Anyone who experiences heart palpitations knows how worrying they can be. Even if you only experience them once, it is not something you will forget easily.

Palpitations are essentially an abnormality of the heartbeat. They are characterised by hard, fast and irregular heartbeats. Experiencing heart palpitations is a worry and is something you should speak to your GP about. After an initial GP appointment it is likely you will then be able to arrange a referral to a cardiologist to explore your symptoms in more depth.

Thankfully, palpitations are rarely dangerous. However, most patients experience them as a symptom which can be a sign of a more serious condition. Furthermore, many patients also have additional symptoms alongside palpitations such as blackouts, light headedness, discomfort in the chest and breathlessness. A combination of symptoms is not something you should ignore and finding out what is causing your symptoms should be a priority.

What do heart palpitations feel like?

Everyone who experiences heart palpitations may have their own explanation. Patients often describe them as feeling like your heart is skipping a beat or like a strong fluttering in the chest. Others experience them as a harder, pounding sensation both in the chest and neck.

Are Heart Palpitations linked to anxiety?

Heart palpitations are sometimes associated with anxiety rather than an abnormality of the heart. Symptoms that come alongside an anxiety problem include dizziness, breathlessness, sweating, headaches and pains in the chest. However, they can be indicative of several cardiac conditions too, and also other conditions of the body.

Palpitations may be associated with other conditions including:

  • coronary heart disease
  • hyperthyroidism
  • hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • asthma or emphysema
  • previous chest surgery
  • kidney disease

There is also an increased risk of the symptom if you take a wide range of prescribed and non-prescribed medications including some antidepressants, statins, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, cocaine or amphetamines.

Treating heart palpitations

If a patient is experiencing irregular heart rhythms linked to a cardiac condition then you may consider cardiac ablation.

You can have an ablation procedure at the same time as the diagnostic electrophysiology study or at a later stage. This is not always necessary but an ablation procedure can help to regulate the heartbeat and stop the palpitations and many of the related symptoms.

Make your appointment with Dr David Begley

Dr David Begley specialises in cardiac rhythm management. He is a highly experienced consultant cardiologist working in Cambridge. You can arrange an appointment with Dr Begley via the contact page of this website.