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Hormones And Irregular Heart Beats: What's The Connection?

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Dr. Kaplan describes why some women experience irregular heart beats around the time of their menstrual cycle. Dr. Andrew Kaplan attended medical school at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and now works at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Arizona.

Dr. Kaplan:
Women should know that there are variations in their heartbeat which tend to correspond to hormonal levels and I have had many patients over the years tell me that they notice that there are certain changes in their heartbeat around the time of their menstrual cycle.

Now these can vary considerably, anything from having extra beats or what we call premature contractions, to being prone to having short circuits in their heartbeat leading to rapid heartbeats or what we call supraventricular tachycardia or SVT.

These changes also may be present in patients who are pregnant so that with the increases in hormonal levels found in pregnancy they may be prone to certain specific abnormalities of their heartbeat. The most common of these is what we call inappropriate sinus tachycardia or IST. This is an elevation in heart rate, both at baseline and with an increase in rate in response to physical activity. We also do definitely see an increase in the propensity to having supraventricular tachycardia during pregnancy.

Now, as patients approach menopause there are declines in their hormonal levels and hormones may have protective effects against rhythm problems in addition to helping to exacerbate them. So, women who are entering menopause may start to notice that their heart rate is faster than it had been previously. They also may notice that they are having more irregular heartbeats or premature contractions. So there are definitely varieties of changes in heart rhythm that correlate with hormonal levels.

About Dr. Andrew Kaplan, M.D.:
Dr. Kaplan is a cardiac electrophysiologist at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Arizona. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. in 1983, he attended medical school at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. He later went on to do his residency in Internal Medicine, at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Dr. Kaplan did cardiovascular and electrophysiology fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine and served as Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at the Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Conditions: Arrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Cardiac Rhythm Disorders

Related Terms: Palpitations, Heartbeat, Estrogen, Premature Beats, EKG, Premature Contractions, Irregular Heart Rhythm, Echocardiogram, Syncope, Cardiac Death

Expert: Dr. Andrew Kaplan, Andrew Kaplan, MD, Cardiology, Dr. Andrew J. Kaplan, M.D., Doctor Kaplan

Expertise: Electrophysiologist, Heart Rhythm Center, Robotic Catheter Ablation, 3D Heart Mapping, Arrhythmia Treatments, Heart Disease Prevention, SVT, Sinus Node Dysfunction, Sick Sinus Syndrome, Long QT Syndrome, Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Atrial fibrillation, AFIB , Hansen Robotic System, RF Radio Frequency Ablation, Cryoablation

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