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Cardiac arrhythmias: when cardiac stumbling becomes a danger
Heart stumbling is a common phenomenon. So-called extrasystoles are often responsible for this, which can get the heart out of sync. Most of the stumbling blocks are harmless. But they can also indicate serious illnesses. Health experts explain the warning signs at which those affected should go to the doctor quickly.
Heart stumbling is perceived as scary
If the heart beats irregularly and "stumbles", cardiologists speak of palpitations. The so-called stumbling heart includes various cardiac arrhythmias, which can occur without warning. If the heart suddenly beats differently than usual, most people find this scary. If your heart palpitations, palpitations or misfiring comes out of nowhere, many affected people ask: "Is my heart in danger?" The German Heart Foundation explains in a message when you really need to be concerned and see a doctor.
Tripers are usually harmless
"Stumbling in the heart describes the uncomfortable perception of the heartbeat, which is suddenly different than usual," explains cardiologist and pharmacologist Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Meinertz, heart specialist of the German Heart Foundation, in the new guide "Living with cardiac arrhythmias".
Most of the time, the stumbling blocks are harmless. However, they can also indicate serious heart diseases.
Therefore, those with a stumbling heart should always consult a heart specialist and investigate the cause of the irregular heartbeat.
“A high urgency of a cardiac examination is necessary if the affected person additionally suffers from dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain or even fainting. These four warning signs indicate serious heart disease as a trigger, ”said Meinertz.
An electrocardiogram provides initial indications as to whether cardiac stumbling is harmless or whether a heart disease is causing the arrhythmia. The EKG records the electrical heart currents and helps to determine the origin of the stumbling.
The most common causes
Extra blows, medically called extrasystoles, are often the cause of the stumbling heart. These extra beats start earlier than the normal heartbeat and thus lead to an irregular pulse.
Extra systoles can have their origin in the atria or in the heart chambers and can show up as single beats, double beats or volleys. In healthy people, stress and excitement are often the trigger for the extra blows.
Another cause of cardiac stumbling - and the most common cardiac arrhythmia - is atrial fibrillation. The irregular heartbeat lasts for at least 30 seconds.
The heart of those affected with atrial fibrillation beats irregularly and often significantly faster than the normal heartbeat.
“In addition to impaired performance, stumbling is the most common symptom of atrial fibrillation. Usually the completely irregular heartbeat lasts for several minutes, hours or even days. "
When treatment is needed
If the stumbling of the heart has a harmless cause, such as an imbalance in the electrolyte balance, for example caused by excessive sweating or coffee, no therapy is necessary.
"Individual extrasystoles from the atria are harmless and, in the absence of other heart diseases, they can be managed with simple means, for example refraining from coffee or alcohol," says Meinertz.
In addition, the mineral potassium can be used - either daily or as needed, which helps many people to prevent heart stumbling, explained heart specialist Prof. Ellen Hoffmann from the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Heart Foundation in a message.
"In principle, a low-dose beta blocker can also be helpful, especially if the symptoms occur depending on the stress," said the expert.
"However, such drug therapy, just like taking additional potassium, should never be given on your own, but only in consultation with the doctor treating you."
Heart stumbling should always be treated when patients suffer from an irregular pulse, i.e. their quality of life is restricted. Or if your health is at risk from an irregular heartbeat.
Atrial fibrillation - seizures or persistent - requires special therapy. This also includes preventing strokes caused by blood clots being carried over. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Deutsche Herzstiftung: Life with cardiac arrhythmias: When cardiac stumbling becomes dangerous (accessed: August 5, 2019), Deutsche Herzstiftung
- Deutsche Herzstiftung: Arrhythmia: Important information for those affected, (accessed: August 5, 2019), Deutsche Herzstiftung
- German Heart Foundation: Is stumbling dangerous? (Accessed: August 5, 2019), German Heart Foundation