Heart Palpitations are abnormal Heartbeats. They can be felt as skipped beats or increased heart rate but mostly go unnoticed. However, sometimes they cause dizziness and difficulty in breathing and there is a clear change in the Heartbeat. It can even occur in healthy individuals with normal healthy Heart.
It can be of two types. Premature Atrial Contraction or Premature Ventricular Contraction.
Heart Palpitations can occur because of four different reasons as follows :
- Extracardiac Stimulation of the Parasympathetic Nervous System usually happens by the stimulation of Vagus Nerve. It can be stimulated via inappropriate posture, anxiety, stress, indigestion etc.
- Sympathetic Overdrive can cause palpitations by increasing heart rate. Common examples include anemia, panic disorders, Heart failure, Hypoxia, Hypoglycemia etc.
- Hyperdynamic Circulation, which involves increase in circulatory volume. It usually happens in Pregnancy, Anemia, Thyrotoxicosis etc.
- Cardiac dysrhythmias involve abnormal functioning of the Heart like Premature Atrial Contractions, Ventricular Tachycardia, Ventricular Fibrillation, Heart Block etc.
Heart Palpitations are diagnosed on the basis of history and patient’s description of the Palpitations. Later, blood testing may reveal Thyroid abnormality, Anemia, Electrolyte Imbalance etc. Useful tests regarding Heart for identifying Heart Palpitations are :
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) shows electrical conductance inside Heart.
- Holter Monitoring is a method in which Heart signals are accessed continuously for 24 to 48 hours. In Event Recording technique chest monitor is used controlled by patient. It records Heart Signals by the press of a button by patient as soon he feels Palpitations.
- Chest X-ray can reveal any abnormality in the Thoracic Cavity.
- Echocardiogram uses sound waves for visualising Heart and its parts. It shows any physical abnormality related to the Heart.