What is Palpitation?
Palpitation is called “tachycardia” in medical language. If we define tachycardia, we can define it as the heart beating faster than normal. Normally, a person at rest should have a heart rate of less than 100 beats per minute. If our heart rate is over 100 per minute, this is called “tachycardia”.
Are Palpitations and Tachycardia the Same?
In fact, when we say tachycardia, we always know that the heart rate is over 100 per minute. But in a patient who says he/she has palpitations, the pulse can not always be above 100. Some patients can complain of palpitations even when their pulse is at values such as 70-80. In fact, the point where the person complains is not the heart beating faster in number, but the stronger contraction of the heart. When the heart contracts strongly for various reasons, the person can perceive it as palpitations. Therefore, every patient with palpitation should be thoroughly listened to and examined. It should be clearly asked what the problem is that the person is trying to tell us with the complaint of palpitation, and the patient and the doctor should discuss this situation in detail.
Are Palpitations and Panic Attacks the Same Thing?
Panic attack is a diagnosis of disease and palpitation is a complaint that the patient tells us. Therefore, both are different concepts. However, almost every patient with a panic attack also feels palpitations during the attack. Actually, this is the point I was trying to say above. During a panic attack, the fear of death or anxiety in the person causes the stress hormones (hormones that have the effect of adrenaline) to rise suddenly. This causes the heart to contract very strongly and sometimes the heart rate to increase depending on the severity of the panic attack. In fact, in such cases, there is no problem in the heart.
A Patient with Palpitations: Is He/She a Rhythm Sick? Panic Attack Sick?
A patient suffering from palpitations can be a rhythm patient or a panic attack patient. Therefore, the patient’s history should be carefully listened to in every patient with palpitation. There are a few issues to consider here. First of all, the patient should be asked how his/her complaint started. Does palpitation begin first or does panic, fear or anxiety begin first? This point is extremely important. Another issue that needs to be emphasized is in which environments the palpitation complaint begins. If the person has a palpitation attack in environments where he/she has psychological problems or wants to avoid, this should be interpreted in favor of a panic attack. If the patient’s palpitations always start in different environments and without any psychological pressure, then first of all, it is necessary to consider the rhythm disorder.
Can Panic Attack Patients Actually Have Rhythm Disorder?
This is an extremely important issue. Because the results of clinical studies have shown that approximately 20% of the patients followed and treated with the diagnosis of panic attack are actually rhythm patients. This situation is almost like the chicken-egg thing. In other words, does a panic attack cause palpitations, or does palpitation cause a panic attack? One always triggers the other. Therefore, such patients should be evaluated very carefully and true rhythm patients should not be mistakenly considered as panic attack patients. Because if the patient with a real rhythm disorder is given panic attack treatment, since the person will not benefit at all and will experience the same palpitations again and again, serious psychological problems arise in the patient. Although the rhythm disorder, which is the real problem in the later stages of life, is detected and treated permanently with ablation treatment in such patients, some psychological problems arise from the use of various psychiatric drugs due to the diagnosis of panic attacks for many years in a significant part of the patients. It can sometimes take years for patients with this condition to regain a healthy life. For these reasons, it is extremely important for patients who are followed up with the diagnosis of panic attack to listen in detail and see a heart disease specialist if necessary.
How to Treat Palpitation?
Palpitation is a complaint, not a diagnosis of a disease. Therefore, first of all, it is necessary to reveal what the flutter is due to. Most types of palpitations are sinus tachycardia, which can be easily controlled with simple measures and lifestyle changes. However, in cases of palpitation that indicates the presence of a rhythm disorder, the treatment method completely changes. In such cases, either drug treatment or ablation treatment is applied. In rare cases, both ablation and drug treatment are used together. If you want to get more detailed information and treatment about palpitation, you can contact the clinic of Prof. Basri Amasyalı in Ankara.