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.
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How is it Diagnosed?
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What are the symptoms?
- 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
Shortness of breath
What is the treatment?