Heart Rate Spike

When drugs don't work: training and health tips!
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 23:28 pm

Heart Rate Spike

Postby TOM14S » Mon Dec 24, 2012 15:26 pm


I was out on a ride the other day (delivering Christmas cards) pushed hard up a hill, hit ~180bpm, which is normal for me during a big push and then carried on the ride for a about 8mins working quite hard. Had a drink of cold sweetened squash whilst riding after another smaller push to 170bpm and started to feel bit weird, bit sick, spinney and chest didn't feel quite right. I actually pulled over.... I never stop on rides for tiredness and feeling puffed!
The feeling made me check my heart rate on my Garmin and it showed it at 254 and pretty constant, slowly dropping. Checked my pulse with my fingers and pretty sure it was much faster than should have been. Stood there a few mins and then very quickly heart rate dropped to normal and I felt almost instantly better. Then carried on the ride as normal just a little easier.
I've heard the Garmin HR monitors can give spikes but this was prolonged and coincided with me feeling yuk, mine has never spiked before and hasn't since.
Does it happen for some people HR's to get a bit outa sync? I've never had it before or since, Could be over training? could it have been the cold sugary squash taken at the wrong time just after a bit of a push?
I'll ask a doc whenever I go next but wondering if some people have seen this before?


User avatar
Monty Dog
Posts: 20389
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 14:31 pm

Re: Hear Rate Spike

Postby Monty Dog » Mon Dec 24, 2012 15:31 pm

If you've eliminated any external interference, there is a condition called tachycardia where sufferers experience a spell of accelerated heartrate - there are a number of causes so worth getting it checked.
Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..

Posts: 782
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 19:43 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby twotyred » Mon Dec 24, 2012 16:05 pm

Only time I've seen something like that is when I've either got poor skin to HR monitor strap contact or the battey in the HR monitor strap is dying. If that was the case I'd expect to see it more than once per ride. If you are sure your HR monitor is working OK I'd see a medic.

User avatar
Posts: 2038
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 21:29 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby MajorMantra » Mon Dec 24, 2012 16:49 pm

My Garmin quite often gives prolonged, steady errors - sometimes it seems like it hasn't zeroed correctly and it reads consistently about 20-40 beats high for several minutes. I think static build-up from wearing multiple base layers is one cause, or having a flapping wind jacket, or a dry strap, or...

I'm not saying don't get checked out because I'm not a doctor, but ask yourself if your heart was really beating over 4 times per second because I have a feeling that you'd REALLY know all about it if it were. It's more likely you felt sick from drinking overly-sweet squash and then pushing yourself.

User avatar
Posts: 4252
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:12 am

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby thegreatdivide » Mon Dec 24, 2012 17:34 pm

Electrical interference? The timing mats at the Etape Caledonia spiked me up too 230 odd bpm and I've ridden past a couple of antennas that have had my Garmin bpm into the 300's!
"Crevaison sur les paves..."

User avatar
Posts: 1940
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 18:31 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby Herbsman » Mon Dec 24, 2012 17:48 pm

Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 23:28 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby TOM14S » Wed Dec 26, 2012 00:33 am

OK, some great info there thanks
It's good to know it could just have been mechanical.
Guess I feel I was probably more than interferance though as I felt crap at the same time as it happening.

Posts: 19028
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 22:34 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby cougie » Wed Dec 26, 2012 09:46 am

You say you felt Ill before you checked your pulse ?
Seems to me that it was a genuine pulse rate ?

When i used to get spikes on my hrm they were instantaneous and momentary. Yours looks longer.
I'd go see a doctor.

Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby Cookie91 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:26 am

Drinking cold water very commonly leads to brief ectopic heart beats.

Posts: 271
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 19:00 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby Johncp » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:49 am

From your description it sounds more like a genuine increase in HR rather than a monitor spike. Supraventricular tachycardia can be precipitated by a glug of cold water and would also explain why you felt as you did. SVT doesn't have to be a big deal unless it becomes a regular occurrence. I have a mate who suffered for a while, precipitated probably by a slight overdose of asthma inhalers, but he is now fine and hasn't had it for a year or two.
Nonetheless you should go to see your GP as he will be able to take into account your age, general health, family history etc.
If you haven't got a headwind you're not trying hard enough

Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2007 13:46 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby ut_och_cykla » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:37 pm

Get it checked would be my advice - it was more than just a spike. There was a woman on here (Popette) who had no end of trouble with a number of HR monitors until she discovered she had a heart condition - which is now fixed but made her feel ill!

User avatar
Posts: 6595
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 16:44 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby amaferanga » Wed Dec 26, 2012 16:56 pm

I'd also recommend you look at the HR graph in some proper software - something like Garmin Training Centre if you have it. Garmin Connect samples the data in the graphs so they always look much smoother than they actually are. That blip could look very different when you see all the data and not just sampled data.
More problems but still living....

Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 09:37 am

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby Legolam » Fri Jan 04, 2013 20:34 pm

If you felt unwell AND a manual heart rate check was also high, chances are it was a real spike in HR. There are various causes, and a lot depends on how old you are and if you have any pre-existing heart problems.

The most common thing in young (<60 year old) people is supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) as mentioned above. It's a benign, common, non-life threatening condition caused by a feedback loop of electrical activity involving the top and bottom chambers of the heart. It often starts and stops suddenly, and is often triggered by excessive alcohol, caffeine or exercise. It can happen once in someone's life, or many times. Some people require treatment if it happens a lot or it bothers them, many people don't need anything.

My advice would be not to worry, but see a doctor for an ECG and ambulatory ECG monitor if it ever happens again. I had an episode once very like you describe - I didn't do anything about it and I seem to still be here.

If you are older or already have heart problems (or get chest pain when you exercise), then don't wait till the second episode; see a doctor ASAP.

DOI: I'm a cardiologist

Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 23:28 pm

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby TOM14S » Fri Jan 04, 2013 22:41 pm

Thats some great info, Thanks guys!

Pleased to read there could be a link between the cold drink, so I'll try to time drinks better.

As suggested I had a look at the graph in training center which as mentioned the data is less filtered, which showed a little more detail but answer was still the same... Rapid increase in HR for few mins then a rapid almost instant drop off.

Legolam, thanks for your experienced responce. I'm 29, lets hope it's just the once, it's not something I'm loosing sleep over, but good to hear it's probably common and non-life threatening, but yes i will mention it to the doc and get it checked out as a precaution... after all I pay all this money to the NHS and never go to the doctors so I should really try and get my moneys worth :)

Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 09:37 am

Re: Heart Rate Spike

Postby Legolam » Sat Jan 05, 2013 00:05 am

No worries. Given your age, it's very very likely to be SVT. I had it earlier this year (also at the ripe old age of 29!).

Return to “Training, Fitness and Health”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: gcwebbyuk, Herzog and 2 guests