Patient: Hi there. I have started experiencing what I can only describe as occasional irregular heartbeats recently. The best description is that my heart almost seems to “bounce”, as if the next beat is not is rhythm with the last. I am an active person and I do weight training and about 10 minutes of treadmill 4 – 5 times per week. I am a 35 year old male. I recently took a stress ECG and heart “ultrasound” which came up clear. The reason that I went for the ECG was that I suffered from high blood pressure (170/95) and high cholesterol (7.8) about a year ago. I have since normalized my blood pressure, which I believe was caused by stimulants used while training. My cholesterol is also about 4.5 when last checked. I used to smoke but I gave it up about six months ago. The occasional irregular heartbeats happen mostly while training and then also only perhaps once or twice during an hour’s training (and then also only one beat at a time), although I have felt in once or twice when sedentary. I don’t feel particularly woozy or weak when it happens, but I do try to breathe deeply to “normalize” the beat. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Doctor: The sensation of irregular heartbeats and palpitations can often be due to premature ventricular complexes, which are ge nerally benign, but sometimes the sensations may be caused by heart rhythm abnormalities. For a diagnosis to be made you need to correlate your symptoms with abnormalities on your heart trace (ECG). Your family doctor could refer you for a 24 hour Holter (heart) monitor. This records a 24 hour electrical trace of the heart and will check for any heart rhythm abnormalities. Sometimes a 24 hour recorder may not capture when you experience symptoms, and a patient activated recorder may be appropriate in your case, to reach a diagnosis.