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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes palpitations at night?

hi, I'm a 57 year old woman. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night or when I wake up in the morning to use the bathroom my heart begins to pund very hard and beat very fast. It only does that for 20-30 seconds and then goes back to normal, but i am wondering if there is anything I need to worry about.
Fri, 7 Aug 2015
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Cardiologist 's  Response
Hello, madame. Thank you for your question and welcome to HCM. I understand your concern.

During sleep, there is a phase which is called rapid eye movement (REM) phase, being one of the five phases of sleep (the other four constitute the non-REM phase of sleep), during which there is the highest activity during sleep and a flush of catecholamines (e.g. adrenalin and noradrenalin) to the system is a characteristic. Their effect on heart rate is well known, which act by raising it. If this is the case, then I assure you there is nothing to worry about.

However, since you are a 57-year old lady, I would also recommend you to run some tests:
- complete blood count (CBC) and
- thyroid function tests (TSH, fT4, fT3).

Feel free to ask again. I hope I was helpful. Take care.
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What causes palpitations at night?

Hello, madame. Thank you for your question and welcome to HCM. I understand your concern. During sleep, there is a phase which is called rapid eye movement (REM) phase, being one of the five phases of sleep (the other four constitute the non-REM phase of sleep), during which there is the highest activity during sleep and a flush of catecholamines (e.g. adrenalin and noradrenalin) to the system is a characteristic. Their effect on heart rate is well known, which act by raising it. If this is the case, then I assure you there is nothing to worry about. However, since you are a 57-year old lady, I would also recommend you to run some tests: - complete blood count (CBC) and - thyroid function tests (TSH, fT4, fT3). Feel free to ask again. I hope I was helpful. Take care.