A doctor will do a physical examination and use a stethoscope to listen to your heart to identify palpitations and to check for signs of conditions like an enlarged thyroid gland that might cause heart palpitations.
Tests that may be performed if your doctor suspects that palpitations are brought on by an irregular heartbeat or another cardiac problem include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): the electrical activity of the heart is measured by this rapid and painless examination. Electrodes are applied to the arms, legs, and occasionally the chest in the form of sticky patches and connected by wires to a computer, which shows the test findings. If the heart is beating too slowly, too quickly, or not at all, an ECG might reveal this.
- Holter monitoring: worn to monitor the heart’s rhythm and beat during routine activities for a day or longer to find heart palpitations that are missed by a standard ECG examination. Smart watches and other portable electronics provide remote ECG monitoring.
- Event recording: used if you don’t have irregular heartbeat when using a Holter monitor or if the occurrences are less often than once per week. As soon as symptoms appear, you click a button. Normally, you wear an event recorder for up to 30 days or until you experience an arrhythmia or symptoms.
- Echocardiogram: non-invasive examination where sound waves are used to produce animated images of the beating heart. It can reveal issues with the heart’s structure and blood flow.
Cardiac palpitations rarely need to be treated unless they are brought on by a heart problem. Instead, a doctor might advise taking precautions to stay away from the triggers that lead to palpitations.
Treatment for palpitations that are brought on by a cardiac problem, such as an arrhythmia, will concentrate on resolving the issue.