Cardiac Arrhythmias


Put simply, a heart arrhythmia is a condition that occurs when your heart does not beat regularly. Arrhythmia causes your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.

In most cases, this condition may be bothersome at times but is usually harmless. However, some arrhythmias may have life threatening consequences.

They are several types of arrhythmia which can occur in the atria (top 2 heart chambers) or the ventricles (lower 2 heart chambers).

Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is a type of arrhythmia that is life-threatening. It occurs when the heart beats with rapid, erratic electrical impulses. The chambers of your heart then quiver instead of pumping blood.


A lot of times, arrhythmias come with no signs of symptoms. Many arrhythmias are detected during routine exams.

Some arrhythmias do come with symptoms, though. Some of these are:

  • A fluttering in your chest
  • A racing or slow heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

If you suffer from these symptoms, don’t panic. Noticeable signs do not always indicate a serious issue.

Call 911 if you think you experience serious or severe symptoms. Otherwise, seek advice from your personal physician.

Causes & Risk Factors

Common causes of arrhythmia are:

  • Scarring of heart tissue
  • Blocked arteries
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Stress

Other risk factors include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Hypertension
  • Thyroid problems
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes


Arrhythmia is normally diagnosed through the use of heart monitoring tests including:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Holter monitor
  • Event monitor
  • Echocardiogram
  • Stress test


If you have been diagnosed with arrhythmia, you may or may not require treatment. In most cases, treatment is only required when your arrhythmia puts you at risk for more serious complications.

Whether or not you are given medical treatment, many patients are asked to make lifestyle changes that will keep your heart as healthy as possible. Such lifestyle changes might involve:

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Quit smoking
  • Stop drinking caffeine and alcohol
  • Reduce Stress

Medical Treatment

Slow heartbeats are usually treated with a pacemaker.

Fast heartbeats are usually treated with:

  • Vagal Maneuvers
  • Medications
  • Cardioversion
  • Ablation therapy
  • Implantable devices (pacemaker, implantable cardioverter-defribrillator (AICD)
  • Surgical treatment

Your Choice is Clear
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