An arrhythmia (Heart Arrhythmia) is a disturbance of the heart’s electrical rhythm. It may feel like fluttering or a brief pause. It may be so brief that it doesn’t change your overall heart rate (the number of times per minute your heart beats).
Or it can cause the heart rate to be too slow or too fast. Some arrhythmias don’t cause any symptoms. Others can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
It’s widespread for ages 60 and older. It can last several years or be lifelong. Heart arrhythmia is also known as dysrhythmia. This article will describe Heart Arrhythmia, its causes, and symptoms and explain the different types and possible treatments.
Heart Arrhythmia Disease
Heart Arrhythmias result from any disturbance in the rate, regularity, and site of origin or conduction of the cardiac electric impulse. It refers to conditions that cause a heartbeat to be too fast, too slow, or too quickly. Many arrhythmias are harmless. There are different categories of heart arrhythmia, including:
- Bradycardia is when the heart rate is too slow- less than 60 beats per minute.
- Tachycardia is when the heart rate is too fast – more than 100 beats per minute.
- Irregular heartbeat, also known as a flutter or fibrillation, atrial flutter is a condition where the heart’s atria beat too fast.
- Early heartbeat, or a premature contraction which is when the heart has an extra, early beat that makes an irregular rhythm
What is a Normal Heartbeat?
The normal heartbeat is the heart rate when a person is awake, in a neutrally temperate environment, and has not undergone any recent exertion or stimulation such as stress or surprise. The doctor identifies a healthy heartbeat by counting the number of times the heart beats every minute (bpm) during the test.
Adults’ typical resting heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute (bpm). However, it is not unusual for endurance athletes to have a resting heart rate between 33 and 50 bpm.
Types Of Heart Arrhythmia
A doctor does not classify the arrhythmia just by looking at the place of origin (atria or ventricles). A doctor can classify arrhythmias by looking at the speed of heart rate also. There are several types of Heart Arrhythmia as described here:
Bradycardia is when the heart rate is too slow- less than 60 beats per minute. So, if your heartbeat is slow, merely normal, you can check the symptoms of Bradycardia because slow heartbeats mean Bradycardia of our heart function.
Tachycardia is when the heart rate is too fast – more than 100 beats per minute. Not all bradycardias and tachycardia mean you have heart disease. For example, when you exercise that time, your heart beats faster. So it’s very normal during exercise, and during your relaxation or sleep time, your heart beats too slowly, which is also very normal.
Sinus tachycardia is usually due to increased sympathetic activity associated with exercise, emotion, and pregnancy. Healthy young adults can produce a rapid sinus rate, up to 200/min, during intense exercise. Sinus tachycardia does not require treatment but sometimes may reflect an underlying disease.
This may occur in healthy people at rest and is a common finding in athletes. If the sinus is asymptomatic, then no treatment is required. Symptomatic sinus bradycardia may occur acutely during an MI and be treated with intravenous atropine (0.6-1.2 mg).
Patients with recurrent or persistent symptomatic sinus bradycardia should be considered for pacemaker implantation.
Sinus arrhythmia accelerates the heart rate with inspiration and slows with expiration. Electrocardiographic features:
- A variation of at least 0.12 s between the longest and shortest PP intervals, with standard and constant P-wave configuration.
- Maximum cycle length minus minimum cycle length divided by minimum cycle length is > 10%.
Atrial fibrillation or A-fib is a common disorder that involves the heart’s two upper pumping chambers. Normally, the heart beats in an even, steady pattern (rhythm). However, during A-fib, the upper chambers of the heartbeat are in a fast, uneven manner. When this happens, the heart cannot pump blood as effectively as it should.
Atrial tachycardia may manifest as increased atrial automaticity, sinoatrial disease, or digoxin toxicity. It produces a narrow-complex tachycardia with abnormal P-wave morphology, sometimes associated with AV block if the atrial rate is rapid.
It may respond to B-blockers, which reduce automaticity; AV node-blocking drugs may control the ventricular response in rapid atrial tachycardia. Catheter ablation can be used to target the ectopic site and should be offered as an anti-arrhythmic drug in patients with recurrent atrial tachycardia.
One or more rapid circuits cause this arrhythmia in the atrium. Atrial flutter is usually more organized and regular than atrial fibrillation. This arrhythmia occurs most often in people with heart disease and the first week after heart surgery. After that, it often converts to atrial fibrillation.
A rapid heart rhythm originates from the heart’s lower chambers (or ventricles). The rapid rate prevents the heart from filling adequately with blood. This can be a serious arrhythmia, especially in people with heart disease, and may be associated with more symptoms.
An erratic, disorganized firing of impulses from the ventricles. The ventricles quiver and cannot contract or pump blood to the body. This medical emergency must be treated with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as soon as possible.
Premature Atrial Contractions
These are early extra beats that originate in the (upper chambers of the heart). They are harmless and generally do not require treatment.
Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs)
These are among the most common arrhythmias and occur in people with or without heart disease. This is the skipped heartbeat we all occasionally experience. Some people can be related to stress, too much caffeine or nicotine, or too much exercise. But sometimes, PVCs can be caused by heart disease or electrolyte imbalance.
A heart doctor should evaluate people with many PVCs and their associated symptoms. However, PVCs are usually harmless in most people and rarely need treatment.
Long QT Syndrome
The QT interval is the area on the electrocardiogram representing the time it takes for the heart muscle to contract and recover or for the electrical impulse to fire impulses and recharge. When the QT interval is longer than normal, it increases the risk of a life-threatening form of ventricular tachycardia.
Long QT syndrome is an inherited condition that can cause sudden death in young people. It can be treated with antiarrhythmic drugs, pacemaker, electrical cardioversion, defibrillation, implanted defibrillator, or ablation therapy.
Sinus Node Dysfunction
A slow heart rhythm due to an abnormal sinus node. Significant sinus node dysfunction that causes symptoms is treated with a pacemaker.
A delay or complete block of the electrical impulse travels from the sinus node to the ventricles. As a result, the heart may beat irregularly and more slowly. If serious, heart block is treated with a pacemaker.
Signs and Symptoms Of Heart Arrhythmias
The term cardiac arrhythmia covers a very large number of very different conditions. The most common symptom of arrhythmia is an abnormal awareness of the heartbeat, called palpitations. These may be infrequent, frequent, or continuous. Some of these arrhythmias are harmless.
Some arrhythmias do not cause symptoms and are not associated with increased mortality. Examples include a higher risk of blood within the heart and insufficient blood from the heart because of a weak heartbeat.
If an arrhythmia results in a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow, or too weak to supply the body’s needs, this manifests as lower blood pressure and may cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or syncope (fainting). Noticeable arrhythmia symptoms may include.
- A fluttering in Your Chest
- A racing Heartbeat (Tachycardia)
- A slow Heartbeat (Bradycardia)
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of Breath
Heart Arrhythmias Diagnosis
To diagnose a heart arrhythmia, your doctor will take your complete medical history and do a physical examination to review your symptoms. Your doctor may ask about some tests to confirm the diagnosis, including;
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Hormone Test
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Holter Monitor
- Event Monitor
- Implantable Loop Recorder
- Stress Test
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Till Table Test
- Electrophysiological Testing and Mapping
The heart is another important part of the humane body. A regular heartbeat is essential to the sound body. If it doesn’t work properly, blood circulation falls into a hamper.
Generally, it happens when the electrical signals aren’t working properly from central nerves. Arrhythmia means an irregular heat beat. An irregular heartbeat describes an increase or decrease in the beat.