Heart Palpitation
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Reviewed By:

Osler Jay Justo Guzon, MD

Osler Jay Justo Guzon, MD (Cardiology)

Dr. Guzon graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine with a BLA and MD. He then completed his Internal Medicine Residency at St. Louis University before a fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has since working as an invasive cardiologist with a particular interest in preventative medicine and cardiometabolic disease. Over the past several years, Dr. Guzon has served on the speaker bureaus of AstraZeneca, Lilly, Boehringer-Ingelheim, and Aralez.

Tatsuya Shiraishi, MD

Tatsuya Shiraishi, MD (Cardiology)

Dr. Shiraishi graduated from the Kyoto University School of Medicine. He worked as a cardiologist at Edogawa Hospital, and after joining Ubie, he became the Director of East Nihonbashi Internal Medicine Clinic.

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Content updated on Apr 7, 2024

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People with similar symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Feels like my heart keeps stopping

  • Palpitations but it seldom happens and only a single beat is out of place

  • Noticeable rapid, or irregular heartbeat (palpitations) during exertion

  • Can't drink cola or coffee because it will cause palpitations

  • Blood pressure was raised when the palpitations happened

  • Palpitations occur or worsen when trying to fall asleep

  • Irregular or pounding heartbeat if drinking alcohol

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About the Symptom

Palpitation is the feeling that the heartbeat is abnormal. Common descriptions include racing, pounding, fluttering, skipping, flip-flopping or irregular beating.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Feel the heart is pounding

Possible Causes

Generally, Heart palpitation can be related to:

  • Graves' Disease

    A condition involving an overactive thyroid gland. It's a disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland and causes an overproduction of thyroid hormone. It is more common in women than men. Some symptoms include anxiety, weight loss, tremors, changes in menstrual cycles, increase in bowel movements, fatigue, and palpitations.

  • Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy

    Familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAPs) are life-threatening, multisystem, inherited disorders where amyloid (an abnormal protein that can be deposited in any tissue) accumulates in nerve fibers and around nerves.

  • Benign Arrhythmias (Palpitations)

    Arrhythmias are issues 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 that do not cause any symptoms. Causes include certain medications, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, inhaled aerosols, diet pills, stress, etc.

  • Long QT Syndrome
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
  • Atrial Fibrillation (AF)

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Heart palpitation may be related to these serious diseases:

  • Acute Myocarditis

    Acute myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). It can affect anyone but is more common in infants and teenagers. It can impact the heart's ability to pump blood effectively and may cause rapid or irregular heart rhythm. It's usually caused by a viral infection, and sometimes by drug reactions or autoimmune disorders.

  • Malignant Syndrome
  • Supraventricular Tachycardia
  • Pulmonary Embolism

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Is your heart pounding?

  • Do you experience more palpitations while working?

  • Do you experience palpitations more often while sleeping?

  • Do you have heart palpitations on your day off work?

  • Are the palpitations related to your breathing?

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FAQs

Q.

What is palpitation?

A.

Palpitation refers to the sensation of feeling your heart beating (pulsing, rhythm) more strongly than usual, often described as a fluttering or "thumping" sensation.

Details

Palpitation is the sensation of feeling your heart's movement (pulsing, rhythm) more strongly than normal. You might feel the heartbeat more intensely even if it's at a normal pace, or the sensation may be due to a faster or slower pulse, a skipped beat, or an irregular rhythm.

References

Peter J Zimetbaum, MD. Evaluation of palpitations in adults.

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/evaluation-of-palpitations-in-adults

Q.

Are there any guidelines for when to see a doctor for palpitations?

A.

If you experience symptoms like chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or feeling like you might lose consciousness, you should see a doctor immediately.

Details

We recommend seeking immediate medical attention or calling emergency services if any of the following apply: ・Chest discomfort or pain ・Cold sweats ・Difficulty breathing ・Extremely fast or slow pulse ・Prolonged palpitations (lasting 30 minutes or more as a guideline) ・Feeling like you might lose consciousness Even if you do not experience the above symptoms, if you notice skipped or irregular beats, or frequent palpitations, it might indicate a potentially life-threatening heart condition, and seeking medical care is advised.

References

Peter J Zimetbaum, MD. Evaluation of palpitations in adults.

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/evaluation-of-palpitations-in-adults

Q.

What heart diseases can cause palpitations?

A.

Arrhythmias, heart failure, and angina are commonly considered as possible causes.

Details

・If the pulse is normal but strongly felt: Diseases that put a strain on the heart, such as angina or heart failure, may be considered. Stress or tension may also be the cause. ・If the pulse is fast: Actual arrhythmias where the heart beats pathologically fast, such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, or ventricular tachycardia, may be involved. ・If the pulse is slow: Arrhythmias where the heart beats pathologically slow, such as sick sinus syndrome or complete atrioventricular block, may be the cause. ・If the pulse is skipped or irregular: Arrhythmias like premature atrial contractions, premature ventricular contractions, where the heart feels a sudden "thump" or "pound" earlier than normal, or atrial fibrillation where the heart beats irregularly, may be considered. However, to truly understand what kind of arrhythmias are occurring and how serious they may be, detailed examination such as medical interviews and electrocardiograms are necessary. Please consider seeking medical care. Also, for those with risk factors for heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or smoking, if palpitations occur or worsen with activity, angina or heart failure may be considered. As these conditions can become dangerous if they worsen, don't ignore them and seek medical attention.

References

Peter J Zimetbaum, MD. Evaluation of palpitations in adults.

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/evaluation-of-palpitations-in-adults

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References

  • Goyal A, Robinson KJ, Katta S, Sanchack KE. Palpitation. 2022 Apr 25. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 28613787.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK436016/

  • Giada F, Raviele A. Clinical Approach to Patients with Palpitations. Card Electrophysiol Clin. 2018 Jun;10(2):387-396. doi: 10.1016/j.ccep.2018.02.010. PMID: 29784490.

    https://www.cardiacep.theclinics.com/article/S1877-9182(18)30023-6/fulltext

Reviewed By:

Osler Jay Justo Guzon, MD

Osler Jay Justo Guzon, MD (Cardiology)

Dr. Guzon graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine with a BLA and MD. He then completed his Internal Medicine Residency at St. Louis University before a fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has since working as an invasive cardiologist with a particular interest in preventative medicine and cardiometabolic disease. Over the past several years, Dr. Guzon has served on the speaker bureaus of AstraZeneca, Lilly, Boehringer-Ingelheim, and Aralez.

Tatsuya Shiraishi, MD

Tatsuya Shiraishi, MD (Cardiology)

Dr. Shiraishi graduated from the Kyoto University School of Medicine. He worked as a cardiologist at Edogawa Hospital, and after joining Ubie, he became the Director of East Nihonbashi Internal Medicine Clinic.

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