Items in AFP with MESH term: Heart Diseases

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Outpatient Approach to Palpitations - Article

ABSTRACT: Palpitations are a common problem seen in family medicine; most are of cardiac origin, although an underlying psychiatric disorder, such as anxiety, is also common. Even if a psychiatric comorbidity does exist, it should not be assumed that palpitations are of a noncardiac etiology. Discerning cardiac from noncardiac causes is important given the potential risk of sudden death in those with an underlying cardiac etiology. History and physical examination followed by targeted diagnostic testing are necessary to distinguish a cardiac cause from other causes of palpitations. Standard 12-lead electrocardiography is an essential initial diagnostic test. Cardiac imaging is recommended if history, physical examination, or electrocardiography suggests structural heart disease. An intermittent event (loop) monitor is preferred for documenting cardiac arrhythmias, particularly when they occur infrequently. Ventricular and atrial premature contractions are common cardiac causes of palpitations; prognostic significance is dictated by the extent of underlying structural heart disease. Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia resulting in hospitalization; such patients are at increased risk of stroke. Patients with supraventricular tachycardia, long QT syndrome, ventricular tachycardia, or palpitations associated with syncope should be referred to a cardiologist.


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