ZocdocAnswersWhy is my heart beating so fast?

Question

Why is my heart beating so fast?

I'm only 22 but my heart is acting weird. Randomly it will beat very fast out of nowhere and this happens a couple times each week. What is wrong with my heart or is this a pretty normal thing to happen to most adults?

Answer

It sounds like you are describing a heart palpitation. This can sometimes occur without any warnings and can be caused by fear or anxiety, but often it has no identifiable causes. Some people have slightly variation in their heart circus that can be triggered to having these episodes of arrhythmia. The most common arrhythmia is called atrial fibrillation. It is very common and sometimes a patient can feel their heart beating very irregularly. It is very important to have it diagnosed and treated or at least controlled. The treatment for new onset atrial fibrillation is cardioversion. This involves delivering a small electrical shock to the heart to reset its electrical activity. It is done with a patient under sedation, and pain controlled. Patient first undergoes an echo to make sure that there is no blood clot in the heart before it is deemed safe to cardiovert. The other method is by infusing medication to try to make the heart do the same thing. When atrial fibrillation has been occurring for longer than 24 hours, cardioversion is no longer recommended as your heart could have formed a blood clot, and restarting the heart could displace the clot and cause major problem such as stroke or intestinal ischemia. The natural history of atrial fibrillation without treatment is complications from blood clots so I would highly encourage you to get it diagnosed and possibly treated. Please speak with your primary care provider, who can assess and treat you for this.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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