Feeling your heart suddenly pound or skip can be a scary experience, and although there’s generally nothing to worry about, it’s always best to have your symptoms checked in case there’s a more serious problem. Henock Saint-Jacques, MD, FACC, is a highly experienced heart specialist at Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue in New York City who combines his expertise with the use of state-of-the-art diagnostics to find the cause of your palpitations. Call the East Harlem office or book online to schedule an appointment today.
Palpitations are the feeling that your heart is:
Palpitations can happen at any time, and you may feel the effects in your neck as well as your heart. They often occur due to causes such as:
Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, and pseudoephedrine that’s in some cold medicines can also cause palpitations.
In most cases, heart palpitations aren’t a cause for concern, but it’s possible for palpitations to be a symptom of a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism, which is a thyroid gland dysfunction that requires medication.
Palpitations may sometimes be a sign of arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heartbeat. You could have tachycardia, where the heart beats very fast; bradycardia, where the heart beats slowly; or an irregularity in the rhythm of your heartbeat.
If you experience palpitations accompanied by chest pain, syncope (fainting and muscle weakness), dizziness, or severe shortness of breath, you should seek urgent medical attention.
When you visit Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue, Dr. Saint-Jacques goes through your medical history and talks to you about your symptoms. He then listens to your heart with a stethoscope, which amplifies the sound of your heartbeat so he can detect any abnormalities.
If Dr. Saint-Jacques suspects you may have a heart condition, he can run tests to see what your heart is doing at the time you’re experiencing palpitations.
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) records the electrical impulses responsible for your heartbeat through electrodes placed on your chest. The EKG reading highlights any irregularities in the rhythm of your heart or its structure that might be causing your palpitations. An echocardiogram is a form of ultrasound scan that displays the details of the structure and function of your heart.
You may need to wear a Holter monitor if your regular EKG doesn’t register your palpitations. A Holter monitor is a portable EKG that provides continuous cardiac monitoring over several days.
For palpitations that aren’t related to a heart problem, avoiding the triggers that cause them should reduce the number of palpitations you experience; for example, reducing stress, cutting out caffeine, and moderating your exercise routine.
If Dr. Saint-Jacques finds that your palpitations are due to a medical condition, he’ll advise you on the best treatment. For instance, you may need to be fitted with a pacemaker or an implantable cardiac defibrillator to regulate the beating of your heart if you have an arrhythmia.
If you’ve been experiencing palpitations, call Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue or book an appointment online today.