Heart Palpitation
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Reviewed By:

Osler Jay Justo Guzon

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

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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People with these 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

  • Heartbeat becomes irregular on Wednesday / Thursday / Friday

  • Blood pressure was raised when the palpitations happened

  • Palpitations occur or worsen when trying to fall asleep

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Content updated on Jan 4, 2023

About the symptom

Palpitation is the sensation that the heartbeat is not normal. 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

  • Benign arrhythmias such as extrasystoles

    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.

  • Migraine

    A type of headache that typically presents as throbbing, pulsating pain on one side of the head, sometimes with associated nausea or sensitivity to light and sound. Sometimes, sensory disturbances, such as vision changes (seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines), can occur before the headache. The pain may worsen on exposure to bright lights or loud noise. Triggers for migraine include stress, poor sleep, caffeine, and hormonal changes in women.

  • Atrial fibrillation (AF)

    Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition causing an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, which can result in blood clots in the heart. It increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. Common causes include heart valve diseases and heart failure.

  • Anemia
  • Graves' disease

Related serious diseases

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Do you feel your heart is pounding?

  • Do you have more frequent palpitations when you are working?

  • Do you have more frequent palpitations when you are sleeping?

  • Do you have palpitations on your day off work?

  • Do you feel the palpitations are related to your breathing?

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

Other Related Symptoms

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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

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

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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