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“Doctor Shin, My Heart Feels Like It’s Been Twisted”


“Doctor Shin, My Heart Feels Like It’s Been Twisted”

Tuesday, 6:00 a.m. The clinic cell phone rang. I thought maybe someone from east coast or South Korea called…Half-awake, I answered the phone to be greeted by a panting, half-crying woman.

“Dr. Shin, Dr. Shin, my husband felt a twist in his heart and is having a hard time breathing. The emergency room said there is nothing wrong with and I am so sorry for calling you so early. We didn’t know where to call.”

She bursts in tears.

She didn’t even say who she was.

Thankfully I remembered the madame. “When is the clinic open today?” she asks.

I couldn’t tell her to wait until nine. I told her to meet me at the clinic and left home with a certain uncomfortableness.

These couple were my patients two years before this incident. Their son Jihyung was a bright young man. The husband was pale from the pain and shock, clutching on to his chest. The wife was sobbing. I began with a pulse diagnosis, and as I expected, it was from what is commonly known as ‘heartburn’. Severe acid reflux results in a burn like pain in the chest cavity and the heart. At times, the heart goes on alarm mode and result in some palpitations. I gave him an herbal emergency pill that is often used to calm the heart and help with shocks.

“Out of nowhere at 4 am, I felt this intense pain in the heart and I go to the emergency room, and they tell me nothing is wrong…the scans show nothing and this one doctor says we should check the stomach. It reminded me of what you told us two years ago so we called you right after…”

I remember telling him that he had a over-produced amount of stomach acid and that he should take care of his diet and be less sensitive about work. I was grateful for their remembering me at what must have been a dire situation for them.

Apparently the symptoms started a few months ago, with the man often having copper taste in his mouth and hints of acid. He just didn’t think much of it because his stomach didn’t hurt and it was usually minor.

I first gave him some emergency pills that calm acid reflux and some herbal tea that calms the stomach. I also prescribed some herbal granules for him to take during the time it would take for the tonic to be brewed.

  1. Diagnosis: Cardiac muscle pain induced by acid reflux.
  2. Cause: Stomach Acid Reflux
  3. Patient: A sensitive, hard-working man who often worries too much which would lead to sleep imbalances. Due to family events, when he was put in pressure from both work and family, the stress level induced what we call 간비불화증 in Korean Traditional Medicine.
  4. Healthy Diet Tip: Cabbages, Lotus Root porridge, avoid flour, reduce stress (exercise, meditate)
  5. Herbal Tea Therapy with Mu.A