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Arrhythmia

About Your Care and Condition

A cardiac arrhythmia is a heart rhythm disorder. This occurs when the heart’s regular electrical activity (sinus rhythm) becomes erratic and the irregular impulses are spread throughout the upper and lower chambers of the heart. Blood is pumped through the body in the lower chambers.  Stimulation of the heart muscles in the lower chambers occurs via the electrical impulses from the sinus node. When the body is in a time of physical or emotional stress, it needs more oxygen-rich blood. To meet the demands, our heart beat is accelerated by the nervous system. In the case of arrhythmias, the heart’s contraction and electrical impulse generation can be disrupted. 

Irregular heart rhythms affect millions of people and can cause life-threatening conditions such as heart failure, stroke, or sudden cardiac death. Our electrophysiologists are highly trained to diagnose and treat these arrhythmias with careful assessments to help determine your most beneficial treatment.

Different Types Of Arrhythmias

A heart arrhythmia can disrupt the electrical activity of the heart as well as the contraction abilities. They can occur in the upper and lower heart chambers as either tachycardia-dangerously fast heartbeat or bradycardia-dangerously slow heartbeat. Known types of Arrhythmias include:

  • Bradycardia: the heart beats too slow at rest with 50 beats per minute or less. This sort of heart rhythm can be considered normal for some athletes. 
  • AV Blocks/Complete Heart Block:  impaired conduction between the top and bottom of the heart, varying to different degrees
  • Ectopy: isolated extra heartbeats coming from the atria or ventricles that that are mostly harmless.
  • Atrial fibrillation: extremely fast, chaotic activity in the upper heart chambers with an irregular pulse. Has a high risk of thromboembolism (blocking of a blood vessel by a blood clot) and stroke.
  • Atrial flutter: fast contractions of the upper heart chambers (atria) with a regular pulse of 120-140 beats per minute.
  • Ventricular tachycardia: a dangerous, very fast and sporadic activity in the lower heart chambers. 
  • Ventricular fibrillation- a drastic, life-threatening condition of very fast and chaotic activity in both the upper and lower heart chambers without a pulse.