Heart stumbling is a popular term that describes a feeling, namely that when the heart suddenly loses its rhythm and "stumbles". Many people find this feeling uncomfortable. Palpitations are common and occur frequently even in healthy people on. The reason for the palpitations is one Cardiac arrhythmia, Which often completely harmless is. It is not uncommon for the symptoms to occur at night.


The cause of the heart's falling out of step, popularly known as heart stumbling, are in most cases so-called extrasystoles. These are extra beats of the heart, which are not part of the normal heart rhythm, but suddenly fall into this normal rhythm. The normal heartbeat is usually not noticed, but if such an extra beat occurs, an earlier beat or a pause that is longer than usual can be noticed unpleasantly. Such extra beats can arise in the atrium (supraventricular extrasystoles) or in the ventricle (ventricular extrasystoles) and can be seen as extra beats in the ECG (electrocardiogram).

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The causes of extrasystoles are numerous. For example, stimulants such as coffee, nicotine and drugs are often triggers. Stress and lack of sleep as well as changes in the sleep-wake cycle can also be responsible for the occurrence of heart palpitations. Often, strong emotional outbursts can also trigger heart stumbling. Thyroid diseases and medication can also lead to extrasystoles.

Find out more about the topic here: Palpitations while lying down

However, it should not be overlooked that extrasystoles can also result from diseases of the heart. For example, in coronary artery disease, in which one or more coronary arteries narrow, which can lead to reduced blood flow to the heart. Other heart diseases can also cause abnormal heart rhythms. If cardiac stumbling occurs more frequently, lasting several minutes, or accompanying symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or pressure on the chest, as well as dizziness, a doctor should be consulted to further clarify the symptoms. It would also make sense to consult the treating family doctor or cardiologist as soon as possible for patients who already have heart disease and who have new cardiac stumbling.

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Read more on our page: Causes of heart palpitations and These symptoms can be used to recognize a magnesium deficiency


In order to reliably detect palpitations, a must EKG (Electrocardiogram). This can be done by your family doctor. Heart stumbling occurs in many people. But often it just happens at irregular intervals so it is not always easy to capture it in an EKG that only takes a few seconds.
This is an extension of the EKG Long-term ECG, in which an ECG recording takes place over 24 hours. The probability of seeing extrasystoles is therefore slightly higher. Additionally The ECG should always be carefully checked in a patient who complains of palpitations anamnese be collected. Important questions are, for example, whether Pre-existing illness present whether it in the family There are heart diseases, when the palpitations occur, if a Drug or alcohol use and what drugs are being taken.

Find out more about how you can recognize palpitations on our website: How to recognize palpitations

In addition, a Ultrasound examination of the heart, a so-called Echocardiography. This can usually be done by the outpatient cardiologist. Here you can see whether the heart is pumping sufficiently, whether the heart valves are working and whether there is structural damage, such as cardiomyopathy. Blood can also be taken, for example a Control of blood salts (Electrolytes), and the thyroid values ​​can also be checked here.

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Also read more on the topic Palpitations-how dangerous is it?

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Accompanying symptoms with heart palpitations

Heart stumbling can occur in isolation, but accompanying symptoms can also be present.For example, it can lead to a heart palpitations Sensation of tightness in the chest area, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, increased sweating and Feeling anxious come.

Palpitations that last for a few seconds and have no major accompanying symptoms can in patients with healthy heart usually as harmless get ranked.
Occur such arrhythmias more often and for several minutes and there are side effects such as severe shortness of breath or pressure on the chest as well as dizziness and sweating, so should To be on the safe side, consulted the family doctor for clarification become. In most cases, a serious cause for the complaints can be ruled out here. Patients with heart disease should also consult their attending physician for further clarification if they have newly developed heart stumbling.

Palpitations with night sweats

Night sweats are a symptom of that many causes may have. The Combination with heart palpitations is not necessarily typical, however, can occur. In general, if you have persistent night sweating, you should go to your doctor's office for further clarification.

Night sweats are not always necessarily due to a palpitations. Read more about night sweats and their causes: Night sweats


Palpitations can be very last different lengths.
Sometimes it is just one extra blow that feels like a stumble, but sometimes there are several such extra blows in a row. In most healthy patients, the palpitations persist no more than a few seconds.
Should have repeated palpitations with a Duration of several minutes it is advisable to do this Family doctor for further clarification and to rule out serious causes.

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In most cases, extrasystoles are harmless. Nevertheless, many of those affected find it disturbing, so that therapy is desirable in these cases. However, there is no agent specifically designed to prevent extrasystoles from occurring.
Without prescription can Tablets, containing magnesium and / or potassium, but it would be recommended - especially when taking potassium supplements - a previous check of blood values, as an increase in potassium levels from taking tablets can lead to dangerous arrhythmias.
The attending physician can treat patients who find the palpitations very annoying low-dose beta blockers, for example Bisoprolol or Metoprolol dose, in some patients this leads to a significant reduction in symptoms. Also are regular sleep, Avoiding stress and Abstaining from drugs, nicotine and coffee a way to curb the palpitations.

Palpitations after a night shift

Not infrequently kick Extrasystoles during stress, fatigue or if there is an abrupt change in the day-night rhythm on. Switching to the night shift can be a trigger for the occurrence of heart palpitations. Those affected should try to get enough sleep during the day and avoid stimulants such as coffee and nicotine and drugs.

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