The phenomenon called palpitations, i.e., a strong, possibly irregular heartbeat sensation, can be quite frightening. Dr. Péter Vaskó, a specialist at the Cardio Center, draws the attention of our readers to some of the underlying causes and the possibilities of the investigation.
Palpitations, or rapid heartbeats
Palpitations are a medical concept to denote a violent heartbeat. The affected person experiences a rapid and irregular heartbeat for a short time, possibly with a major bump or miss. Others describe the phenomenon as a flying feeling, some may be frightened by the strength of their heartbeat, others more by its speed. Some people experience this feeling regularly, others very rarely. You should be aware of the relatively more common causes that can lead to palpitations:
– drug addicts,
– consuming too much caffeine,
– low blood sugar,
– some stimulants,
– electrolyte imbalance, such as low potassium levels,
– an acute illness,
– certain heart diseases such as various forms of tachycardia, atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia.
If the heartbeat is accompanied by symptoms such as chest pain (which may radiate to the jaw, shoulder, neck), difficulty breathing, cold sweats, confusion, fainting, be sure to call an ambulance!
What tests may be needed?
- Blood pressure measurement and 24 hour blood pressure measurement
Blood pressure measurement is the basis of all examinations, even if the patient measures the values at home. In many patients, blood pressure rises only intermittently, and a 24-hour blood pressure measurement is the answer.
During the ECG examination, the number and regularity of heartbeats per minute, the pacing of the heart, and the conduction of the heart can be checked, and there may be signs of arrhythmias or heart damage. Among other things, information can be obtained about the size of the walls of the chambers, as well as about the effects of the drugs used on the heart function and their undesirable side effects.
There are diseases whose signs that can be detected by ECG appear only during exercise ECG. That is, it may therefore be necessary to record an ECG trace during physical activity, typically cycling or treadmill use.
With this test, a still and moving image of the heart can be obtained and the speed of the flowing blood can be measured with it. A number of other segments can be examined with cardiac ultrasound, such as cardiac cavities, heart walls and pericardial function, as well as valvular dysfunction, post-infarction wall disorders, blood clot, valvular disease, scarring, abnormal blood flow, pump function, and also the amount of fluid that accumulates.
24-hour ECG (Holter ECG)
Certain arrhythmias cannot be detected continuously and therefore cannot be detected with an ECG taken at a randomly selected time. In this case, a 24-hour ECG examination with a portable device is required.
Data from blood tests are of great help in cardiological examinations. The test most often requested by a cardiologist is a routine. Determination of bilirubin, Gamma-GT, LDH, CK, prothrombin, fibrinogen, homocysteine, and subsidence levels may be particularly important. In addition, examination of renal function, ions, and thyroid function may also be important.
In rare cases, isotope examination of the heart muscle, electrophysiological examination, CT and MR may also be required.
What can be done if you feel a palpitation?
First and foremost, it is important to look for whether palpitations are caused by some kind of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, organ problems are rarely revealed, and in many cases “only” stress causes this disorder.
Of course, this also needs to be treated with lifestyle changes, regular exercise, and relaxation techniques, the cardiologist emphasizes. And if you want to get rid of the heartbeat in a specific situation, you may want to try slow, deep, nasal breathing or sprinkling cold water on your face for a few minutes. Both techniques can result in a bodily response that results in a slowing of the heartbeat.
Source: Patika Magazin Online by www.patikamagazin.hu.
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