Palpitation And Atrial Fibrillation

Kintur A. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI -  - Board Certified Cardiologist

NJ Heart & Vascular Care

Kintur A. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Board Certified Cardiologist & Cardiovascular Physician located in Princeton, NJ & Hamilton Square, NJ

Palpitations that feel like your heart is racing or fluttering often signal atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia. At NJ Heart & Vascular Care in Princeton and Hamilton, New Jersey, Kintur Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI, has extensive experience determining the cause of your palpitations and providing multiple treatment options for atrial fibrillation. If you can feel palpitations, don’t wait to schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation. Call or book an appointment online today for expert palpitation and atrial fibrillation care.

Palpitation and Atrial Fibrillation Q & A

What causes heart palpitations?

Palpitations occur when you can feel your heartbeat because it’s abnormally fast or irregular. You may feel the sensation that your heart is pounding, racing, skipping a beat, or fluttering.

Heart palpitations may appear due to health conditions that aren’t related to your heart. In most cases, however, they’re caused by problems with the heart’s electrical system or structures. 

Heart conditions that may cause palpitations include:

  • Atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias
  • Heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Heart muscle disease

Of these conditions, atrial fibrillation is one of the most common causes of heart palpitations.

What causes atrial fibrillation?

When you have atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers, the atria, beat chaotically. This puts the upper chambers out of sync with muscle contractions in the two lower chambers. As a result, your heart rate speeds up, yet blood flow slows down.

Like palpitations, atrial fibrillation may originate from damaged heart muscles or electrical system malfunctions. The conditions that most often cause atrial fibrillation include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Clogged arteries (coronary artery disease)
  • Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
  • Inflamed heart muscles (myocarditis)
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)

Congenital heart defects, such as an atrial septal defect, also cause atrial fibrillation.

How do cardiologists diagnose palpitation and atrial fibrillation?

Dr. Sanghvi performs the diagnostic testing you need in the comfort of his fully equipped, IAC-accredited lab. An electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiography are two key diagnostic tests for palpitation and atrial fibrillation.

Since irregular heartbeats don’t always occur while you’re in the office, you may need to wear a Holter monitor, which continuously records your heartbeat for a few days.

How do cardiologists treat palpitation and atrial fibrillation?

Dr. Sanghvi develops personalized treatment based on the underlying cause of your palpitation and atrial fibrillation. He considers remote rhythm monitoring and many treatment options, creating a holistic plan that supports every aspect of your health.

Your treatment plan may include:

Lifestyle changes

A lifestyle plan that helps you follow a balanced diet, get regular exercise, stop smoking, and lose weight protects your heart’s health and helps treat underlying heart problems.


Dr. Sanghvi may prescribe one of many possible medications to control your heart rate, prevent blood clots, and treat underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes.

Minimally invasive procedures

Several minimally invasive procedures can treat atrial fibrillation or prevent serious complications like blood clots. For example, Dr. Sanghvi may implant a pacemaker or perform a catheter ablation to get rid of malfunctioning electrical tissues.

If you experience heart palpitations, call NJ Heart & Vascular Care or book an appointment online today for expert care.