If you have noticed your heartbeats suddenly become more noticeable, this is known as palpitations. It is rarely dangerous but what causes palpitations?

When your heartbeats are more evident it can be very distressing. However, this is not necessarily associated with a heart rhythm abnormality. Understanding what palpitations are and what causes palpitations can help understand your symptoms.

Your Heartbeat

Patients with heart rhythm disturbances can present with a wide variety of symptoms when the heart is beating too fast. This is known as tachycardia. It can also beat too slowly which is called bradycardia.

The most common symptom that people experience is palpitations. This simply means an awareness of your heart beating.

Occasionally an abnormality can be detected that might need further investigation in an otherwise healthy person with no symptoms.

What Causes Palpitations?

According to the NHS, there are various triggers for palpitations. These can include lifestyle, emotions and psychological triggers or medication. In addition, hormone changes, heart conditions or other medical conditions could cause these symptoms.

Palpitations can also be associated with other more obvious conditions. These may include breathlessness, fatigue, chest discomfort, light-headedness, and even rarely blackouts. Occasionally these symptoms can occur in the absence of palpitations.

Conditions associated with palpitations include:

Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs or ectopics)

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)

Atrial flutter or fibrillation (AF)

Atrial tachycardia

Ventricular tachycardia (VT)

Treatment for heart palpitations

Palpitations, feeling dizzy, fainting or being short of breath may be symptoms of heart rhythm abnormalities.  Understanding the causes and treatment can help understand this complex medical condition.

In order to treat heart palpitations, a thorough assessment is needed.  This will help to understand what causes palpitations. The results of this will enable an appropriate management plan to be established.

This plan may include various approaches such as management with medicines to catheter ablation. Another option is the insertion of a cardiovascular implantable electronic device. These are more commonly known as pacemakers or cardioverter-defibrillators.

All treatment plans will be fully explained so you have a clear understanding of your care going forward.

Contact Dr Begley

Dr David Begley is a Consultant Cardiologist in the UK who specialises in cardiac rhythm management. This is the investigation and treatment of conditions like heart rhythm abnormalities or arrhythmias. He will aim to answer all your concerns about your symptoms of heart rhythm abnormalities.

To make an appointment to discuss your symptoms and find out more information about your heart palpitations, please contact us.

Dr David Begley’s Personal Assistant, Lynn Thomas, is available via Phone on 01223 850 423 or email.