|  Find a Doctor   |  Getting to NUHCS   | Appointment   | Contact Us   | Newsroom  |  Make a Gift  | About NUHS  | Protecting Your Data
 
 

Home > Our Services > Conditions and Treatments > Heart Arrhythmias

Heart Arrhythmias

 

 

 

 

What is it?

 

A heart arrhythmia is a generic term for an irregular heartbeat. Depending on the arrhythmia's duration rate, degree of regularity and its effect on blood flow and blood pressure, it may be either insignificant or life-threatening.

 

There are four main types of arrhythmia: premature (extra) beats, supraventricular arrhythmias, ventricular arrhythmias, and bradyarrhythmias.

 

Premature (Extra) Beats: This is the most common type of arrhythmia. It is harmless mostly and does not cause any symptoms. In most cases, premature beats occur naturally, and require no treatment, but certain heart diseases can cause this. However, it may also occurs due to stress, over-exercising or even too much caffeine.

 

Supraventricular Arrthymias: Fast heart rates (tachycardias) that begin in the atria or the atrioventricular node. Some types of supraventricular arrhythmias include atrial fibrillation (AF), atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) and Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome.

 

Atrial Fibrillation (AF): AF refers to very fast and irregular contraction of the atria causing disorganized, rapid and irregular rhythm. This allows blood to pool in the left atrium and form clots that may travel to the brain. It is the most common type of serious arrhythmia which may cause stroke or heart failure.

 

Atrial Flutter: Similar to atrial fibrillation, but its rhythm is fast and regular instead. It is much less common than atrial fibrillation, but it has similar symptoms and complication.

 

Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT): PSVT is a very fast heart rate that begins and ends suddenly. Extra heartbeats are caused by electrical signals that re-enter the atria after traveling to the ventricles. This type of arrhythmia is usually not dangerous.

 

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW): This is a type of PSVT. The heart's electrical signals travel along an extra pathway from the atria to the ventricles, which disrupts the timing and can cause the ventricles to beat very fast. This can be life threatening.  

 

Ventricular Arrhythmias: These begin in the ventricles and can be very dangerous, usually requiring immediate medical attention. Ventricular arrhythmias include ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Coronary artery disease (CAD) , heart attack, weakened heart muscle can cause this.

 

Ventricular Tachycardia: Fast, regular beating of the ventricles that may last only for a few seconds or much longer. Ventricular tachycardia that lasts for more than a few seconds can be dangerous, and can turn into more dangerous arrhythmias, such as ventricular fibrillation.

 

Ventricular Fibrillation: It occurs when the ventricles quiver instead of pumping normally due to the disorganized electrical signals. This causes the ventricles to function as a pump to circulate blood. Ventricular fibrillation tends to occur mostly in diseased hearts However, it can also occur in otherwise normal individuals, and can lead to sudden death.

 

Back to Top

 

 

How is it Diagnosed?

 

  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Heart monitor 

 

Back to Top

 

 

What are the symptoms?

 

  • Palpitations
      • missed beats, skips, thumps, butterflies, fluttering, or racing
      • may come in single or multiple beats
      • may be felt anywhere from the stomach to the head
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
 
 

 

 

What is the treatment?

 

  • There are various treatments for Heart Arrhythmia
  • Medications
      •  Antiarrhythmic drugs - controls heart rates
      •  Anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy - reduces the risk of blood clots
  • Lifestyle changes
      •  If you're smoking, you should stop
      •  You should avoid activities that your irregular heart rhythm occurs more often with.
      •  Limit or stop using caffeine.
      •  Stay away from stimulants used in cough and cold medications.
  • Surgical Procedures
      •  Permanent Cardiac Pacemaker Insertion
      •  Pacemakers, Defibrillators and Cardiac Implants
 
 

 

Brochures

 

Cardiac Electrophysiology Study (EPS) and Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

English

 

Permanent Cardiac Pacemaker Insertion

English

 

 

 

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators & Cardiac Resynchornisation Therapy

English

 

 

 

 

 Back to Top

 

 

Patient Education Videos