A fluttering sensation in the chest is when your heart is beating very fast, sometimes described as heart racing. It may cause difficulty in catching your breath, chest pain and dizziness. If you are frequently experiencing a fast heart rate, then it might be worth considering that there is something more serious going on.

A rapid heartbeat (often referred to as tachycardia by medical professionals) is typically defined as when your heart beats faster than 100 beats per minute. Normally, depending on your fitness, your heart speeds up when you exercise and gradually slows down when you rest after a few minutes.

If you find that your heart is beating fast at rest or higher than average during exercise or exertion then you must book an appointment with your family doctor to discuss these symptoms further. Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of when these instances of a fast heart rate occur. If a heart arrhythmia such as atrial fibrillation is suspected, your doctor will probably book you in for a resting ECG (electrocardiogram) or a long-term ECG recording (through a wearable ECG recorder).

If the findings from the investigations identify that you are suffering from atrial fibrillation, your doctor may decide to prescribe medications to control your symptoms, particularly if they are accompanied by chest pain or discomfort.

Because of the risk of blood clots, potentially leading to stroke, you may also be prescribed a blood thinner (also known as an anticoagulant).

In many cases, atrial fibrillation can be managed with the use of appropriate medication. However, in some instances, it may require further treatment in the form of medical procedures, including cardioversion and ablation.

To find out more about these procedures, click on the link to the following pages: “What is a cardioversion?” and “What is an ablation?”.

If you receive a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation from your doctor and are prescribed appropriate medication, you will probably find that your symptoms such as palpitations, pounding/racing heart and/or an irregular heartbeat subside quickly or over time.

If your condition requires cardioversion and ablation, and is successful, you will also find that these symptoms are likely to disappear after your procedure.

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