Awareness of the heartbeat or a sensation of having a rapid and forceful heartbeat. Palpitations are usually felt in tense situations, or after strenuous exercise or a scare. When experienced at rest or when calm, they are usually due to ectopic heartbeats and are felt as fluttering or thumping in the chest. Palpitations may also be due to cardiac arrhythmias and hyperthyroidism. Recurrent palpitations, or those causing chest pain, breathlessness, or dizziness, may be investigated by a 24-hour ECG and thyroid function tests. Treatment depends on the cause.


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