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First Aid & Emergencies

Heart Palpitations Treatment

Call 911 if palpitations occur with:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Light-headedness
  • Passing out
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest, neck, jaw, arms, or upper back
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  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Light-headedness
  • Passing out
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest, neck, jaw, arms, or upper back

1. Take Steps to Reduce Heart Palpitations

  • Leave a stressful situation and try to be calm. Anxiety, stress, fear, or panic can cause palpitations. 
  • Cut back on coffee, tea, chocolate, and colas if caffeine seems to cause palpitations.
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. Nicotine can cause palpitations.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Avoid illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines.
  • Avoid medications that act like stimulants, such as cough and cold medicines or decongestants.

2. Follow Up

  • Call your doctor for an appointment. Often, palpitations aren’t serious, but they can be related to abnormal heart valves, heart rhythm problems, or panic attacks.
  • Always call a doctor if palpitations change in nature or increase suddenly.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on March 22, 2013

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