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Palpitations

Heart palpitations are an uncomfortable awareness of the heart beating rapidly or irregularly. Palpitations can be caused by stress, fatigue, or overuse of alcohol or stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine, and they usually are not a serious problem.

Heart palpitations can feel like:

  • Pounding or fluttering in your chest.
  • Your heart is doing a flip-flop.
  • Your heart is skipping or missing a beat.
  • Your heart is racing.
  • You have an extra heartbeat.
  • Your heart is beating in your neck.

If palpitations persist or occur with fainting, near fainting, or lightheadedness, they may be a sign of a heart problem.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised September 13, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 13, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.