What is Arrhythmia?
More than four million Americans have an irregular heartbeat, also known
as cardiac arrhythmia. An arrhythmia results when a problem occurs along
the heart’s electrical pathway that causes the heart rhythm (heart
beat) to become too slow, too fast or irregular.
Some minor arrhythmias are harmless, whereas some can contribute to the
development of a potentially life-threatening stroke, or even cardiac
death. That’s why proper diagnosis and treatment from a healthcare
provider experienced in arrhythmia management is vital.
Symptoms of Arrhythmia
Arrhythmias, whether severe or mild, may or may not cause noticeable symptoms.
However, when symptoms of an arrhythmia occur, they may include:
- Weakness or Fatigue
- Dizziness or Lightheadedness
- Fainting or near-fainting spells
- Rapid heartbeat, skipped heartbeats, or pounding in chest
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort
- In extreme cases, collapse and sudden cardiac arrest
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important
to seek evaluation and treatment from a healthcare expert experienced in
arrhythmia management. For more about the prevention, symptoms and risk factors of arrhythmia,
American Heart Association.
Types of Arrhythmia
Arrhythmias can occur in the upper (supraventricular) or lower (ventricular)
chambers of the heart and can result in a heart rhythm that is too fast
(tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregular. Learn more about
Types of Arrhythmia.
There are many types of arrhythmia, including:
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) – The most common type of serious arrhythmia. It involves a very
fast, irregular contraction of the upper chambers of the heart.
Bradyarrhythmias – A bradyarrhythmia is a slow heart rhythm usually caused by sinus
node dysfunction or heart block.
Premature Contraction – Early, extra heartbeats that can originate in the upper or the
lower chambers of the heart.
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) – Describes a number of rapid heart rhythm disorders originating
in the upper chambers of the heart. The most common type of SVT is atrial
Ventricular Arrhythmias – Describes a number of heart rhythm disorders originating in the
lower chambers of the heart. The most serious is ventricular fibrillation,
which interferes with the heart’s ability to pump blood, leading
to cardiac arrest.
View the AHA’s animation of the most common types of arrhythmia. (Scroll to “Select a Condition”
at the bottom right corner of the graphic to choose the type of arrhythmia
you wish to view.)
Progressive Arrhythmia Management
When it comes to diagnosing and treating cardiac arrhythmia, Jeffrey M.
Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute is a nationally recognized leader
in comprehensive arrhythmia management. With its exceptional team of physician
experts and staff, progressive technology, and state-of-the-art facilities,
Hoag continues to lead the way in comprehensive cardiovascular care both
locally and nationwide.
Read a Hoag Health Magazine article on the Importance of Diagnosing and
Learn more about Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute's
top rated arrhythmia management program: