East Tennessee Heart Consultants

Dedicated specialists leading the way to heart health ....

Meet Our Team

East Tennessee Heart Consultants

East Tennessee Heart Consultants - Physicians Regional Medical Center
  • 900 East Oak Hill AvenueSuites 500 & 600KnoxvilleTN37917
    Cardiovascular: Drs. Akhtar, Chaudhry, Cox, Doiron, Hookman, Hottigoudar, Irivbogbe, Martin, McCoy, Michelson, Rotondo, Ternay, Treasure
    900 East Oak Hill Avenue
    Suites 500 & 600
    Knoxville, TN 37917
  • (865) 647-5800
    (865) 647-5800
  • (865) 525-0245
    (865) 525-0245
East Tennessee Heart Consultants - Turkey Creek Medical Center
  • 10800 Parkside DriveSuite 331KnoxvilleTN 37934
    Cardiovascular: Drs. Bishop, Eichholz, Foster, Lindsay, Mehta, Patel, Reed, Sharma
    10800 Parkside Drive
    Suite 331
    Knoxville, TN 37934
  • (865) 392-3400
    (865) 392-3400
  • (865) 392-3449
    (865) 392-3449
East Tennessee Heart Consultants - North Knoxville
  • 7557B Dannaher DriveSuite G-35PowellTN37849
    Cardiovascular: Dr. Abazid
    7557B Dannaher Drive
    Suite G-35
    Powell, TN 37849
  • (865) 647-5800
    (865) 647-5800
  • (865) 673-4174
    (865) 673-4174

Things That Go Bump in Your Chest

by: William C. Lindsay, M.D., Board Certified, Cardiac Electrophysiology

Your heart normally should have a nice smooth rhythm that you shouldn't notice. If it develops a rhythm abnormality, you are said to have an arrhythmia, or dysrhythmia. Some of these you may not feel, some may feel like a skipping, thumping or flopping, and some may feel like your heart is suddenly racing for no apparent reason. Normally, if you do some exercise, or come under stress (such as watching the Vols fumble the ball), your heart will react by speeding up. It should then slow down as you either stop exerting yourself, or if the stress passes. However, if your heart suddenly takes off racing for no apparent reason, or if it is beating fast all the time (greater than 100 beats per minute), you have a heart rhythm disturbance and you should see your doctor.

Arrhythmias range from totally non-dangerous and simply annoying to potentially life threatening. Generally, though not always, only people who have some type of heart problems are prone to the dangerous ones. Signs that you may be at risk for an arrhythmia that needs to be further evaluated by a doctor include passing out, dizziness that has sudden onset and is not related to postural changes or turning your head, or sudden inappropriate racing. Some rhythms, like atrial fibrillation, are not dangerous in and of themselves, but can make you more prone to a stroke if you are not on blood thinners and you have other certain problems.

The heart has four chambers, the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles. If a single extra abnormal beat comes from an atrial, it is called a premature atrial contraction (PAC). If a single extra abnormal beat comes from one of the ventricles, it is called a premature ventricular contraction (PVC). Single PACs and PVCs can be annoying, but rarely dangerous. A bradycardia is when the heart beats too slowly. A tachycardia is when it beats fast.

If you feel your heart skipping, there are some easy things you can do to try and make it beat more regularly. Certain kinds of stimulants make the heart more irritable and prone to having irregular beating. The three most common stimulants are caffeine, nicotine and decongestants. Even one cup of regular coffee in the morning can make your skipping worse. Remember that a lot of colas even clear ones are loaded with caffeine. If you are smoking, it's a good thing you are reading a cardiology web site because cigarettes are the biggest preventable cause of heart disease and death in this country. In fact, it's the biggest preventable cause of death from all sorts of things, like emphysema and multiple forms of cancer, and it causes impotence and bad breath. So quit paying money for something that is trying to kill you and give those things up! Even medications your doctor gives you can cause changes in your blood chemistry that can make your heart beat abnormally. This is usually from a loss of potassium and/or magnesium, but you shouldn't try to correct these on your own. Talk to your doctor. Finally, certain illegal drugs can cause all manner of rhythm problems, most commonly amphetamines and cocaine. Cocaine has caused a number of people to have sudden cardiac death.

If your doctor feels you need further evaluation for a rhythm problem, (s)he may refer you to a Cardiac Electrophysiologist, who is a specialist in heart rhythm abnormalities. This is a subspecialty that can take one to three years of additional training to become board certified. The Electrophysiologists at East Tennessee Heart Consultants are William C. Lindsay, M.D. and Rashmi Houttigoudar, M.D. Different doctors have different training and interests, ranging from fixing some arrhythmias by passing electrodes to the heart and using radio frequency energy to ablate them, to placing and following Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators in patients at risk for extremely dangerous arrhythmias. It's important that you talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your heart health.