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A sensation of rapid or irregular beating of the heart. The beating may be described as a thudding sensation, a fluttering, or a throbbing that is felt beneath the sternum or in the neck. In clinical practice, most palpitations are felt by patients with benign premature ventricular or atrial contractions. In these patients, the sensation, although disturbing, is not associated with serious heart disease. Occasionally palpitations are caused by sustained arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, or ventricular tachycardia. Electrocardiography, outpatient cardiac monitoring, or cardiology consultation may be needed to determine whether a patient's symptoms are benign or hazardous.
palpitant, adj.

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