Palpitations

Palpitations Summary
Palpitations are unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart. Palpitations can be relieved in many patients by stress reduction, stopping cigarettes, and reduction of caffeine and alcohol.
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Palpitations facts

  • Palpitations can occur without heart disease or as a result of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
  • The SA node is the natural pacemaker of the heart.
  • Slow heart rhythms are called bradycardias. Rapid heart rhythms are called tachycardias.
  • The average normal heart beats at a rate of 60 to 100 times per minute.
  • Some patients with arrhythmias have no symptoms while others can have symptoms, such as palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
  • Arrhythmias can occur because of disease of the heart muscle, valves, electrical system, or arteries to the heart (coronary arteries).
  • Palpitations can be evaluated with testing, such as blood tests, echocardiogram, EKG, Holter monitor, treadmill testing, and tests of the coronary arteries.
  • Palpitations can be relieved in many patients by stress reduction, quitting smoking, and reduction of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Some patients have palpitations associated with abnormal heartbeats that can require medications or other medical treatments.

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Palpitations Symptoms

Palpitations are the unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart in the chest. This symptom can be caused by a change in the rate or rhythm, or by an increase in the force of the contraction of the heart muscle.