The major symptoms of heart palpitations are the feeling that the heart is fluttering, beating too fast, skipping beats or pumping excessively, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients may feel palpitations in the neck or throat as well as the chest.
Heart palpitations may occur when the patient is resting or active, and they may occur when the patient is in a lying, seated or standing position, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Although short-term palpitations normally do not require medical intervention, patients with frequent palpitations or other heart problems should make an appointment with their doctor. Those who experience severe dizziness, fainting, chest pain or shortness of breath in addition to heart palpitations should seek emergency medical care.
To assess heart palpitations, the doctor performs a physical examination and asks the patient about his medical history, diet, lifestyle and the circumstances during which the palpitations occur, as confirmed by WebMD. Doctors also use blood tests to measure electrolyte imbalances or thyroid abnormalities. An electrocardiogram may be used to detect heart rhythm abnormalities while the patient is exercising or at rest by measuring the heart's electrical signals. Patients may also wear a Holter monitor for 24 to 48 hours to record electrical signals that could not be identified during an EKG. Other diagnostic tools include chest X-rays, event recorders and echocardiograms.