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Heart palpitations

September 01, 2007

Palpitations—the sensation that the heart has started to race or pound, or feels like it has skipped a beat—are usually caused by a harmless hiccup in the heart’s rhythm. Sometimes, though, palpitations reflect a problem in the heart or elsewhere in the body. Sorting out worrisome palpitations from harmless ones isn’t always easy, reports the September 2007 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

Palpitations are extremely common. Different people experience them in different ways. You might feel as though your heart is fluttering, throbbing, flip-flopping, or pounding, or that it has missed a beat. Palpitations can appear out of the blue and disappear just as suddenly. Or they might be linked with certain activities, events, or feelings. Some of the most important pieces of information that can help your doctor in pinning them down is how palpitations feel, how often they strike, and when they occur.

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