Palpitation refers to the forceful beating of the heart in irregular pattern. It is not necessary that a person suffering from palpitation has some or other coronary ailment. But, in most cases palpitations are the result of abnormal heart rhythms. The abnormal heart beats are those that are either too slow or too rapid. A heart that beats too early is also considered to be irregular in its functioning.
Rapid arrhythmias relate to the condition in which the heart beats at a faster pace. This is also termed as tachycardias. In this case, the heart beat counts to more than hundred per minute. Slow arrhythmias, also called bradycardias, refer to the condition in which the heart beats at a slower rate. Irregular heart rhythms are termed as fibrillations.
The occurrence of a single heartbeat earlier than the normal, results in a sensation of forceful heartbeat. This is experienced as a result of premature contraction. Premature contractions refer to isolated heartbeats that take place a bit earlier than expected. The premature contraction will soon be followed by a pause, as the coronary system slowly “resets” itself. The contraction after the pause is generally more forceful than normal contractions. The forceful contractions are experienced as palpitations.
Any abnormality that occurs in the coronary system can lead to palpitation. Irregularities in the atria (right atrium and left atrium), the ventricles etc can lead to arrhythmias that cause palpitations. The two upper atria and the two lower ventricles play major roles in the pumping of blood in and out of the heart.
The premature contractions that are resulted by the abnormal functioning of the atria are called atrial tachycardias and premature atrial contractions (PACs). When tachycardias and premature contractions are resulted by abnormal electrical activity of the ventricles, it is called ventricular tachycardias and premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). Bradycardias (slow arrhythmias) relates to a disorder that is caused by varying degrees of “heart block.”