Heart palpitations: Mostly harmless

Occasionally these heart rhythm disruptions signal a more serious condition.


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Lately you've felt like a flipping fish is stuck inside your chest. You feel fine otherwise, but there it is again — flip, flop. It's gone as fast as it appears. But you're starting to worry: is it a sign of a serious heart problem?

Chances are what you're feeling is a condition called heart palpitations, which are usually harmless blips in the heart rhythm, explains Dr. Peter Zimetbaum, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Harvard Medical School. Only occasionally are these rhythm disturbances the sign of a more serious heart problem that should be checked out.

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