Heart Palpitations Specialist

Craig R. Peterson, MD -  - Cardiologist

Eastern Shore Heart Center

Craig R. Peterson, MD

Cardiologist located in Fairhope, AL

Heart palpitations have been described in many ways, from feeling like your chest is full of butterflies to the unpleasant sensation that someone has taken a hammer to your chest wall. Whatever the analogy, heart palpitations are an uncomfortable condition to address. At Eastern Shore Heart Center in Fairhope, Alabama, cardiologist Dr. Craig Peterson has extensive experience in figuring out whether your heart palpitations may be a sign of something more serious. If you’re experiencing persistent heart palpitations, call or book an appointment online.

Heart Palpitations Q & A

What are heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations are very common and typically present in the following ways:

  • Pounding heartbeats
  • Fast heartbeats
  • Fluttering heartbeats
  • Skipped heartbeats

These sensations aren’t confined to your heart as they commonly crop up in your neck or throat. Heart palpitations aren’t tied to any particular activity, either — you can experience them whether you’re on the move or resting still.

What causes heart palpitations?

It may come as some relief to know that you shouldn't be disconcerted over heart palpitations. While it may feel like your heart is doing acrobatics in your chest, most heart palpitations are caused by stress or anxiety.

That said, in some cases, heart palpitations may signal a more serious heart condition, such as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an unsteady or irregular heartbeat that can lead to:

  • Blood clots
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke

If your heart palpitations are persistent, it may be better to take a precautionary approach and make an appointment to be evaluated by Dr. Peterson.

How do I know whether my heart is at risk?

If your heart palpitations are having a severe impact on your life or you have a history of heart disease, Dr. Peterson believes it’s well worth your while to undergo a few tests to get to the bottom of your palpitations. These tests include:

  • Blood screenings
  • Imaging, including X-ray and ultrasound
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram, or EKG
  • Stress tests using a treadmill
  • Ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring, or Holter
  • Carry-along event recorders

Each of these diagnostic tools provides Dr. Peterson with valuable information about your cardiovascular health by approaching it from all angles. Blood work is often a good indicator of underlying conditions -- such as diabetes -- that can cause irregular heartbeats, while the specialized equipment tracks your actual heart rate under various conditions.

Taken together, the comprehensive testing capabilities at Eastern Shore Heart Center provide Dr. Peterson with a clear picture of your heart health and whether there’s any need for concern.

If you’re experiencing heart palpitations, call Eastern Shore Heart Center or schedule an appointment using the online booking tool.