Heart palpitations — a fast pounding or fluttering in your chest — usually have causes like excess caffeine consumption or fevers. To ensure your palpitations aren’t a symptom of arrhythmia or another heart disease, visit Capitol Cardiology Associates. At offices in Lanham, Bowie, Camp Springs, Silver Spring, Laurel, and Largo, Maryland, the dedicated cardiologists identify the cause of your palpitations using advanced diagnostics. For a prompt diagnosis of heart palpitations, call your nearest Capitol Cardiology Associates office today or use the online form to request an appointment.
Heart palpitations make your heart feel like it’s beating too quickly, pounding, skipping a beat, and/or fluttering. Heart palpitations can be alarming but are often unrelated to serious cardiac conditions. Common causes of heart palpitations include:
Some medicines and illegal drugs can trigger heart palpitations, including stimulants like pseudoephedrine (in cold medicines), cocaine, and amphetamines.
More often than not, heart palpitations aren’t a sign of serious heart problems. Addressing potential causes, for example, getting treatment for hyperthyroidism or switching to decaffeinated drinks, resolves the problem.
However, heart palpitations can sometimes be a symptom of arrhythmia, where your heart has an abnormal beat.
There are many kinds of arrhythmia. Some cause tachycardia, where your heart beats too fast, and others cause bradycardia, where your heart beats too slowly. Your heartbeat might be irregular, or you could have a combination of these problems.
If you have chest pain, syncope (fainting), severe shortness of breath, and dizziness, along with heart palpitations, you should seek medical attention at once.
To diagnose heart palpitations, your Capitol Cardiology Associates provider checks your medical history, asks about any family history of heart problems, and discusses your symptoms.
They listen to your heart through a stethoscope to see how well it’s working and perform an electrocardiogram (EKG) to assess your heart’s electrical activity. If your provider suspects a heart disorder, they can run further tests, such as a cardiac PET scan or electrophysiology.
An echocardiogram or heart ultrasound displays moving images of your heart’s structure and function. If you don’t experience heart palpitations during the EKG or echocardiogram, you might need stress testing, where you exercise while attached to an EKG or echocardiogram machine.
Another option is wearing a Holter or event monitor. These devices are portable EKGs that continuously record your heart’s activity for several days or activate when you experience palpitations. They’re particularly useful when nothing abnormal shows up on other tests.
Heart palpitations due to a cardiac condition like arrhythmia might require medication to help regulate your heartbeat.
If you have a serious arrhythmia, you might need to undergo a pacemaker or implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) implantation procedure. These devices regulate your heartbeat and/or give out signals that adjust the electrical activity in your heart.
For expert diagnosis and treatment of heart palpitations, call Capitol Cardiology Associates today or book an appointment online.