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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:
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).
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.
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