Heart & Cardiology/skipped heart beats


I'm a 66  year old female in good health except for anxiety, which I've had all my life. But the long illness of my husband contributed to it greatly. He passed away 2 years ago, but my anxiety didn't pass with him. I get such skipped heart beats. I've had these different times over the years, but lately they are just debilitating. I get them when I get up in the morning while I'm showering. I get them when I want to do any activity such as working in the garden, walking, shopping, even mixing up cookie dough!!! Three years ago I had an echocardiogram done --- it was normal except for a "trace" of mitral valve regurgitation. I wore a holter monitor for 48 hours ---- normal except for a few skipped beats. My heart never acts up during testing!!! Recently I had a stress test --- also reported as normal. But still, I get these horrible skipped heart beats that interfere with my life. I keep thinking that the doctors just HAD to have missed something. I had my annual physical today --- passed with flying colors. I told the doctor again about my skipped beats. He said it's anxiety. How can I be sure of that? He said no further testing is needed, because my workup 3 years ago was fine. Please give me your thoughts on this. Thank you so much. I'm afraid to do anything anymore, because these skipped heart beats just bring me to a halt!

Hello Dorothy,

Skipped beats are normal heart activity, easy to understand as normal from knowledge of the heart's electrical system and occurring in about half of us.  They don't mean you have heart disease or will in the future develop heart disease or any cardiac catastrophe. Anxiety does make them more frequent.  You don't need any more tests.  Ask your doc about a beta blocker, which are very safe and moderately effective in reducing skips, especially when anxiety is playing a prominent role.

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

David Richardson  

Heart & Cardiology

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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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