What stopped your heart pounding

Palpitations (with paroxysmal atrial tachycardia)

Most of the time, the typical symptoms and the course already indicate an attack-like atrial tachycardia. As with all cardiac arrhythmias, an electrocardiogram (EKG) is required to determine the disease with certainty. This can be difficult because an attack does not necessarily occur when you are connected to the EKG machine. The EKG can then look normal. This is why a long-term ECG is often done over a period of 24 hours. For this purpose, the patient receives a small so-called EKG recorder that can be hung around the neck under clothing, for example. The device is connected to three to five electrodes that are attached to the skin of the chest.

With similar recorders, the heartbeat can also be recorded over several days. If no seizure occurs during this time, the examination can be repeated. Some special recording devices - so-called event recorders - can record the heartbeat over several years and thus also detect rarely occurring cardiac arrhythmias. The devices are so small that they can be implanted under the skin. Some recorders can also be linked to your own smartphone. They do not record the heart's activity permanently, but only when you feel symptoms and start recording.

In order to determine the exact causes and to rule out other, more severe cardiac arrhythmias, further examinations such as an ultrasound of the heart (echocardiography) or thyroid examinations are possible. A special cardiac catheter examination can be used, for example, to check whether there are additional congenital conduction pathways between the atria and the heart chambers. This can also lead to a fast heartbeat and there is a higher risk of complications. Experts then speak of a pre-excitation syndrome.