Long COVID: Palpitations

Palpitations

Palpitations occur in some people with long COVID. It means you feel your heart beating in your chest. You may feel a skipped beat. You may also feel like your heart is beating fast, pounding, or fluttering. Palpitations can occur at any time. How long they last also varies.

What Is Tachycardia?

Tachycardia is a fast heart rate - it’s when your heart beats at least 100 times a minute. Certain medical conditions and drugs may cause tachycardia.

Tachycardia may also occur in people with long COVID for a number of reasons. It may be from a heart problem. Other possible causes include:

  • Low oxygen levels

  • Blood disorders 

  • Fever

  • Dehydration

  • Deconditioning or body changes related to inactivity

  • Anxiety and stress

How Common Are Palpitations or Tachycardia in Long COVID?

  • A study found 9.0% of people with long COVID had palpitations six months after initial infection.

  • Between 25-50% of patients at a post-COVID clinic had tachycardia or palpitations twelve weeks or more after the initial COVID infection.

Should I Contact My Doctor For My Palpitations?

Yes, you should contact your doctor for your palpitations. They will talk with you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. They can check your heart rate and blood pressure when you are in different positions (i.e. lying down, standing up). They can also check you with an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the electrical activity of your heart. An ECG is a quick, painless test.

What Can I Do To Help Lessen Palpitations?

You should avoid foods, drinks, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, supplements, and other products containing stimulants or having a stimulant effect. Caffeine and nicotine are best-known. Stimulants increase blood pressure, as well as heart and breathing rates.

If your palpitations are associated with a diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), there are measures you can take to lessen your symptoms. Please refer to the "Orthostatic Intolerance" article in your library screen for more information.

If you have questions about your symptoms or any of the recommendations for treating them, contact your Goodpath coach.