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Jalice asked...

I have been diagnosed with a benign ectopic heart beat which can be as close as every other beat at times. Is this an arrhythmia or a totally different diagnosis?

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The Answer

An arrhythmia refers to any abnormal beating activity in the heart with some arrhythmias such as ectopic beats being harmless in themselves.

Whilst an ectopic can produce an unpleasant sensation such as an extra hard thump in the chest they are not usually a cause of concern or harm and are often associated with stress, excess caffeine intake and occasionally hormone imbalances, hence why you have been told yours is benign.

Every other beat is not unusual but you may find this is more frequent as you are more aware of the sensation which can understandably trigger an anxiety response, causing the production of cortisol and adrenaline which further stimulates the heart.

Some simple lifestyle changes such as relaxation techniques, meditation and reducing alcohol and caffeine intake can all help with the condition. Any heart arrhythmia that causes breathlessness, feeling faint or dizzy or passing out should be seen immediately, either by your Gp or at your nearest casualty department.

Answered by Health at Hand nurses.

 

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