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HEART PALPITATIONS 101 (Part 1) (Read 24162 times)
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Posts: 15
Gender: female
Dec 17th, 2006, 3:48pm
(Originally wrote by RLR)

sufferers of palpitations:  
Let's start here by talking about a very special part of the human anatomy called the Vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, also referred to as the 10th cranial nerve, is appropriately termed a "mixed" nerve. It provides a sort of two-way communication of nerve impulses back and forth between the brain and the pharnyx,larynx, esophagus, stomach and associated abdominal viscera(basically, your throat, windpipe, your tummy and guts), the heart, lungs and several more complex but irrelevant body organs or functions. The vagus nerve is the longest and most complex of the cranial nerves in the body.      
The key point here is to make note that this nerve involves the "heart," the "lungs" and basically the whole digestive system of your tummy and intestines. Now let's pair that with some real specific and limited physiology about the heart and its rhythm.      
We also need to bring clarity to some of the medical jargon being taked about by many of you in your messages. The term PVC, or Premature Ventricular Contraction, is just one of many arrythmias and not necessarily isolated to what many term as "palpitations." So for our purposes here, when we speak of benign palpitations, what we in essence are referring to is the presence of extra cardiovascular electrical activity and the precise induction of these beats felt as dancing of the heart or a flutter sensation in the chest, the prominence or intensity of which is determined by the precise moment of the extra beats in proximity to the most recent beat and the upcoming beat or contraction of the heart ventricles or atria. Think of it in relation to your memory of your worst date, where the person you're with has no rhythm whatsoever but wants to impress you with all the right moves and clumsily tries to introduce their own dance-step into your otherwise smoothly flowing and natural pace with the music. Depending upon their rather untimely entry, they can cause awkwardness that either simply causes you to quickly pause and regain your rhythm or literally trip you repeatedly until you're forced to leave the dancefloor. Well, the same holds true for the heart in our example. The extra beat, or palpitation might come at a point that's subtle, or it might be at a point where the heart is in a different part of the cardiac cycle and stumbles repeatedly until normal sinus rhythm is regained. Now let's get to "why" palpitations occur.      
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