Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.
You likely have either extra beats called premature contractions or atrial fibrillation. If you are older than age 75 or have an underlying heart condition, then atrial fibrillation would be the most common cause for your slow, irregular heart beat.
If you are younger, extra beats (felt as skipped beats) are the more common cause.
When your heart has "skipped beats" or your heart rhythm is due to atrial fibrillation, feeling your pulse may not reflect your actual heart rate. If you feel fine, then there is no immediate problem.
If the irregular heart rate persists, call your doctor. He or she may want you to get an EKG that may show the specific rhythm problem. If the EKG is normal and you have recurrent palpitations, your doctor may order a Holter monitor. A Holter monitor provides a continuous recording of your heart throughout the day.
Since you measured your heart rate at less than 50, we should consider whether one of your medications might be slowing your heart rate. Some heart and blood pressure medications act by slowing the heart rate. Examples include beta blockers (such as atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol), diltiazem, verapamil, and digoxin.
Do you take any heart or blood pressure medications that can slow your heart rate?