Heart palpitations

Hi all, I’ve recently begun to notice heart palpitations, I have had an ECG and a physical check and all is fine. I wonder if anyone else with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma has experienced this? I have PTSD as well so that could equally be the cause but just wondered


Hi @Adman I have Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) but I also have heart palpitations and irregular heart beat.
There is also a train of thought that a lot of us have PTSD due to our diagnosis so perhaps yours might be compounded. This is definitely a non medical response!!
Take care of yourself


Hi Erica, thank you, I’ve been checked and told physically I’m fine so I’m assuming it might be PTSD related.


Hello @Adman. I have myelofibrosis and when my haemoglobin level is particularly low I am aware of my heart beating faster to try and get the oxygen around my body. It’s not exactly palpitations but I thought I would mention it in case your Hb level could also be a factor in what you are experiencing. Thinking of you, Willow x


Hi @Adman. It seems like a lot of us experience this. I have Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) as well and do have them. However, mine are definitely when I’m stressed and a bit panicked about things. Have you noticed a pattern or a time when these occur?


I have Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)/Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) with Essential thrombocythemia (ET). I also have heart palpitations and I can feel my heart pounding really hard some nights when I lay down. I can also feel my heartbeat pounding in my ear.

I’ve worn 2 different heart monitors - one for a month and one for 2 weeks. They both showed irregularities, but according to my cardiologist, this is quite common. I don’t have AFIB and my heart is strong. My pulse rate and blood pressure are both low.

I really believe it’s all down to my heart working hard due to my anemia and low HGB. I feel it comes with the territory of my particular blood cancer.


Hey @Adman, so sorry to hear about those palpitations you’ve been noticing and the PTSD on top of the Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). I’ve got a different blood disorder to you (Polycythaemia vera (PV)) but I do know anxiety, heart palpitations, and the contradictions of having a healthy heart but not feeling like it when it beats frantically!

Similar to what @Willow said, there are times when I’ve felt my heart working harder to pump blood around. Unsure if mine is due to my haemoglobin level though - going to check it out in future, thanks @Willow. Sometimes after a period of inactivity I notice the beating sensation more when starting to move, for example going for a walk after not doing so for a few days. Other times I notice it beating rapidly without any obvious cause. I can also notice it after taking my hydroxyurea and other medicines in the evenings when I tend to get a bit dizzy.

Sadly yes, anxiety from PTSD can cause our heartbeats to feel stronger and more worrying as we can behave so vigilantly to threats while in that sort of headspace. I have PTSD too and tend to notice the palpitations more when I’m anxious. Sometimes it’s a cycle of my heart racing leading to making my anxiety worse and thus my heart beats faster and so on until it builds to a panic attack. Not recommended, as I’m sure you know.

Having survived a heart attack I can say that anxiety for me can also feel a little like that—the whole pounding heart and tightness of chest stuff, which can feel terrifying. It can be so triggering of anxiety for it to also feel so much like serious heart issues!

One thing that helps me when palpitations are feeling a bit much, regardless of anxiety, is to stop what I’m doing, notice my heart palpitating, and to start breathing more mindfully. Focus on each breath you take, slowly breathe in through your nose and notice your heart beating as you exhale, and repeat until you feel your heart slowing down and breathing becoming easier. Take time to enjoy the slower breathing and less frantic heartbeat and remind yourself that your ECG showed your heart is fine and so you were likely experiencing a healthy anxiety response and are safe and have no need to be so vigilant. I’ve got other breathing exercises I can share if you’d like, just ask.

Our bodies will react to our unconscious stuff, and I agree with @Erica that many of us are likely carrying around PTSD from the trauma of what we are surviving. These are not personal failures, but ancient unconscious physiological responses to feeling threatened or unsafe. Our blood cancers are a threat to us—no wonder we can feel unsafe and anxious!

Let us know how you get on. You are certainly not alone with these pesky palpitations, @Adman.

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Thank you everyone for all your advice :smiling_face: