When your heart adds an additional beat or has skipped a beat, it is called as palpitation. It will cause a fluttering, pounding or a racing feeling.
Usually heart palpitations are harmless and do not require treatment.
There are various types of palpitations that are described below.
Premature atrial contraction (PAC) – This feels like a flop or thump in the chest. It is caused when the SA node produces a beat but the heart is not ready.
Premature ventricular contraction (PVC)– It occurs when a muscle cell present in the ventricle generates an additional electrical beat.
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)– The ventricle present in the atrium generates electrical signals that results in rapid heartbeat.
Atrial fibrillation – When the ventricle beats in fast and irregular manner, it is called as atrial fibrillation (A Fib)
Atrial flutter (AFL)– In this condition the cells in the atrium produces a regular but fast rhythm from 300 to 400 cycles per minute.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT)– is caused when the ventricular electrical system begins firing independently without signals from the SA or AV node.
Ventricular fibrillation (V Fib)– In this condition, the disordered electrical signals fail to produce a coordinated heartbeat.
You can feel heart palpitations when your heart has:
- Skipped a beat
- Fluttered rapidly
- Beats too fast
Diagnosing heart palpitations can be hard since there are various factors involved in it.
Your physician will ask you about the following:
- Your physical activities
- Medications (OTC and prescribed)
- Other health conditions
If needed, you might undergo the following tests:
- Urine tests
- Blood tests
- Stress tests
- Holter monitor test
- A chest x-ray
- An electrocardiogram
- An echocardiogram
- A coronary angiography
- An electrophysiology test
Treatment will be based on the underlying causes. It is difficult to find the cause for palpitations so the doctor may not offer treatment.
If palpitations are caused by your lifestyle, you should limit caffeine and cigarettes and avoid stress.