ZocdocAnswersWhy do I get heart palpitations even though the cardiologist saw nothing wrong?

Question

Why do I get heart palpitations even though the cardiologist saw nothing wrong?

I had an abnormal EKG a while back at my primary care doctors office so I was referred to a cardiologist. He is a well known cardiologist and had rave reviews so I felt secure. They did an ultrasound of my heart and then had me do a stress test. I also had an ultrasound of my heart afterward. The cardiologist said everything looks great! However, the last two days I have had palpitations. I have had them before but it kind of scares me. I suffer from anxiety as well so this will put me into full blown panic mode. Can you have palpitations despite normal cardio tests?

Answer

This is a discussion you should have with your doctors. On the whole I think that the results of all of the diagnostic tests that you have done are probably great news. Generally speaking, when a heart test and stress test are normal, the likelihood that palpitations are related to a real heart problem is quite low. However, it is possible to have an intermittent rhythm problem with the heart that may not be picked up on the stress test but that might still be occurring at random times throughout your day. For this reason, some cardiologists may want to send you home with a home heart monitor to try to capture these events. This monitor is called either a "Holter monitor" or an "event monitor." Assuming that all of these studies turn out normal, then you will need to follow up with either your primary care doctor or your psychiatrist, because anxiety or panic attacks can also be a common cause of palpitations. If this is what is contributing to your palpitations, then treating your anxiety symptoms more aggressively will be helpful. Again, please continue to discuss this issue with your doctors.

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

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