Patients with symptoms of heart rhythm abnormalities can present with a wide variety of indicators when the heart is beating too fast or too slow.  Tachycardia is when the heart is beating too fast.  If it is too slow, the medical term is bradycardia.

Occasionally an abnormality can be detected that might need further investigation in an otherwise healthy person with no symptoms so we would recommend discussing this with your GP.

Symptoms of Heart Rhythm Abnormalities


The most common symptom that people experience is palpitations. This simply means an awareness of your heart beating. This is frequently distressing for a patient.  However, it is rarely dangerous and is not necessarily associated with a heart rhythm abnormality.  Breathlessness, fatigue, chest discomfort, light-headedness, and even blackouts can be associated with palpitations. Occasionally these symptoms can occur in the absence of palpitations so if you have concerns, you should discuss these with a medical professional.

Conditions associated with palpitations include:

  • Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs or ectopics)
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • Atrial flutter or fibrillation (AF)
  • Atrial tachycardia
  • Ventricular tachycardia (VT)

Syncope (Blackouts)

Blackouts or a transient loss of consciousness can be very alarming. Prompt assessment, particularly if recurrent, is critical to either provide reassurance or offer treatment. Blackouts can be due to both cardiac and neurological causes.

Cardiac causes of blackouts include:

  • Simple faints
  • Vasovagal syncope
  • Sinus node disease
  • Heart block

About Dr David Begley

Dr David Begley is a Consultant Cardiologist in the UK who specialises in cardiac rhythm management.  This is the investigation and treatment of heart rhythm abnormalities or arrhythmias.

Arrhythmias most often cause an awareness of the heart beating (palpitations).  However, patients with arrhythmias may also have symptoms of fatigue, breathlessness, light-headedness or black-outs (syncope).  Dr Begley aims to quickly identify the cause of these symptoms and provide reassurance or appropriate treatment.

Dr Begley regularly provides educational support through presentations and training.  These events have included the annual Heart Rhythm Congress and the British Cardiovascular Society Annual Conference.

More information about Dr Begley can be found here.

Contact Us

Your GP will be able advise whether a referral is appropriate.  This will be based on your experience of symptoms of heart rhythm abnormalities or if you have been diagnosed with an arrhythmia.

To make an appointment please contact Dr David Begley’s Personal Assistant, Lynn Thomas via email or call 01223 850 423.