If your doctor thinks you have heart palpitations, he or she will listen to your heart using a stethoscope. Your doctor may also look for signs of medical conditions that can cause heart palpitations, such as a swollen thyroid gland.
Other tests your doctor may perform include:
Apr. 02, 2014
Electrocardiogram (ECG). In this noninvasive test, a technician will place probes on your chest that record the electrical impulses that make your heart beat.
An ECG can help your doctor detect irregularities in your heart's rhythm and structure that could cause palpitations. The test may be performed while you rest or exercise (stress electrocardiogram).
- Holter monitoring. A Holter monitor is a portable device that you wear to record a continuous ECG, usually for 24 to 72 hours. Holter monitoring is used to detect heart palpitations that aren't found during a regular ECG exam.
Event recording. If you don't have irregular heart rhythms while you wear a Holter monitor, your doctor may recommend an event recorder.
You wear an event recorder as much as possible throughout the day, and push a button on a recording device you wear on your belt to record your heartbeat when you have symptoms. You may need to wear an event monitor for several weeks.
Echocardiogram. This noninvasive exam, which includes an ultrasound of your chest, shows detailed images of your heart's structure and function.
Ultrasound waves are transmitted, and their echoes are recorded with a device called a transducer that's held outside your body. A computer uses the information from the transducer to create moving images on a video monitor.
- Zimetbaum PJ. Overview of palpitations in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 26, 2013.
- Palpitations. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hpl/hpl_all.html. Accessed Nov. 26, 2013.
- Wexler RK, et al. Outpatient approach to palpitations. American Family Physician. 2011;84:63.
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