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Palpitations Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Palpitations. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had palpitations?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic.

  2. Describe exactly what you mean by palpitations?

    Why: Palpitations are an unpleasant awareness of the beating of the heart, it does not always imply "racing" of the heart.

  3. Do the palpitations start suddenly?
  4. How long do the palpitations last?
  5. Are you able to tap out on the desk the rhythm and rate of the heartbeat experienced during an "attack" of palpitations?

    Why: e.g. an irregular tapping "all over the place" suggests atrial fibrillation; an isolated thump or jump followed by a definite pause on a background of a regular pattern indicates premature beats (ectopics/extrasystoles) usually of a ventricular origin.

  6. Are the heart rhythm problems constant or intermittent?

    Why: Constant problems may signify tachycardia, and that would signify hyperthyroidism, fever or overuse of caffeine and other drugs. Intermittent problems are more likely related to a heart arrhythmia.

  7. What do you think may bring them on?

    Why: e.g. MSG in Chinese food, exercise, anxiety, stress, worry, excitement. Palpitations not related to emotion, fever or exercise suggest an arrhythmia of the heart.

  8. Are the palpitations related to stress, worry or excitement?
  9. Are you pregnant?

    Why: Palpitations in pregnancy are not uncommon.

  10. Have you been bitten by a tick?

    Why: The toxin from tick bites on the upper chest or back may cause palpitations.

  11. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. Rheumatic fever, heart attack, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, stroke (atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke 5 fold).

  12. Medications?

    Why: e.g. nasal decongestants; digoxin; almost all anti-arrhythmic drugs (medications taken for abnormal heart rhythms) may worsen existing arrhythmias or provoke new arrhythmias in some people (such as amiodarone, sotalol, verapamil, diltiazem, procainamide, disopyramide, quinidine, lignocaine, flecainide and beta -blockers); ventolin; thyroxine; tricyclic antidepressants.

  13. Alcohol history?

    Why: some people are sensitive to effects of alcohol and experience palpitations as a side effect.

  14. Cigarette smoking?

    Why: some people are sensitive to effects of nicotine and experience palpitations. Cigarette smoking is a common trigger of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) - a type of arrhythmia of the heart.

  15. Illicit drug use?

    Why: e.g. cocaine, marijuana - may cause palpitations.

  16. Caffeine intake?

    Why: Including coffee, tea, Coke or chocolate. Some people are sensitive to effects of caffeine and experience persistent or intermittent palpitations.

  17. Chest pain during an attack of palpitations?

    Why: may indicate angina, heart attack, aortic stenosis.

  18. Shortness of breath during an attack of palpitations?

    Why: may indicate anxiety with hyperventilation (rapid breathing), mitral stenosis or cardiac failure.

  19. Dizziness or faintness during an attack of palpitations?

    Why: indicates a more severe arrhythmia such as sick sinus syndrome, complete heart block, aortic stenosis or associated cerebrovascular disease.

  20. Fever?

    Why: e.g. must consider bacterial endocarditis, rheumatic fever. A fever itself (from any cause) may cause a sinus tachycardia (increased heart rate) which may be experienced as palpitations.

  21. Passing copious amounts of urine after an attack of palpitations?

    Why: is characteristic of paroxysmal Supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT).

  22. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

    Why: e.g. palpitations, increased heart rate, preference for cooler weather, increased appetite, weight loss, increased sweating, tremor, nervousness, irritability, diarrhea, lack of menstrual periods, frequent urination.

  23. Symptoms of congestive cardiac failure?

    Why: e.g. palpitations, shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles and lower legs.

  24. Symptoms of anxiety?

    Why: e.g. nervousness, shakiness, tremor, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, poor concentration, heart palpitations, racing heart, sweating, dizziness, diarrhea, lump in throat and frequency of urination. Anxiety is a common trigger of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) - a type of arrhythmia of the heart.

  25. Symptoms of Phaeochromocytoma?

    Why: e.g. paroxysmal episodes of headache, pallor, sweating, chest tightness, tremor and heart palpitations.

  26. Symptoms of menopause?

    Why: e.g. hot flushes, night sweats, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, dry vaginal, dry skin, headaches and sometimes diffuse hair loss.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Palpitations:

The following list of conditions have 'Palpitations' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Palpitations or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Palpitations:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Palpitations' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.

 

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