If you have unexpected episodes of palpitations that feel like your heart skips a beat, it may be a simple electrical glitch in your heart’s natural rhythm, or it could be the sign of an underlying health problem. Faisal Siddiqi, MD is a board-certified cardiologist at One Oak Medical who specializes in finding the underlying causes of your arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. Dr. Siddiqi has convenient office locations in Paramus and Wayne, New Jersey. For answers to why your heart skips a beat, schedule a consultation online or by phone.
Nearly everyone experiences heart palpitations -- or the feeling that your heart skips a beat -- at some point in their lives. Most of the time, palpitations are harmless, and your heart resets its natural rhythm on its own. For others, heart palpitations may happen regularly and feel like an intense pounding in your chest.
Common triggers of an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, include:
During palpitations, your heart may skip a beat as a result of premature contractions in its upper chambers, the left atrium, and right atrium.
Atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, happens when your atria beat rapidly, and usually chaotically, as a result of irregular electrical signals in your heart. Similarly, during atrial flutter, palpitations originate in the upper chambers of your heart but beat rapidly in a more organized way than with atrial fibrillation.
Heart palpitations can also originate in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) as premature ventricular contractions. That means your heart skips a beat or several in a row because your lower ventricles misfire.
Sometimes the sinus node, your heart’s natural pacemaker, may send the wrong signals to your heart, and you feel your heart skip a beat. Problems with a heart valve can also make it feel like your heart skips a beat.
The treatment for heart palpitations depends on your specific condition and the underlying causes. Your treatment may include lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on caffeine, quitting smoking, or practicing relaxation techniques -- especially if stress is a factor. Or you may need to take medications or have a minimally invasive procedure.
Dr. Siddiqi conducts a comprehensive exam and considers your health history and any other concerns or chronic problems you may have that could contribute to your heart skipping beats. He may also request diagnostic testing that provides further information as to why your heart regularly skips a beat so he can pinpoint if there’s a physical problem in your heart.
If you’re concerned about skipped heartbeats, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with Dr. Siddiqi to get it checked out. When it comes to your heart health, it’s always best to be proactive. Call the office that’s most convenient for you, or schedule an appointment online.