pleased to see that my resting hr is quite normal. :)
    Valentijn likes this.
  9. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Thanks for that explanation. I also find that on lying down in bed I can't start out lying on my left side but need to let my body adjust to changing from standing to lying before I can feel comfortable on my left side--pounding heart, chest discomfort.

    Sushi
  10. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    About 5 days ago I started feeling my heartbeat all the time laying down. back, side, front. No lightheadedness. Breathing is fine. I feel fine except for that. I can't tell yet if it's better when I'm sitting since I am one who doesn't sit. Not POTS or anything like that, it's just exhausting for me to sit up.

    I have no way to test my BP, is there something poor mans tests I can do?

    Do I need to see a cardiologist? Urgently? I don't have an appt with my GP until the end of March.
  11. lop

    lop

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    I am confused now. You started this thread with the pounding happening when lying on your left side. No pounding when lying on your right side. Now you write it's consistent when on your right side and very occasionally on your left.

    Also, what is your BMI?
  12. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Oh dear - I got muxed ip. :D Will edit my message. BMI about 21.
    Valentijn likes this.
  13. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    A fundamental error has been pointed out - I got my right mixed up with my left when I said "My heart pounding when lying on my right side is quite consistent, although occasionally it doesn't happen, and very occasionally it happens when I lie on my left side." Please substitute left for right and vice versa. :redface:

    Blame the ME.
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  14. rosie26

    rosie26 moderate ME

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    I haven't been able to sleep on my left side for the last 7 years. I run into problems in the first 10 minutes of lying on my left side and have to turn over to my back or right side. I feel like I can't breathe anymore and my heart feels like it gets hot and the heat can't escape - it's an unpleasant and weird experience and I know I should be getting it checked out !
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014
    Valentijn likes this.
  15. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I have the "left side thing" too, though after about an hour of lying down I am OK on the left side. When I recently had an echo (lying on the left side of course) it was totally normal. Go figure! :cool:

    Sushi
    Valentijn and rosie26 like this.
  16. rosie26

    rosie26 moderate ME

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    Mine doesn't come right Sushi. I just can't lay on my left side. Can imagine how you felt when your echo came back normal :rolleyes::D
    We so badly need our own Specialty, where it is understood we have problems with our hearts and with POTS and all the other neuroimmune symptoms.
    MeSci and Valentijn like this.
  17. lop

    lop

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    Have you ever had any surgery in the past?
    Also, do you feel like you had a restful sleep when you wake up in the morning?
  18. lop

    lop

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    Cool. Mine is about 20. I also have a mild pectus excavatum, which I thought it might help with understanding what is going on here. I never had tachycardia, but during the first 6 months of symptoms I slept with about 90 bpm. Now I only get the pounding.
    Do you also have pectus?
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  19. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Not as far as I know.
  20. rosie26

    rosie26 moderate ME

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    If you mean on the heart, no.
    Yes, I do think I am getting more restful sleeps at the moment. But it is a fragile thing. Two years ago I was at a moderate level of ME and I had a shocking severe relapse. I have to be careful always, as even the hard won gain of getting to moderate level and staying there - is still a delicate affair.
    MeSci likes this.

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