By Krishna Kishore Gaddam, M.D.
Heart palpitations (being conscious of your heart beating irregularly or fast) is a common cardiac symptom experienced by several patients. It often represents an “ARRHYTHMIA” or an abnormal heart rhythm. Some patients don’t necessarily experience palpitations but can have other non specific symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue or tiredness, dizziness, near passing out, passing out etc. All cardiac problems are not due to circulation problems and heart attack, but these could be due to an electrical abnormality in your heart. Some of these can be dangerous and could lead to “sudden death”, congestive heart failure and strokes.
If you are experiencing palpitations, you might need to be evaluated by a Cardiologist or an Electrophysiologist (one who is specialized in treating electrical rhythm problems). The majority of the arrhythmias are easily treatable and / or curable. Tests such as an EKGs, echocardiogram, holter (24 to 48 hours) or event monitors (a monitor you can wear for prolonged period of time), and electrophysiology test (a catheter procedure) might help diagnose your problem. There are several medical options or “ABLATION” procedures (a catheter procedure performed in your heart) that can potentially cure or minimize the arrhythmias you might be having and in most cases prevent the consequences of the arrhythmias and/or improve your quality of life.