Irregular Heartbeat

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Medically Reviewed By:

Osler Jay Justo Guzon

Osler Jay Justo Guzon, MD

Cardiology

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Content updated on Sep 6, 2022

About the symptom

Irregular pulse indicates that the heart is out of its usual rhythm. It may feel like the heart skipped a beat, added a beat, or is "fluttering."

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • A rapid heart rate prior to fainting with loss of consciousness

  • Peripheral cyanosis

  • Altered mental status (delirium)

  • Difficulty breathing / breathlessness

  • Fainting with loss of consciousness

Possible causes

  • Benign arrhythmias such as extrasystoles

    Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat, where it might beat too slowly, too fast or with an irregular pattern. Benign arrhythmias are heartbeat irregularities which do not cause any symptoms. Causes include certain medications, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, inhaled aerosols, diet pills, stress, etc.

  • Atrial fibrillation (AF)

    Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, that can lead to blood clots in the heart. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Atrial fibrillation can be caused by many conditions, most commonly heart valve diseases and heart failure.

  • Amyloidosis

    A disease where "amyloid", an abnormal type of protein, is deposited and builds up in various organs and damages them. The affected areas can include the heart, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. The causes are diverse.

  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • QT prolongation syndrome
  • Fabry disease

  • Adult T-cell leukaemia

Related serious diseases

  • Atrioventricular block . sick sinus syndrome

    These describe a group of conditions wherein there is a problem in the electrical conduction system of the heart. Depending on the condition, signals may be transmitted abnormally fast, slow or not be transmitted at all to some areas of the heart. Men and women are both affected. The risk of increase with age.

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Does your pulse feel disordered (irregular)?

  • Do you have a fever?

  • Do you have any chest pain?

  • Are you breathless or having hard time breathing?

  • Do you have nausea or vomiting?

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