Heart & Vascular Institute -  - Interventional Cardiovascular Specialist

Heart & Vascular Institute

Interventional Cardiovascular Specialists serving Michigan

For most people, palpitations refer to a gradual or sudden ability to feel the beating of their heart. In most cases, palpitations aren’t serious health issues, but they may also be a symptom of an underlying cardiac condition. The experienced cardiology team at Heart & Vascular Institute in Wayne, Dearborn, Detroit, and Southfield, Michigan, specializes in the evaluation and diagnosis of heart palpitations. To schedule an evaluation with the best heart care team in Michigan, call the office most convenient to you or book an appointment using the online tool today.

Palpitations Q & A

What are palpitations?

Palpitations occur when you can feel your heart beating in your chest, throat, or neck. The sensation may occur during physical activity or at rest. 

Your heart is made up of four chambers, including the right atrium and left atrium, which serve as the reservoir chambers, and the right and left ventricles, which are the two pumping chambers. 

During circulation, oxygen-poor blood enters your heart through the right atrium and then moves to the right ventricle, which pumps the blood into your pulmonary arteries. 

Your oxygen-rich blood then re-enters the heart through the left atrium and then to the left ventricle, which pumps the blood to the rest of your body.

The rhythm of your heart is controlled by electrical signals sent from chamber to chamber, and it’s set by your heart’s natural pacemaker, the sinus node, located in your right atrium. If electrical signals fire out of sync with the natural pacemaker, you may experience palpitations. 

What causes heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations are common and may develop from a range of causes. Common causes include:

  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Medications
  • Physical activity
  • Illegal drugs
  • Nicotine
  • Alcohol
  • Low blood sugar
  • Anemia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Low blood pressure

Your heart palpitations may also be a symptom of an underlying heart condition, such as arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, or heart valve disorder. 

Although heart palpitations aren’t serious in most cases, you should still schedule an evaluation at Heart & Vascular Institute to rule out a heart condition. 

What are types of palpitations?

The changes in the sinus rhythm from your heart palpitations may cause your heart to beat too fast, too slowly, add beats, or skip beats. The types of symptoms you experience determine your palpitation type, which includes:

Ectopic heartbeat

An ectopic heartbeat refers to a premature or extra heartbeat and is a very common type of arrhythmia. 

Atrial flutter

An atrial flutter affects the electrical signaling of your upper chamber and increases the rate of heartbeats in the upper chamber.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that originates in the upper chamber of your heart and causes a racing heartbeat.

Ventricular tachycardia

Ventricular tachycardia causes an increase in your heart rate. 

When your doctor listens to your heartbeat with a stethoscope, they typically hear a lub-dub sound as the chambers of your heart open and close. 

If your doctor hears more of a whooshing or swishing sound, then you have a heart murmur. Your heart murmur may be harmless or a sign of a more serious heart condition.

To schedule an evaluation with the cardiology experts at Heart & Vascular Institute for your heart palpitations, contact the office by phone or online today.