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Heart Rhythm Disorders


Many arrhythmias cause no or minimal symptoms. Other people, however, can actually feel the arrhythmia when it happens.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Palpitations, feeling "skipped beats"
  • Thumping or fluttering in the chest
  • Sensation of the heart racing

In addition, some can experience the following:

On the other hand, people may feel many of the sensations described above and have no arrhythmias whatsoever. These may be due to anxiety, stress, or other causes besides an abnormal heartbeat.

Most people have noticed their heart racing, a fluttering in the chest, or a sensation that the heart skipped a beat. If this happens once, or infrequently, with no other symptoms, it is usually not serious. However, any questions or concerns should be discussed with a health care provider. The health care provider should also be notified if a recommended treatment does not alleviate the symptoms.

More serious symptoms should be evaluated immediately at the nearest hospital emergency department. These symptoms include:

  • Any unexplained Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness or feeling faint
  • Feeling that the heart is beating too slowly or too quickly
  • Chest pain with any of these symptoms

People experiencing these symptoms should not drive to the emergency department. They should call 911 for emergency medical transport.


Follow-up is usually done with the primary care provider and often with a heart specialist. The patient is monitored for effectiveness of treatment, recurrence of symptoms or arrhythmia, side effects of medication, additional routine testing, and overall condition. For those requiring pacemakers, follow-up on a regular basis is mandatory.


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