I have heart palpitations, and sometimes I think I can even feel them in my head and neck. Could that be possible? The palpitations seem to get worse if I drink too much coffee or wine. Are there other things I should be avoiding?
Dr. Hongo’s expertise covers the full range of current technology and skill in cardiac arrhythmias management, including specialized pacemakers for resynchronizing the weakened heart, implantable defibrillators, and catheter ablation for heart rhythm problems. He is also principal investigator for several trials in electrophysiology, and lectures widely on all aspects of arrhythmias. He is a member and fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Heart Rhythm Society, and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Dr. Richard Hongo received his M.D. in 1995 from Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Dr. Hongo is board certified in Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology.
Feeling palpitations in the head or neck is sometimes a sign of a particular type of tachycardia called “AV nodal reenty tachycardia.” This is a rapid heart rhythm caused by an electrical short circuit in the heart. It is not life-threatening but can be very bothersome and sometimes gets in the way of daily activities. This arrhythmia can be triggered by an increase in adrenalin, so things like stress, exercise, and even caffeine can make it worse.
It is important to point out that there are many different types of rhythm problems that can cause palpitations. The majority are not dangerous but there are some that can be life-threatening. It is difficult to tell what kind of rhythm problem someone has, based only on the way the palpitations feel. Capturing the palpitations on an electrocardiogram (ECG) is a critical step that enables your physician to tell if the palpitations are something safe or something that needs further investigation. An ECG can be done in the office if the palpitations are occurring in the office. Another way is by using a portable ECG recorder that you can carry around with you for as long as it takes to capture the palpitations.
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