Heart Palpitations : Tests & Treatment

Tests

  • Tests used to diagnose the cause of heart palpitations include blood tests, 12-lead ECG and ambulatory monitoring devices.
  • Blood tests include tests to check hemoglobin levels, electrolyte levels, kidney function tests and thyroid function tests.
  • A 12-lead ECG can help to detect the cause of the palpitation.
  • Ambulatory methods like the Holter monitor and the event recorder can be attached to the patient to record the heart’s activity over a particular period and study any abnormalities in the heart’s rate and rhythm.

Treatment
As part of your physical exam, your doctor will check your temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure and gives special attention to your heart and lungs.

The treatment depends on the result of the tests and after determining the cause.

Home Care

Reducing your caffeine intake will often significantly reduce your heart palpitations. Reducing stress and anxiety can help lessen the frequency or intensity of your heart palpitations. Try breathing exercises or deep relaxation (a step-by-step process of tensing and then relaxing every muscle group in your body) when palpitations occur. Practicing yoga or tai chi on a regular basis can reduce the frequency of your palpitations.

Keep a record of how often you have palpitations, when they happen, how long they last, your heart rate at the time of the palpitations, and what you are feeling at the time. This information may help your doctor figure out both their seriousness and their underlying cause.

Once a serious cause has been ruled out by your doctor, try NOT to pay attention to heart palpitations, unless you notice a sudden increase or a change in them.

If you have never had heart palpitations before, bring them to the attention of your healthcare provider.

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