Ever felt as though your heart has skipped a beat? You may have experienced what is known as an Ectopic heartbeat.
Ectopic heartbeats are relatively common amongst people of all ages whether they have normal hearts or a heart disease. But what exactly are Ectopic heartbeats? What causes them? And are they dangerous?
Put simply, an ectopic heartbeat is when your heart experiences an early heartbeat, with a brief pause afterwards. You generally become aware of the irregular rhythm on the next beat, which feels much stronger. It can often feel like fluttering, as though your heart skipped a beat, or similar to a heart palpitation and it is very common to feel a fullness in the neck or throat.
Ectopic heartbeats are generally harmless and will often resolve without the need for medical intervention, however, if Ectopic heartbeats continues, it is important to seek medical treatment.
Palpitations and ectopic heartbeats are usually nothing to worry about. Almost every person will experience at least a few ectopics daily but the vast majority will not notice them. They can be thought of as a completely normal phenomenon of the heart, so best not to get worried straight away.
However, you are more likely to be aware of ectopics occurring if you are experiencing stress or have had too much caffeine or other stimulants such as alcohol, smoking or recreational drugs. Ectopics can also be common during ‘hang-overs’ or if you have had too little sleep.
Whether or not you need treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the ectopics and how severe your symptoms are. If you are concerned about your own experience with ectopic heartbeats, a few steps you can take to lower the frequency that they occur would be:
If your symptoms do not improve on these simple lifestyle changes, then seeking medical attention from a cardiologist expert in Ectopic beats is a good idea, particularly to ensure your heart is structurally and functionally normal. The test that would be arranged could include:
For more information about Ectopic Heartbeats and answers regarding treatment please visit the Ectopic Heartbeats page. If you need to speak to a specialist about Ectopic Heartbeats then please get in touch with Dr Segal here on the website or via his dedicated Doctify page.