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Understanding is the key to finding answers.


Heart palpitations are relatively common and usually a harmless condition in which the heart feels as if it is pounding, racing or fluttering.

Heart palpitations account for 16% of symptoms that cause patients to go to their primary care doctor, second only to chest pain as the reason patients seek a cardiology evaluation.1-3

While concerning, palpitations usually are harmless. However, in some cases they may indicate a more serious heart condition, like a heart rhythm disorder, that requires treatment.


If your doctor suspects that your heart palpitations are heart related, heart monitoring may be necessary.

Types of heart monitoring vary in terms of how long they can be used and how information is captured. Common types of heart monitoring systems include:

  • Holter Monitors
  • Event Recorders
  • Mobile Cardiac Telemetry Systems
  • Insertable Cardiac Monitoring Systems


These talking points will help you remember important information related to your heart palpitations to share with your healthcare team.

Remember to Share:

  • A description of your symptoms (if applicable)
  • The number of episodes you’ve had in the past 2 years
  • What you were doing before you had symptoms
  • Any concerns you have (e.g., safety, your job, driving)
  • Any treatments you are receiving for your heart
  • If your family has a history of heart conditions
  • How your symptoms are affecting your home and work life

Remember to Ask:

  • How will you determine what is causing my heart palpitations?
  • What tests will you perform?
  • Would long-term monitoring with an insertable cardiac monitor lead to a faster diagnosis?
  • What should I do when I experience heart palpitations?
  • Should I be concerned about my heart palpitations?
  • Will I need treatment? If so, what kind of treatment? What other alternatives are there?
  • Do I need to restrict any activities?
  • Is it safe for me to exercise and go about my other daily activities?
  • Should I see a specialist?


In most cases, no treatment will be needed. Other times, heart palpitations are treated with lifestyle changes or medication.

Lifestyle Changes

May help control heart palpitations, simple lifestyle changes can be implemented:

  • Reduce your anxiety level with deep breathing or relaxation exercise such as yoga or tai chi
  • Limit alcohol
  • Limit caffeine
  • Avoid smoking and tobacco products
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid activities and medications that seem to trigger the palpitations
  • Avoid illegal drugs


Mayou R. Chest pain, palpitations and panic. J Psychosom Res. 1998;44:53-70.


Kroenke K, Arringon ME, Mangelsdroff AD. The prevalence of symptoms in medical outpatients and the adequacy of therapy. Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:1685-9.


Knudson MP. The natural history of palpitations in a family practice. J Fam Pract.1987;24:357-60.