ARRHYTHMIA - WatsonsHealth


An arrhythmia is a medical condition wherein there is an irregular heartbeat that is either too fast or too slow. While it may occur in normal people, it may also result from a weak or a damaged heart and can cause fatal complications when untreated.

An arrhythmia may have no signs and symptoms. It may be due to stress, smoking, diabetes or heart problems.

There are many types of arrhythmia. Only your doctor can distinguish between these types. These are as follows:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial flutter
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Long QT syndrome


An arrhythmia may have no symptoms, but if there are, they may include the following:

  • Breathlessness (dyspnea)
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Diaphoresis or sweating
  • Difficulties when exercising
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations
  • Syncope (fainting, or nearly fainting)
  • Weakness


The doctor may do a medical interview, which may include the patient’s medical history, family history, and lifestyle. He or she may then proceed to order the following tests:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • EKG (electrocardiogram)
  • Holter monitor
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest x-ray
  • Tilt-table test
  • Electrophysiologic testing
  • Heart catheterization



An arrhythmia may be treated if the patient carries a risk for complications or if there are severe signs and symptoms.

For bradycardia, a pacemaker may be given.

For tachycardia:

  • Vagal maneuvers
  • Medications
  • Cardioversion
  • Ablation therapy
  • ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator)
  • Maze procedure
  • Ventricular aneurysm surgery
  • Coronary bypass surgery

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