Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Palpitations are the unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart in the chest. This symptom can be caused by a change in the rate or rhythm, or by an increase in the force of the contraction of the heart muscle. In some patients with palpitations, no heart disease or abnormal heart rhythms can be found. In others, palpitations result from abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are heartbeats that are too slow, too rapid, irregular, or too early.
Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
Causes of Palpitations
In This ArticleAlcoholism Article
- Alcohol use disorder facts
- What is alcohol abuse?
- What is alcoholism?
- What differentiates alcohol abuse from alcoholism?
- What are risk factors for alcoholism?
- What causes alcoholism? Is alcoholism hereditary?
- What are alcohol use disorder symptoms and signs in teenagers, women, men, and the elderly?
- How do physicians diagnose alcohol use disorder?
- What are the stages of alcohol use disorder?
- What is the treatment for alcohol use disorder?
- What medications treat alcohol use disorder?
- How can you tell if someone has a drinking problem?
- Can an alcoholic just cut back or stop drinking?
- Is there a safe level of drinking?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant?
- How can someone find more information or get help or support to treat alcohol use disorder?
- What are the long-term physical and psychological effects of alcohol use disorder?
- What is codependency, and what is the treatment for codependency?
- Is it possible to prevent alcohol use disorder?
- What is the prognosis of alcohol use disorder?
In This ArticleAortic Stenosis Article
- Aortic valve stenosis facts
- What is aortic stenosis?
- What causes aortic stenosis?
- How does aortic stenosis affect the left ventricle pump?
- What are the symptoms of aortic stenosis?
- What might the doctor find in patients with aortic stenosis?
- How is aortic stenosis diagnosed?
- How is aortic stenosis treated?
In This ArticleArrhythmia Article
- Introduction to Arrhythmia
- What causes an arrhythmia?
- What are the types of arrhythmias?
- What are the symptoms of arrhythmias?
- How are arrhythmias diagnosed?
- How are arrhythmias treated?
- What medications are used to treat arrhythmias?
- What lifestyle changes should be made?
- What is electrical cardioversion?
- What is a pacemaker?
- What is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)?
- What is catheter ablation?
- What is heart surgery?
In This ArticleAsthma Article
- What is asthma?
- What causes asthma?
- What are the different types of asthma?
- What are the signs and symptoms of asthma?
- How is asthma diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for asthma?
- What is an asthma action plan?
- What is the prognosis for asthma?
- Can asthma be prevented?
In This ArticleAtrial Fibrillation Article
- Atrial fibrillation facts
- What is atrial fibrillation?
- What causes atrial fibrillation?
- What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?
- What are the complications of atrial fibrillation?
- What are the risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation?
- How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for atrial fibrillation?
- Reversing the risk factors that cause atrial fibrillation
- Slowing the heart rate with medications
- Anticoagulation to prevent blood clots and strokes
- Converting atrial fibrillation to a normal rhythm
- Procedures for treating and preventing atrial fibrillation
- What is new in atrial fibrillation?
In This ArticleChagas Disease Article
- Chagas disease (kissing bug disease) facts
- What is Chagas disease?
- What is the history of Chagas disease?
- What causes Chagas disease?
- What are the risk factors for Chagas disease?
- What are symptoms and signs of Chagas disease?
- How is Chagas disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for Chagas disease?
- Can transmission of Chagas disease be prevented with a vaccine?
- What is the prognosis for Chagas disease?
- What are the complications of Chagas disease?
- What research is being done for Chagas disease?
In This ArticleChest Pain Article
- Chest pain facts
- Chest pain introduction
- What are the sources of chest pain?
- What are the causes of chest pain?
- How is chest pain diagnosed?
- What is the philosophy of the approach to chest pain diagnosis?
- What is the diagnosis and treatment for chest pain?
- Broken or bruised ribs
- Pleuritis or pleurisy
- Pulmonary embolism
- Angina and heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Aorta and aortic dissection
- Esophagus and reflux esophagitis
- Referred abdominal pain
In This ArticleDepression Article
- Depression facts
- What is a depressive disorder?
- What are myths about depression?
- What are the types of depression, and what are depression symptoms and signs?
- Depression symptoms and signs in men
- Depression symptoms and signs in women
- Depression symptoms and signs in teenagers
- Depression symptoms and signs in children
- What are the causes and risk factors for depression?
- Postpartum depression
- How is depression diagnosed?
- What treatments are available for depression?
- What is the general approach to treating depression?
- What about sexual dysfunction related to antidepressants?
- What about discontinuing antidepressants?
- What are complications of depression?
- What is the prognosis for depression?
- How can depression be prevented?
- What about self-help and home remedies for depression?
- How can someone help a person who is depressed?
- Where can one seek help for depression?
- What is in the future for depression?
- Where can people find more information about depression?
In This ArticleFever Article
- Aches, pain, fever facts
- What is a fever?
- What causes a fever?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a fever?
- How is a fever diagnosed?
- How should I take a temperature for fever?
- What is the treatment for a fever?
- When should I seek medical care for a fever?
- What are complications of a fever?
- What is the prognosis for a fever?
- Can fevers be prevented?
In This ArticleHeart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease) Article
- What is heart disease?
- What are the risk factors for heart disease?
- What causes heart disease?
- What are the symptoms of heart disease?
- How is heart disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for heart disease?
- What is the prognosis for heart disease?
- Can heart disease be prevented?
In This ArticleHyperthyroidism Article
- Hyperthyroidism facts
- What is hyperthyroidism?
- What are thyroid hormones?
- Thyroid hormone regulation--the chain of command
- What causes hyperthyroidism?
- What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?
- How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?
- How is hyperthyroidism treated?
- What's best for you?
In This ArticleHypoglycemia Article
- What is hypoglycemia?
- Who is at risk for hypoglycemia?
- I thought high blood sugar was bad. Why is low blood sugar also bad?
- Can the body protect itself from hypoglycemia?
- What are symptoms of hypoglycemia and how low is too low?
- How is hypoglycemia treated?
- Is there anything else that should be done to manage hypoglycemia?
In This ArticleMarfan Syndrome Article
- Marfan syndrome facts*
- What is Marfan syndrome?
- What are the symptoms of Marfan syndrome?
- What causes Marfan syndrome?
- How is Marfan syndrome diagnosed?
- What types of doctors treat Marfan syndrome?
- What treatment options are available for Marfan syndrome?
- What are some of the emotional and psychological effects of Marfan syndrome?
- What research is being conducted on Marfan syndrome?
- Where can people find additional information about Marfan syndrome?
In This ArticleMitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) Article
- Mitral valve prolapse facts
- What is mitral valve prolapse?
- What are the sign and symptoms of mitral valve prolapse?
- How is mitral valve prolapse diagnosed and evaluated?
- What is the treatment for mitral valve prolapse?
In This ArticlePanic Attacks Article
- Panic attack facts
- What are panic attacks?
- What are panic attack symptoms and signs in adults, teenagers, and children?
- Are panic attacks serious?
- What are causes and risk factors for panic attacks?
- How is panic disorder diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for panic attacks? What medications treat panic attacks?
- What are complications of untreated panic attacks?
- What is the prognosis for panic disorder?
- How are panic attacks prevented?
In This ArticleSmoking (How to Quit Smoking) Article
- Smoking and quitting smoking facts
- What problems are caused by smoking?
- What is addictive disease and why is smoking considered an addictive disease?
- What are the signs of cigarette addiction?
- Why should someone quit smoking?
- What are the steps in quitting?
- Getting ready to quit smoking
- On the day you quit smoking
- Staying quit
- What methods can help a person quit smoking?
- Behavioral modification and self-help literature to quit smoking
- Nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking
- What prescription products are available for smoking cessation?
- How are nicotine-containing products used safely?
- What is in the future for smoking?
In This ArticleStress Article
- Stress facts
- What is stress?
- A brief history of stress
- What are the signs and symptoms of poorly managed stress?
- Who is most vulnerable to stress?
- Teen stress
- What is the healthy response to stress?
- How does the response to stress work?
- What is the role of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (grouping) in stress?
- What is the role of the locus coeruleus in stress?
- How do the connections in the brain work in stress?
- What do we know about using (activating) and overusing our internal systems that respond to stress?
- What are the effects of stress on medical and psychological conditions?
- Conclusions about the effects of stress
- What can people do for stress management?
- What's in the future for stress?
Other Causes of Palpitations
- Bradycardia (Very Slow Heartbeat)
- Medications (Both Prescription and Nonprescription)
- Premature Atrial Contractions
Examples of Medications for Palpitations
- amiodarone, Cordarone, Nextrone, Pacerone
- atenolol, Tenormin
- Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)
- metoprolol, Lopressor, Toprol XL
- nifedipine, Adalat (discontinued brand), Procardia, Afeditab, Nifediac
- procainamide, Pronestyl; Procan-SR; Procanbid (These brands no longer are available in the U.S.)
- propranolol, Inderal, Inderal LA, Innopran XL
- quinidine, Quinidine Gluconate, Quinidine Sulfate
- verapamil, Calan, Verelan, Verelan PM, Isoptin, Isoptin SR, Covera-HS
Symptoms & Signs A-Z List
Get the latest treatment options.