There is nothing to suggest that every patient experiences symptoms similarly when they have a heart rhythm abnormality. However, there are some common and shared symptoms that many patients experience and can be an indication that you should get further investigation.

Tachycardia is when the heart is beating too fast.  If it is too slow, the medical term is bradycardia. When you experience issues with your heart rhythm it is not always a sign of a significant medical problem but it can be and you should first discuss this with your GP.

Symptoms of Heart Rhythm Abnormalities

The most common symptoms of heart rhythm abnormality are palpitations and syncope, or blackouts. We’re looking at both in depth below.


Palpitations are the most common symptom of heart rhythm abnormality. It simply refers to a clear awareness of your heart beating. It can be distressing but it is very rarely dangerous and not always indicative of an abnormality.

Breathlessness, fatigue, chest discomfort, light-headedness, and blackouts are also associated with palpitations. Sometimes these symptoms can occur in the absence of palpitations so if you have concerns, you should discuss any symptoms with your GP or cardiologist.

Cardiac conditions which can cause palpitations include:

  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Supraventricular tachycardia
  • Atrial flutter or fibrillation
  • Atrial tachycardia
  • Ventricular tachycardia


Syncope is more commonly known as blackout. Blackouts are a transient loss of consciousness and can be very worrying. Prompt assessment, particularly if recurrent, is critical to either provide reassurance or offer the right treatment. Blackouts can be a symptom of cardiac or neurological issues and should be investigated as soon as possible.

Cardiac causes of blackouts include:

  • Fainting
  • Vasovagal syncope
  • Sinus node disease
  • Heart block issues

Dr David Begley: A Specialist in Heart Rhythm Abnormality

Dr David Begley is a Consultant Cardiologist specialising in cardiac rhythm management.  His core focus is understanding and treating heart rhythm abnormalities.

Dr Begley regularly provides educational support to other cardiologists and student, helping to ensure a wider knowledge and understanding of heart rhythm problems and the latest treatments available.

Anyone who has concerns about their heart’s functioning and rhythm should first contact their GP. You can also contact a private cardiologist directly to discuss your options. Patients will undergo several tests and examinations to help discover the underlying cause of any abnormal cardiac activity.

To arrange an appointment with Dr Begley please get in touch.