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Heart & Cardiology/Question re heart palpitations


I just wanted to get clarification on the nature of heart palpitations.

1. Are all palpitations PVCs or PACs. Or can you have a fluttering/flip-flop sensation that is not necessarily an arrhythmia?
2. They say to have palpitations checked out if they are accompanied by shortness of breath. Does this mean prolonged shortness of breath? Isn't momentary surprise or winding kind of to be expected in people who are extra sensitive to these beats?
3. Are palpitations unusual during exercise? I've read that exercise can bring them on, but that they don't usually occur during exercise. I believe when I had a stress test and holter, I had a few pvcs/pacs recorded and were told they were normal. But I'm wondering about this relationship.

Thank you very much for your insight!

Hello Kristen,

1.  No, palpitations can occur in atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.  I guess you can have flip-flops or flutters without an arrhythmia.
2.  Yes, it means prolonged shortness of breath.  Momentary winding often accompanies palpitations.
3.  Premature beats are less frequent during exercise, but they can occur during exercise.

Please write back if this doesn’t answer all your questions.

David Richardson

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David Richardson


Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.


Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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