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Felt a heart skip and had cough, going to pass out. What does it indicate?.

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My heart felt like it skipped a beat and made me cough. Then I felt like I was going to pass out. It only lasted a couple seconds, but it was really scary. I've felt my heart skip before, but it never made me feel faint. Im not pale or anything. I feel fine now. Is this normal?
Posted Wed, 22 May 2013 in Heart Rate and Rhythm Disorders
Answered by Dr. Anantharamakrishnan 2 hours later
Hi friend,
Welcome to Health Care Magic

Skipped beats are common and often may be normal. If the pause is long, 'near-syncope' can occur...because of reduced blood flow...
It is advisable to have it investigated. A thorough history and physical examination is the first step -
     ECG (Electrocardiogram / EKG) – Routine 12-lead – is part of clinical examination. Irregular heart beats need to be DOCUMENTED by ElectroCardioGram (EKG). Standard ECG records the electrical activity of the heart, for a few seconds. It can detect the arrhythmia occurring during that time only. If the episode occurs randomly or precipitated by a specific activity like exercise, one needs Holter or event monitor. Holter records for days; Event monitor for weeks / Holter records continuously / Event monitor only at certain times .
     Anaemia / Anxiety / Alcohol / Tobacco (smoking) / Caffeine (too much coffee, cola) / Medicines like Phenylephrine used for ‘cold’; Salbutamol used for asthma / Fever / Thyroid / Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium may all have a role... At times, abnormal nerve paths in the heart (bypass tracts) are responsible!
     TMT (Treadmill exercise ECG) is done to exclude Ischemia (reduced blood flow).
     LABORATORY work-up is routine - like blood counts, sugar, urea, electrolytes (potassium in particular), thyroid (over-active) and so on. Your Internist shall suggest based on the situation.

Take care
Wishing speedy recovery
God bless
Good luck
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