Dysrhythmias; Abnormal heart rhythms; Bradycardia; Tachycardia
Definition of Arrhythmias
An arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rate (pulse) or heart rhythm, such as beating too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Normally, your heart is able to pump blood out to your body without working any harder than is needed.
An arrhythmia may be present all of the time or it may come and go. You may or may not feel symptoms when the arrhythmia is present. Or, you may only notice symptoms when you are more active.
Signs and tests
The doctor will listen to your heart with a stethoscope and feel your pulse. Your blood pressure may be low or normal.
When an arrhythmia is serious, you may need urgent treatment to restore a normal rhythm. This may include:
The outcome depends on several factors:
Issam Mikati, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Director, Northwestern Clinic Echocardiography Lab, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/5/2010