What does it mean when my heart flutters?

Najam Javeed, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Najam Javeed, MD from Medical Center of Trinity explains what it means when the heart “flutters” in this video.
Theodore Chow, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
When the heart flutters, it means the heart is beating rapidly or erratically. Watch Theodore Chow, MD, of Regional Medical Center, explain more.
Navid Kazemi, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A heart flutter is a specific type of arrhythmia, says Navid Kazemi, MD, a cardiologist at MountainView Hospital. Learn more about the condition in this video.
Charles H. Machell, MD
Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology
A heart flutters due to the rapid and abnormal beating of the heart. Charles Machell, MD, with Methodist Texsan Hospital explains the possible reasons for an abnormal heartbeat in this video.
Sam Diasti, MD
Internal Medicine
When your heart flutters, it could be a normal palpitation or something more serious. In this video, Sam Diasti, MD, an internist at Memorial Hospital of Tampa, says that persistent flutter might be an arrhythmia and you should see your doctor.
Kalyanam Shivkumar, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Occasional heart flutters may indicate that there are extra or skipped beats, or an arrhythmia in the upper (atrial) or lower (ventricular) chamber of the heart. Talking with a cardiologist or arrhythmia specialist, and obtaining an ECG, heart monitor and echocardiogram will usually provide a diagnosis. As there are many different arrhythmias, the treatment will need to be individualized.
Michael L. Arcarese, MD
Internal Medicine
When your heart flutters, it's called a palpitation and is usually benign. In this video, Michael Arcarese, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals, describes when you should see your doctor about palpitations. 
Robert H. Levitt, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Heart palpitations are a feeling of one’s heart fluttering, skipping a beat, or beating too hard and fast. There are a number things that can cause this sensation. It could be simple stress or you could have an irregular heartbeat. With the palpitations, do you feel shortness of breath? Are you having trouble breathing with every day activities like climbing stairs? Do you feel dizzy? If you’re experiencing these additional symptoms or your palpitations are concerning you, call your doctor to schedule an exam. 
Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

When your heart feels like it's jumping around, skipping beats, or fluttering, doctors call that palpitations. If you are experiencing palpitations, you may worry that you are going to have a heart attack. The good news is that the vast majority of the time, early or skipped heart beats cause nothing more than the simple sensation of a heart hiccup. They are not dangerous, and do not lead to additional problems. (Of course, you need to check with your doctor about your symptoms to be sure you are not in the percentage that has a truly concerning arrhythmia, but be reassured this is uncommon.)
Now, if your heart hiccups are also associated with increasing shortness of breath or trouble exercising, that's a different ball game, so head to your doctor now to be checked out.

Heart attack symptoms rarely involve any type of flipping sensations. Palpitations most often occur without any other types of discomfort and may occur in healthy young people as well as those medically challenged.

Continue Learning about Arrhythmia



A type of heart disease, arrhythmia causes our hearts to beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. Even though there are more than a dozen forms of arrhythmia, only a handful of reasons typically cause them. A common ca...

use is coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease that affects adults. An injury from a heart attack and changes in your heart muscle can also cause an arrhythmia.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.