What is heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations feel like having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart. Stress, exercise, medication, or rarely a medical condition can cause them. The heart palpitations can be alarming, they’re usually harmless. In some cases, they can be one among the symptoms of a serious heart condition, like an irregular arrhythmia, that might require treatment.


Palpitations can be caused by heart conditions including:


An arrhythmia is a problem with the rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart beats either too fast or too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM):

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes hypertrophied (abnormally thick). The thickened heart muscle can make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood.

Heart failure:

Heart failure can be caused by coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, cardiomyopathy. Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood like normally does.

Congenital heart disease:

Congenital Heart Disease is known as a congenital heart defect. The congenital heart is a defect in the structure of the heart that is present at birth.

Heart valve disease:

Heart valve disease occurs when the heart valves do not work properly.

Coronary artery disease:

Coronary artery disease is the blockage of the coronary arteries. This condition is usually caused by the build-up of Cholesterol and fatty deposits inside the arteries.

  • Light-headedness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pulse rate over or less than the normal pulse rate
  • Having heart disease or family history, recurrent fainting, or unexplained seizure disorder
  • Exercise, particularly if they cause loss of consciousness


Electrocardiography (ECG):

Electrocardiography (ECG): This records the electrical activity of the heart through electrodes attached to the skin.

Electrophysiologic Testing:

An Electrophysiology (EP) is a test that records the electrical activity and the electrical pathways of the heart.

Coronary angiography:

Coronary angiography: A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to see the heart’s blood vessels. The test is done to see if there is a restriction in blood flow going to the heart.


An Echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to produce echocardiograms (images of your heart). This common test to see the heart beating and pumping blood.

Laboratory testing


Imaging studies, Stress testing, or both



  • Treatment depends on the cause of the palpitations. If you have heart palpitations then the doctor refers to the cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment.
  • If no major cause for heart palpitations is detected, then the patient might be prescribed medication or non-medical suggestions, like lifestyle changes and dietary habits.

When to visit a Doctor?

Talk to your doctor if you notice that your heart rate is faster than normal. Doctors cannot always identify the cause of heart palpitations. They will need to rule out cardiac arrhythmia like tachycardia and other medical conditions like hyperthyroidism.

There is usually little risk of complications with heart palpitations unless they are caused by underlying heart disease. If they are caused by heart disease, you may experience:

  • Fainting if your heart is beating too fast and your blood pressure drops
  • Cardiac arrest if your palpitations are caused by arrhythmias and your heart is not beating effectively
  • Stroke if your palpitations are related to atrial fibrillation.
  • Heart failure if your heart does not pump well for a long time.

Talk to your doctor if you have palpitations along with other symptoms or if you have any other health concerns.

Home Remedies:

People may use the following home remedies to relieve the short-term pain of swallowing:

  • When feeling anxious or stressed, try relaxation exercises, deep breathing, and yoga.
  • Limit intake of caffeine. Avoid caffeine-containing energy drinks.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Stick to a healthy diet.
  • Reduce alcohol intake.
  • Try to keep the blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are palpitations?

Palpitations are the sensation of the heart beating too hard or too fast, skipping a beat, or fluttering. You may notice heart palpitations in the chest, throat, or neck.

2. How long do heart palpitations last?

Heart palpitations are common, they often last for a few seconds. By taking doctor-prescribed medication or by following some healthy life habits you can get rid of heart palpitations.

3. What causes heart palpitations?

Palpitations can be caused by heart conditions and many other causes include certain medicines, hormone changes, alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs, vigorous exercise, stress, anxiety or nervousness, panic attacks, Coronary artery disease, Congenital heart disease, Heart valve disease, Heart failure, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy(HCM), Arrhythmia, Anemia, Hyperthyroidism.

4. When to worry about heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations feel like having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart. When you experience heart palpitation along with these symptoms Lightheadedness, Chest pain, Shortness of breath, Pulse rate over or less than the normal pulse rate, a family history, loss of consciousness. Immediately seek a medical emergency or consult the doctor.

5. What do heart palpitations feel like?

Heart palpitations feel like having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart.

6. Heart palpitations when lying down?

Heart palpitations can be frightening, especially if they occur when you are lying down to sleep. You may notice a pulsing sensation in their neck, chest, or throat when they happen.


Acute HIV Infection Presenting With Painful Swallowing and Esophageal Ulcers - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/381631
Painful Swallowing - https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-59352-4_20