Arrhythmia is a disorder of the heartbeat (also called dysrhythmia). It is also possible for heart rates to fluctuate. The average heart rate is 50 to 100 beats per minute. Arrhythmias and irregular heart rates aren’t always linked.
Arrhythmias can develop with either a normal or sluggish heart rate (called bradyarrhythmias — less than 50 beats per minute). Rapid heart rates can cause arrhythmias (called tachyarrhythmias — faster than 100 beats per minute).
Each year, around 850,000 people in the United States are admitted to hospitals due to arrhythmia.
An issue with your heartbeat’s pace or rhythm is known as an arrhythmia. It indicates that your heart beats too swiftly, too slowly, or irregularly. Tachycardia is a condition in which the heart beats more quickly than usual.
Bradycardia occurs when the Heart Beats (HB) too slowly. Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent kind of arrhythmia, which produces a rapid and erratic heartbeat.
A heart attack, smoking, congenital cardiac problems, and stress are just a few of the things that might disrupt your heart’s rhythm. Arrhythmias may be caused by certain drugs or medications.
Arrhythmias have several symptoms.
- Is your heart racing or sluggish?
- Beat skipping.
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed.
- Inflammation of the chest.
Whether you think you might have an arrhythmia, your doctor can do tests to see if you do. Medicines, an implanted cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker, and, in certain cases, surgery are all options for restoring a normal cardiac rhythm.
What is an Arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia is a heartbeat that is irregular. It indicates your heart isn’t beating in the same rhythm as it usually does.
It may seem like your heart has skipped, added, or is “fluttering.” It may seem like it’s beating too quickly (known as tachycardia) or too slowly (known as bradycardia) (called bradycardia). It’s also possible that you won’t notice anything at all.
Arrhythmias can be dangerous or innocuous. If you notice something odd about your heartbeat, get medical attention immediately away so that physicians can determine why it’s happening and what you should do about it.
Any type of abnormal heartbeat is referred to as an arrhythmia. Your heart may beat too quickly, too slowly, or in an unpredictable manner if you have an arrhythmia.
Arrhythmias are generally considered innocuous by most individuals. An arrhythmia, on the other hand, might cause the heart to be unable to pump blood adequately.
The illness can limit adequate blood and oxygen from reaching the brain, heart, and other organs, resulting in significant and life-threatening complications.
The good news is that even the most significant arrhythmias may be properly treated. Aurora Health Care is the state’s leader in diagnosing and treating irregular cardiac rhythms. That indicates that if you get therapy, your chances of living an active, healthy life are very good.
Arrhythmias can be caused or caused by a variety of factors, including the following:
- Right now, you’re having a heart attack.
- Heart tissue scarring from a previous heart attack.
- Changes in the structure of your heart, such as those caused by cardiomyopathy.
- Heart artery occlusion (coronary artery disease)
- Thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism).
- Thyroid gland is underactive (hypothyroidism).
- Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person can stop breathing while sleeping.
Who’s at Risk of developing an Arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia can be caused by a variety of factors affecting your heart’s electrical system. Caffeine, drink, cigarettes, illicit narcotics, diet pills, certain herbs, and even prescription medications can all cause an arrhythmia.
Arrhythmias are more likely in those who have coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. As you become older, arrhythmias become more prevalent.
Certain factors might raise your chances of experiencing an arrhythmia. These are a few examples:
- A history of coronary artery disease, other cardiac issues, or prior heart surgery. Narrowed heart arteries, a heart attack, damaged heart valves, prior heart surgery, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and other cardiac diseases can all induce arrhythmias.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) This raises your chances of getting coronary artery disease. It may also cause the left ventricle’s walls to stiffen and thicken, altering how electrical impulses pass through your heart.
- Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a congenital cardiac defect. If you were born with a cardiac defect, your heart rhythm may be impacted.
- Thyroid issues Arrhythmias can be caused by an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.
- Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes raises your chances of having coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
- Sleep Apnea: This sleep condition can put you at risk for bradycardia, atrial fibrillation, and other arrhythmias.
- Deficiency in Electrolytes: Electrolytes in your blood, such as potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium, aid in the triggering and conduct of electrical impulses in your heart. Too high or too low electrolyte levels might cause your heart’s electrical impulses to be disrupted, resulting in arrhythmia.
Signs and Symptoms
Many arrhythmias go unnoticed.
If they occur, the following are frequent arrhythmia signs and symptoms:
- A racing heart (may feel like fluttering in your chest, like your heart is skipping a beat, or like it is beating too hard or too fast).
- Experiencing pauses or an uneven pattern between heartbeats.
- Tiredness, numbness, and dizziness.
- A pounding hearts.
Arrhythmias come in a variety of forms, as listed below:
1. Fibrillation of the Heart
Tachycardia is almost always present when the atrial chambers beat irregularly. Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a prevalent condition that affects mostly those over 65.
The chamber fibrillates, or quivers, rather than creating a single powerful contraction, resulting in a fast heartbeat.
2. Fluttering of the Atrium
Atrial flutter is caused by one part of the atrium that is not conducting properly, whereas fibrillation creates several random and varied quivers in the atrium. As a result, abnormal cardiac conduction occurs in a predictable manner.
Some people will experience both flutter and fibrillation. Atrial flutter is a dangerous disorder that, if left untreated, can develop to fibrillation.
3. Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
Supraventricular tachycardia is the term for a rapid yet rhythmically regular heartbeat. A person can have a burst of rapid heartbeats that can last anywhere from a few seconds to many hours.
Atrial fibrillation and flutter are both classified as SVTs by doctors.
4. Ventricular Fibrillation
A rapid, disorganised, and fluttering ventricular contraction characterises this aberrant heart rhythm. The ventricles tremble rather than pump blood.
Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening condition that is frequently associated with cardiac disease. It is frequently triggered by a heart attack.
Whether you have a quick or slow arrhythmia or a heart block will determine how you are treated. Your arrhythmia’s underlying causes, such as heart failure, will need to be addressed as well.
Arrhythmias are treated with a variety of methods, including:
- Arrhythmia Medicine – to halt or prevent an arrhythmia, or to regulate the pace of an arrhythmia
- Cardioversion – an anaesthetic or sedative procedure that employs electricity to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm.
- Catheter Ablation – a keyhole procedure performed under local or general anaesthesia to eliminate the damaged tissue in your heart that is causing the arrhythmia.
- Pacemaker – a little device with its own battery that is implanted in your chest under local anaesthesia and provides electrical signals to replace your heart’s natural pacemaker, allowing it to beat at a normal rhythm.
- ICD – a pacemaker-like device that monitors your cardiac rhythm and shocks your heart back into a normal rhythm as necessary.