Pitter-Patter: What are Heart Flutters all about?

If you have had the sensation of a quickly-beating heart, irregular beats, a flip-flop or fluttering sensation, or have occasionally felt as though your heart is skipping, you may have more than a slight concern that your heart is not functioning at optimal capacity. If your heart flutters are accompanied by other symptoms, such as dizziness, headache, sweating, or shortness of breath, it’s understandable that you may even wonder if you are having a heart attack, or if something is very wrong. What could be causing such sensations? More importantly, is the cause something to feel alarmed about?

A Look Into Heart Fluttering

To experience any of the symptoms mentioned above does not mean that you have one particular problem. We have all heard that matters of the heart can be complicated. Well, this applies to the physical sense as much as it does to the emotional sense. Heart flutters are a symptom, not the problem. To get to the problem, let’s look at general heart function.


What causes the heart to run is an electrical wave that originates in the sino-atrial node or SA node. This wave begins in the upper chambers of the heart before, after a moment of pause, it expands to the lower chambers via the atrioventricular node (AV node). This perfectly-timed wave contracts the atria to pump blood to the ventricles, and then the ventricles in order to send blood out into the body.

Anything that disrupts the electrical wave through the upper or lower chambers of the heart could cause a fluttering sensation. That’s the simple part. The complex aspect of flutters comes down to determining why the wave of electricity has been thrown off course. Not all causes of heart flutters are cause for concern. To that end, we also cannot know how to treat heart flutters until we know what is causing them.

The first step in resolving your concerns related to that fluttering heart is to schedule a consultation and examination with your cardiologist. There are instances in which a family physician can determine the cause of symptoms. However, a cardiologist has more specific training and may thus have greater insight into diagnostic testing that will facilitate the most accurate diagnosis.

Premier Cardiology Associates has three offices in New York to serve you. Contact us at 516-437-5600.

Posted in: Cardiac Arrest

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