Palpitations

Having palpitations means that you are unusually aware of your heartbeat. The experience of palpitations is often described differently by different people. Some people report a vague "fluttering" in their chest or the feeling of a "skipped beat," while others note a "pounding sensation" or feel that their hearts are "jumping out of their chest." Palpitations are rarely painful.

What are the different types of palpitations?

The pattern of the palpitations can be very helpful in determining the type of arrhythmia that caused them. If you see a doctor about your palpitations, it is very helpful if you can demonstrate the rhythm and speed of the palpitations by tapping your fingers on a desk or table. This can help your doctor determine whether the palpitations were the result of an arrhythmia and in some cases may allow a relatively accurate diagnosis as to the specific arrhythmia that caused the palpitations.

While your doctor will likely not diagnose an arrhythmia based on your demonstration, it can be a very helpful start if you are not experiencing arrhythmia while you are in your doctor's office (which means your doctor will be unable to record the arrhythmia on an EKG during the visit).

Last Updated: September 17, 2008

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