Palpitations are commonly experienced as heart fluttering, pounding, flip-flopping and skipped heart beats. They can feel particularly noticeable at night and, depending on their underlying aetiology, can be more pronounced with exertion. Their duration can vary from seconds to hours or days and can be associated with breathlessness and chest discomfort.
Whether these are of clinical significance largely depends on their cause. Although these can be benign (and therefore of no concern) they can also signify underlying abnormalities to do with the pumping function of the heart as well as its electrical pathway.
They can also be the result of abnormal gland function such as an overactive thyroid. Frequent symptoms of palpitations, associated breathlessness, dizziness or chest discomfort are features that should prompt further investigation with a specialist.