Skipped Heart Beats

Skipped or missed heart beats are a common complaint and are one cause of palpitations.  Usually these are caused by extra heart beats called ectopic beats.

The heart responds to these with a pause before the following beat and it is this sensation of slowing that is perceived as a missed beat.  In most cases these extra beats are innocent although may be bothersome.  In a very few cases, extra beats are a sign of underlying heart abnormalities but these can usually be ruled out by simple tests such as an ECG and an ultrasound scan of your heart (echocardiogram).  Isolated, innocent and bothersome extra heart beats can be treated with tablets and sometimes by ablation.  If after testing the extra heart beats are innocent and not bothersome then they can be ignored.