Palpitations or ectopic beats

Heart palpitations or ectopic beats are heartbeats that may make you feel symptomatic due to their pounding, fluttering or irregularity in pattern.

These may occur for a few seconds or minutes and may feel like thumping in the chest throat or neck.

The missed or extra beats may feel alarming yet they are predominantly harmless.

Triggers for palpitations

  • Smoking 
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Insomnia
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Hormonal changes such as menstruation, pregnancy or menopause


Heart palpitations can also be caused by emotional or psychological issues.


  • Excitement 
  • Nervousness 
  • Stress
  • Anxiety 
  • Panic attacks symptoms may include an overwhelming sense of anxiety or fear with associated nausea, sweating and trembling


If you think a medicine is creating your symptoms, do not stop taking the prescribed treatment without getting medical advice.

Palpitations are sometimes caused by a complication with the heart rhythm or other types of heart conditions. An ECG may be required to capture the rhythm and a Holter or Event Monitor to capture your irregular heart rhythm.


If you are experiencing palpitations that are not subsiding and also:

  • severe shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • fainting or blackouts

Please seek medical attention urgently.


If you would like advice or guidance with your symptoms please contact the experienced cardiac nurses at Ascot Cardiology Group, who are happy to receive your call.

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Ascot Hospital, Level 3
90 Greenlane East
Remuera, Auckland 1051
PO Box 17264,
Greenlane, Auckland 1546

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