There are many factors that can lead to heart palpitations that range from anxiety to cold medicine to unusual heart rhythm, called arrhythmia. To diagnose the true cause for your palpitations or to make sure that arrhythmia is the actual culprit; our team of expert cardiologists offers extensive testing services such as Holter monitoring, electrocardiogram (EKG), and echocardiogram.
When Should Heart Palpitations Be Evaluated by Your Cardiologist?
There is a wide range of factors that can cause palpitations, such as arrhythmia. Anyone who has had heart palpitations or any of the symptoms listed below should be checked out by an experienced cardiologist. These symptoms include:
- Difficulty Breathing
Arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slow, too fast, or irregularly due to an electrical malfunction. There are different kinds of arrhythmia but the most common is an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation or AF. When an individual has atrial fibrillation their cardiac signals will be erratic, which can reduce the efficiency of the cardiac pump. This can lead to an increased risk of blood clots, which can cause stroke and heart failure.
What is done to determine if the Palpitations are caused by an Arrhythmia?
Apex Heart and Vascular Center will look at your medical history and then conduct a routine physical examination. However, additional testing may be required, which will include:
- Chest X-Rays
- Urine Analysis
- Blood Analysis
- Electrocardiogram or EKG. This is a simple non-invasive procedure that is used to interpret the electrical activity of your heart. It uses electrodes that are placed on the legs, chest, and arms. Every heartbeat is coupled with an electrical signal that scans the top of the heart to the bottom. When this electrical signal travels, it will cause the heart to contract and then pump blood. The recording from an EKG test can give a lot of information to your doctor such as: how your heart is working, heart rate, size of the chambers, position of the chamber, heartbeat regularity, and any damage that has occurred in the heart. This test can be used to determine the effectiveness of certain devices or medications used to help regulate your heart.
- Holter Monitor is an ambulatory electrocardiography device. This piece of sophisticated equipment is used to monitor any electrical activity within the cardiovascular system over 12 to 48 hours. This recording lasts a long time in order to observe intermittent cardiac arrhythmias that can be difficult to find with an electrocardiogram. It can also be used to record abnormalities that only happen during activities such as sleeping or physical activities.
- Echocardiogram. This procedure uses sound waves or echoes to create an image of your heart. It can determine tissue damage, location, shape, size, and pump capacity.
- Stress test. This test is done to determine how your heart performs under various levels of stress. When your heart is working harder, it will give your doctor an easier time to diagnose issues. We provide heart stimulation through a number of methods such as using a treadmill or by injecting intravenous vasodilators. However, we only inject this drug when a patient is unable to exercise or use a treadmill.