Some people may feel skipped heartbeats every once and a while. These may feel like single skips, flips, fluttering, or hard beats in the chest. At times, the heart may even race. These symptoms are called palpitations and need to be correlated with your heart rhythm. “People may assume they are having panic attacks and do not seek treatment,” says Sandra S. McCearley, MD, cardiologist/electrophysiologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Sometimes these heart palpitations can indicate a serious problem such as an arrhythmia that can be treated.”
Symptoms can be correlated with a patient’s heart rhythm to determine if there is an underlying rhythm disorder. Ambulatory cardiac monitors can be worn for 24 to 48 hours or as long as 30 days to evaluate for heart rhythm issues. If the episodes are rare, an implantable loop recorder may need to be implanted to capture the episodes. “This device allows me to correlate their symptoms to their actual rhythm and I can monitor over a longer period of time,” says McCearley.
McCearley encourages anyone with symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness or dizziness to be evaluated by a physician.
For more information, call 573-331-3996.