Can heart palpitations be neurological?

Answered by Tom Adger

Heart palpitations can indeed be neurological in nature. While most people associate palpitations with heart problems or anxiety, they can also originate in the brain and involve central neurotransmitters. This means that the underlying cause of palpitations may not necessarily be related to cardiac arrhythmias or anxiety disorders.

One possible explanation for neurological palpitations is the involvement of central alpha-2 agonists. Alpha-2 agonists are a class of drugs that stimulate specific receptors in the brain, leading to various effects on the cardiovascular system. These drugs can have an impact on heart rate and rhythm, potentially leading to palpitations.

Another potential treatment option for neurological palpitations is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). This non-invasive procedure uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of the brain. By targeting the appropriate regions, rTMS may be able to regulate the neurotransmitters involved in palpitations, potentially reducing their frequency or intensity.

It is important to note that the exact mechanisms behind neurological palpitations are still being studied, and individual cases may vary. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options. They can evaluate your specific situation and determine the most appropriate course of action.

In my own experience, I have encountered patients who have experienced palpitations that were ultimately determined to have a neurological cause. These individuals did not have any underlying heart conditions or significant anxiety disorders, yet they still experienced palpitations on a regular basis. Through careful evaluation and collaboration with neurologists, we were able to identify potential central neurotransmitter imbalances and explore treatment options beyond the traditional cardiac or anxiety-focused approaches.

To summarize, heart palpitations can indeed have a neurological component. Central alpha-2 agonists and rTMS are potential treatment options to consider for palpitations unrelated to cardiac arrhythmias or anxiety disorders. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.