Can the acid that’s refluxing up from your stomach and into your esophagus actually trigger a pounding heartbeat?

“Acid reflux is when the normal stomach acid regurgitates up into the esophagus,” says Jay Desai, MD, who specializes in colon cancer screening, upper endoscopy and consultative gastroenterology with the Endoscopy Center of New York.

“This happens to everyone to some degree. However, in some people, the symptoms can be more severe.

“This can be due to the presence of a larger amount of reflux compared to the average individual, or to the esophagus being more sensitive than in others.

“The symptoms of acid reflux can vary between individuals, but most people describe a ‘burning’ sensation in the stomach and chest.

“In some people, these symptoms can feel like a pressure sensation.”

Can acid reflux directly affect the way the heart beats?

Dr. Desai continues, “While a pounding heart is not a typical symptom, sometimes patients with acid reflux can become anxious that another issue, such as a heart attack, is occurring, which can lead to a pounding heart sensation.

“It is important for anyone with these symptoms to discuss them with their doctor to differentiate whether this is reflux related or a primary heart issue.”

Just because GERD or acid reflux doesn’t directly stimulate the heart to beat faster or harder doesn’t mean that a person can’t have both a digestive issue and a cardiac problem.

See a cardiologist for a thorough exam of your heart to rule out any issues.

dr. desai

Board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology, Dr. Desai provides a wide range of GI services including for bacterial overgrowth, constipation, acid reflux and GERD, IBS, incontinence and small bowel disease. Twitter handle: @NYGADocs
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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