Heart Palpitations

Health problems that affect the heart require immediate treatment to minimize complications and save a person’s life. Our team at iCare ER and Urgent Care understands the urgency of immediate heart related conditions.

What Are Heart Palpitations?

Heart palpitations can feel like pounding, flip-flopping or the wrong amount of heartbeats. Most people get them because of anxiety. Other causes include: pregnancy, caffeine, alcohol or spicy food. Heart palpitations are common and usually aren’t dangerous.

Signs of Heart Palpitations

Some types of heart palpitations are completely normal, while others are a red flag for a serious health condition. Only an experienced medical expert can help you determine the cause of your heart palpitations and whether treatment is needed. It is important to be informed about common signs of palpitations, so you know when to visit the emergency room.

The most common description of heart palpitations is the feeling you have when your heart is pounding or racing. For example, the sensation you experience after sprinting up a flight of stairs.

If you have palpitations, then your heart might feel like it is:

  • Beating too strongly
  • Beating too quickly
  • Beating in irregular patterns
  • Skipping heartbeats
  • Fluttering rapidly
  • Flip-flopping in the chest


What Causes Heart Palpitations?

While a heart condition can be an underlying cause of palpitations, other unrelated health concerns can contribute to these symptoms.

Common causes of palpitations include:

  • A strong emotional response (anxiety, stress, or panic)
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Stimulants, such as cocaine, nicotine, and caffeine
  • Medications with pseudoephedrine (often in cough or cold medications)
  • Hormonal changes
  • Abnormal heart rhythm


Should You Visit an ER for Heart Palpitations?

In a healthy person, the intensity of the heartbeat will subside within a minute or so after running up the stairs. But if your palpitations don’t go away quickly, then you might need to head to your local emergency room.

Pay attention to other symptoms that are accompanying heart palpitations.

If the palpitations are occurring with the following list of symptoms, then you should head to the ER without delay:

  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Chest discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath


When the palpitations are caused by something other than a heart condition, then you have minimal risk of serious complications. But palpitations caused by a heart problem can lead to cardiac arrest, heart failure, or stroke.

ER Services for Heart Palpitations

When you visit our emergency room, we will determine the underlying cause of the palpitations. Tests might include an electrocardiogram (ECG), heart monitoring, and more. Once a diagnosis is determined, then a treatment plan can be designed to help with the underlying condition. If it is determined that heart palpitations are not caused by a heart condition, then the doctor will provide recommendations to help you avoid the triggers that led to the episode.

Seeking Medical Care

Since heart conditions can be some of the most serious health risks, we recommend seeking care if you experience the symptoms listed above. These conditions can be detrimental to your health if you are not treated quickly.

What to Expect

When you visit iCare, our medical team, led by an experienced ER physician will immediately assess your situation and determine whether you should be treated in the ER or in urgent care. In most cases, patients with heart related conditions are seen in the ER.

After a medical history interview and a physical examination, our team may perform further testing such as electrocardiogram(ECG) or blood work in our in-house laboratory.  Once you are diagnosed, you will be treated in a variety of ways depending on the type and severity of your condition.  For chest pain, irregular heartbeats, and high blood pressure, our team may prescribe varying medications and behavioral changes to manage your symptoms. In the event that a patient requires hospitalization or other procedures that we do not offer at iCare, we are able to transfer them to a hospital for admission.