Heart palpitations are sensations that your heart is racing or pounding. They can also make you feel like your heart has skipped a beat or is fluttering.

Lots of factors can trigger heart palpitations, including stress, exercise, caffeine, nicotine and illegal drugs. So can pregnancy, fever, low blood sugar, dehydration and overactive thyroid. Even cough medicines and asthma inhalers can make you feel like your heart is racing.


Most heart palpitations are harmless, but  talk to your doctor if you’re having them often or if you’re also:

  • Feeling light-headed or like you might faint
  • Feeling pain, pressure or tightness in your chest, jaw or arms
  • Feeling short of breath or having trouble breathing
  • Sweating more than usual


It’s a good idea to keep notes for your doctor on when you have palpitations, what they feel like, how long they last, how often they happen and what you think might bring them on. When you meet with your doctor, he or she will perform a physical exam and may order lab or diagnostic tests including:

Services & Treatment

If a heart condition or another medical issue is triggering your palpitations, your doctor will work with you on a treatment plan to meet your needs. If your heart palpitations don’t appear to have a specific cause, your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes, including:

  • Avoiding stimulants like caffeine
  • Medications to help you quit smoking
  • Relaxation exercises, yoga or meditation

No matter what the issue, you can count on personalized, compassionate care from leading experts in heart health. Our Cardiac Electrophysiology Department specializes in diagnosing, managing and treating irregular heartbeats and heart rhythm disorders.

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