This is about stress causing an extra heartbeat or the sensation of one, rather than the feeling of a skipped heartbeat.

“Studies have shown that stress can cause a sensation of a skipped or extra heartbeat that can be associated with either an extra heartbeat or no abnormality of heartbeat,” explains cardiologist Norman E. Lepor, MD, cardiologist and internal medicine specialist Norman E. Lepor, MD, who’s with Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills, CA.

Dr. Lepor says that “this is related to the stress causing a release of adrenaline.”

Adrenaline is a hormone (chemical messenger) that’s released when we experience anxiety, trepidation or fear—and the fear need not be monumental—it can be simply that of opening an envelop that contains a bill that you know will be big.

Adrenaline is the “fight or flee” hormone that helps prepare the body for action.

Other hormones are also kicked into gear. A fight or flight produces anabolic hormones that neutralize the stress hormones, bringing the body back into balance.

If the fight or flight doesn’t come (i.e., you’re trapped at your workplace desk all day long in a stressful environment), the body will then be in a persistent state of fight or flight preparation…which is harmful to the body.

Dr. Lepor continues, “The sensation of an extra heartbeat is not always associated with an actual extra beat.

“The only way to distinguish is to wear a Holter monitor that records the heartbeat and symptoms you may have over a 24 hour period.”

This small device is worn on the body. After you’re done wearing it you turn it in to the medical clinic where its recording of your pulse will be printed out and interpreted.

If you seem to be experiencing an extra heartbeat when you’re under a lot of stress, ask your doctor about a Holter monitor.

Having performed over 4,000 coronary angiograms and angioplasties, Dr. Lepor has focused on prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease. 
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: Shutterstock/Frank11