Dr Ben Brown
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Outpatient appointments from Monday evening, Alexandra hospital
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Patients commonly describe their symptoms as palpitations and it means very different things to different people. A palpitation is an awareness of your heart beat. This may be occasional beats (called ectopic beats) or a more prolonged heart rhythm disturbance called a tachycardia (fast heart beat).
The commonest heart rhythm disturbance is atrial fibrillation - or AF for short. Around 800,000 people in the UK have AF - roughly one in 100 - and mostly aged 55 and over.
An irregular pulse could be a sign that you have an abnormal heart rhythm. Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is one of the most common forms of an abnormal heart rhythm and a major cause of stroke.
That's why it's important to find out if you have it, because you can get effective treatment to reduce the risk of stroke.
Normally, your heart’s natural pacemaker sends out regular electrical impulses. AF happens when those impulses fire off from different places in the atria (the top chambers of the heart) in a disorganised way.
People with AF have an irregular and sometimes fast pulse. You can check to see if you might have AF simply by feeling your pulse.