During exercise, your heart beats faster to keep up with increased demands on your body. Specifically, it needs to beat faster in order to pump more oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, including the heart muscle itself. Therefore, it is normal to notice a more rapid heart rate after exercise. However, the heart normally pumps in a regular manner, and an irregular pulse can be indicative of an arrhythmia. It is important for you to be evaluated by your physician to determine if additional testing is necessary.
If this is due to an arrhythmia, some common examples include atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia, AV nodal reentrant tachycardia, or atrial tachycardia. More uncommonly, it could be due to a ventricular arrhythmia, such as ventricular tachycardia, which originates in the ventricles. This could also be due to isolated or frequent premature beats that originate in your heart but outside the typical electrical conduction system. These are generally common and can be completely benign. However, in some instances, they can occur so frequently that they pose a problem for your heart. Alcohol use, caffeine consumption, poor sleep, and stress can also increase risk of premature beats or arrhythmias. Given your symptoms, it is important for you to be evaluated by your physician. A typical evaluation consists of a thorough history and physical exam and EKG
. Depending on these findings, it is possible you would need to undergo a transthoracic echocardiogram
, treadmill exercise test, or 24-hour EKG monitor. Again, given your symptoms, I urge you to seek consultation with your physician to help determine the next steps in your evaluation.