Information & Advice For Arrhythmia Patients
What is an Arrhythmia?
A cardiac arrhythmia is the medical term for an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm.
There are essentially two main things that can go wrong with the heart: the plumbing and the electrics. Many of us are keenly aware of the heart’s plumbing problems, yet we remain largely unaware of the electrical faults which cause an arrhythmia. Arrhythmias can occur in the upper chambers of the heart, (atria), or in the lower chambers of the heart, (ventricles). Arrhythmias may occur at any age. Some are barely perceptible, whereas others can be more dramatic and can even lead to sudden cardiac death.
There are two basic types of arrhythmia, with variations of each:
- Bradycardia – a heart rate that is too slow, usually less than 60 beats per minute.
- Tachycardia – a heart rate that is too fast, usually more than 100 beats per minute.
- The heart’s natural pacemaker (the SA node) develops an abnormal rhythm.
- The normal conduction pathway is interrupted or blocked.
- Electrical impulses originate from another part of the heart.
- Premature beats, palpitations or skipped beats
- Fainting or near fainting