The Ultimate Guide to the Gastrocardiac Syndrome


Gastric Cardia is also known in the medical field as Roemheld Syndrome (RS), and unfortunately, it’s a topic which hasn’t been covered in huge quantities by the medical profession or researchers. However, many people find that when they’re full or have indigestion, it triggers their heart palpitations. Information about the Gastrocardiac Syndrome can offer us ways to explain the link between the stomach and heart and why certain symptoms relating to the stomach can worsen their heart symptoms.


The connection between the heart and stomach is something which not many people think about, failing to recognise any relationship between the symptoms they’re experiencing. However, these organs are actually quite close to each other in the body. While the stomach is below the diaphragm, the oesophagus (food tube) links the stomach all the way up to the throat and is extremely close in proximity to the heart.


Another link between the stomach and heart is the nervous system. The vagus nerve has sensory functions relating to both, including sensations felt from the heart and digestive tract. The vagus nerve also provides a motor function around the body such as slowing down the resting rate of our heart muscles. It also stimulates the involuntary contractions which allow food to move through the digestive tract.

What Is Roemheld Syndrome?


Here are some of the key facts you should know about RS.


  • Roemheld Syndrome was first researched by Dr Ludwig Roemheld (thus its name) who found that the vagus nerve plays a huge part in why some patients experience RS.


  • Patients often think they may be suffering from Roemheld Syndrome when they have symptoms present relating to both the stomach and heart. Examples could be arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats), nausea, tachycardia (a rapid heartbeat), dizziness or a tight chest in the presence of indigestion, acid reflux or bloating.


  • As it’s a condition that some medical professionals don’t know a great deal about, Roemheld Syndrome can be misdiagnosed as anxiety, panic attacks or depression, although these may also show themselves as symptoms of RS.


  • The exact triggers of Roemheld Syndrome can be attributed to a number of factors, and this may also include the build-up of gas in the gastrointestinal system. Bloating and gas in themselves can be caused by a variety of issues, including an unhealthy diet or lifestyle, food intolerances or other conditions such as gastritis.


  • If you have a very full stomach, it can push against the diaphragm which may slightly change the position of the heart which is located nearby, and this can trigger palpitations.


  • Another cause of Roemheld Syndrome could be a hiatal hernia which is when a small part of the stomach gets pulled up through the diaphragm. This can also press on the heart which can cause chest pains and palpitations.


  • The vagus nerve can activate when compressed by a bloated stomach, pushing the heart rate down. However, this can also stimulate other areas of the heart, causing Roemheld Syndrome symptoms to appear such as an abnormal heartbeat.


  • Symptoms of Roemheld Syndrome may become more apparent when lying on your right hand side rather than your left as it compresses areas of the body close to the vagus nerve. If this is the case for you, try changing position to monitor the effect it has.


  • The influence of medications may also cause us to link stomach and heart symptoms.


  • If you’re experiencing chronic stomach inflammation of any kind, this can also cause stress upon the body, triggering Roemheld Syndrome heart palpitations too.

What Else Could Be Causing Your Heart Palpitations?


While we’ve discussed the link between the heart and stomach anatomically and functionally, medications can also have an effect. Some patients take medication for the treatment of a condition in one area of the body, but this may cause side effects in another area. Heart medication may affect the stomach and vice versa.


For example, you may be taking proton pump inhibitors such as lansoprazole for lowering stomach acid. However, this type of medication can also have side effects such as reducing the absorption of nutrients such as iron, Vitamin B12 and magnesium. Low levels of magnesium has been connected to experiencing ectopic beats in the heart.


Unfortunately, taking magnesium supplements won’t help in this case as the proton pump inhibitors block its absorption. If you think this could be the cause of the symptoms you’re experiencing, speak to your doctor about solutions.

RS Treatments

Some of the best ways to prevent the symptoms experienced by RS sufferers is by avoiding foods which make you feel bloated, sticking to those which are good for your digestive tract. Those experiencing symptoms often notice that certain foods will trigger their palpitations, so avoid those to see if it helps.


You should also consult with your doctor if you have any concerns about symptoms you’re experiencing or if you’re struggling to cope with the symptoms that come with the Gastrocardiac Syndrome. It’s important to explore the root cause of any medical issues you’re facing.  


Book a Consultation with a Cardiologist


Dr Sanjay Gupta is a consultant cardiologist working in York. He offers in person, telephone or even webcam consultations to provide flexibility to those who have cardiology concerns. Dr Gupta takes the time to discuss your situation with you, finding out what’s been troubling you. He’ll also ask questions to help him to understand the nature of your problem.


You may be experiencing some of the symptoms discussed above, for example, but struggled to find useful information that can help you manage those symptoms. Dr Gupta can provide advice, perform heart function assessments and organise for you to have further cardiological investigations if necessary. He’ll work closely with you on any treatment plans and provide you with more certainty about the next steps. This may be as simple as some lifestyle changes to try.

If you would like to find out more about Roemheld Syndrome and discuss what you’re experiencing, book a consultation with Dr Gupta now.