The Ultimate Guide to Roemheld Syndrome
Roemheld Syndrome (RS) is commonly known as the Gastrocardiac Syndrome, thanks to the links it makes between the health of our hearts and stomachs. Unfortunately, the medical world is still catching up when it comes to knowledge in this area. However, the syndrome is often categorised by heart palpitations felt when the stomach is full or during indigestion. Finding out more about RS can help us to understand the connection between the heart and stomach and why symptoms occur.
The heart and stomach aren’t the first organs that you’d think of when considering ones that are closely related. This means that those experiencing symptoms of RS may not understand what’s happening to them. In fact, the heart and stomach are actually within close proximity to each other in the body. The stomach is below the diaphragm but is connected to the oesophagus (the body’s food tube) which extends up through the body to the throat, passing the heart on the way.
Our nervous system is the other key link between the heart and stomach. In particular, the vagus nerve plays a role in sensory functions felt in both the digestive tract and heart. It also provides motor functions around the body. This includes slowing the heart’s resting rate and also stimulating the contractions which move food through our systems.
What Is the Gastrocardiac Syndrome?
- Dr Ludwig Roemheld was the first to research the Gastrocardiac Syndrome, exploring how the nervous system plays a role in the symptoms experienced.
- You may be suffering from the Gastrocardiac Syndrome when experiencing symptoms relating to both organs. This could be feeling an irregular or rapid heartbeat at the same time as bloating or having acid reflux, for example.
- Other symptoms of the Gastrocardiac Syndrome can include nausea, chest pains and dizziness.
- Unfortunately, the Gastrocardiac Syndrome is a condition which is often misdiagnosed. We’ve seen patients who have RS but have been previously told the symptoms they feel are down to panic attacks, depression and anxiety.
- There are various triggers for the symptoms of the Gastrocardiac Syndrome.
- Theories include bloating and gas building up in the gastrointestinal system which can be caused by anything from chronic inflammation in the stomach to eating unhealthy foods.
- During the Gastrocardiac Syndrome, a bloated stomach may stimulate some heart muscles while also activating the vagus nerve which slows down the heart rate. This leads to the patient experiencing arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats).
- When the stomach is full, it can add pressure to the diaphragm and subtly move the heart’s position, triggering the palpitations seen in the Gastrocardiac Syndrome.
- Compression of the vagus nerve is more common when lying on the right side of your body. Change position to see if this makes a difference to the Gastrocardiac Syndrome.
- A hiatus hernia may also cause issues. After a small section of the stomach is pulled through the diaphragm, it could press on the heart causing pains in the chest and heart palpitations.
Heart Palpitation Causes
Another key area to consider when looking at how your stomach and heart are connected and the symptoms of RS is any medication you’re taking. You could be on a regular prescription for a heart condition, for example, and have started to feel side effects in your digestion. Or perhaps you’re on stomach medication, but experiencing palpitations. A case we see of this is when patients are on proton pump inhibitors to reduce acid in the stomach. Unfortunately, side effects could also include absorbing fewer nutrients such as Magnesium, and this reduction is linked to ectopic or irregular heart rhythms. If you think this may be a cause of symptoms you’re experiencing, speak to your doctor about possible solutions.
Those who suffer from Roemheld Syndrome can often feel frustrated at the lack of diagnosis, especially when they are experiencing frightening or uncomfortable symptoms. If you’re struggling to cope, don’t give up. It’s important to find out why you’re experiencing the symptoms and if there are any hidden causes.
If you do find out that your symptoms are being caused by RS, one of the best ways to stop them from happening is to start monitoring your triggers. If there are specific foods causing you to bloat or feel heart palpitations, avoid these and start following a diet which reduces the issues.
Speak to a Doctor about RS
Have you been searching for a doctor who specialises in Roemheld Syndrome? Dr Sanjay Gupta works in York, England as a consultant cardiologist and has vast experience in a variety of conditions. While you can book in-person private consultations with him at the Nuffield Hospital, he understands this isn’t possible for everyone. For those who want to talk through their symptoms and understand more about what they’re experiencing, webcam and telephone consultations are available.
Dr Gupta speaks to patients at all stages of their diagnosis. So, if you’ve been struggling to find a doctor who understands how symptoms of the heart and stomach are often intertwined, get in touch. Equally, you may have already been diagnosed with RS but need some help to manage your symptoms. After finding out what’s been troubling you, Dr Gupta will recommend the next steps. This could be as simple as advice for other things to try at home, or he may even recommend seeing you in person so that a more thorough examination and assessments can take place. He’ll work with you to plan any treatments or lifestyle changes you require, tailoring solutions to your personal needs.
If you would like to discover more about the Gastrocardiac Syndrome or speak to a doctor about your symptoms, book a consultation with Dr Gupta now.