A Menopause Strategies-Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health (MsFLASH) Investigation of Self-Reported Menopausal Palpitation Distress

Janet S. Carpenter, James E. Tisdale, Chen X. Chen, Richard Kovacs, Joseph C. Larson, Katherine A. Guthrie, Kristine E. Ensrud, Katherine M. Newton, Andrea Z. Lacroix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Study to describe the degree of menopausal palpitation distress and its demographic, clinical, symptom, and quality-of-life (QOL) correlates. Analysis of existing, baseline, data from peri- and postmenopausal women, 42 to 62 years of age, who participated in the Menopause Strategies-Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health (MsFLASH) clinical trials testing interventions for vasomotor symptoms (n = 759). Up to 46.8% of menopausal women report having palpitations, yet the symptom is relatively understudied. Little is known about palpitation distress or its correlates. Materials and Methods: Degree of distress from "heart racing or pounding"was self-reported over the past two weeks as "not at all,""a little bit,""moderately,""quite a bit,"or "extremely."Other measures included self-report forms, clinic-verified body mass index (BMI), vasomotor symptom diaries, and validated symptom and QOL tools. Results: The percentage who reported palpitation distress was 19.6%, 25.2%, and 33.5% in the three trials or 25.0% overall. In multivariate analysis, the odds of reporting palpitation distress was lower in past smokers (odds ratio [OR] = 0.59 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38-0.90]) and current smokers (OR = 0.48 [0.27-0.87]) relative to never-smokers and lower with every 5 kg/m2 higher BMI (OR = 0.82 [0.69-0.98]).The odds of reporting palpitation distress was higher with every five point more severe insomnia (OR = 1.28 [1.05-1.54]), five point worse depressive symptoms (OR = 1.47 [1.11-1.95]), five point worse perceived stress (OR = 1.19 [1.01-1.39]), and one point worse menopausal QOL (OR = 1.29 [1.06-1.57]). Conclusions: Menopausal palpitation distress is common and associated with demographic, clinical, symptom, and QOL factors. Findings can be used for screening in clinical practice and to justify additional research on this understudied symptom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-538
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication was made possible, in part, with support from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute funded, in part by Grant Number UL1TR002529 and KL2 TR002530 from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Clinical and Translational Sciences Award. The MsFLASH studies were funded by the National Institutes of Health as a cooperative agreement issued by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), and grants U01AG032656, U01AG032 659, U01AG032669, U01AG032682, U01AG032699, and U01AG032700 from the NIA.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2021, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2021.


  • menopausal symptom
  • palpitations
  • perimenopause
  • postmenopause


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