A condition of ‘Cardiac Arrhythmia’ can sound serious and alarming and one may think it automatically points to heart disease. However there are different types of Cardiac Arrhythmia, not all indicate the patient has heart disease, not all of them require treatment, not all of them dangerous. It is important to be familiar with this phenomenon and to know which types will require consultation with a cardiologist and which type of arrhythmia will require treatment and monitoring, as neglecting some of them can be harmful and even deadly.
First off, Arrhythmia (also known as Cardiac Dysrhythmia) is a term which describes any sort of irregular heartbeat, meaning a condition disorder in the electrical activity of the heart. An arrhythmia condition can mean your heart beat is going faster than normal (Tachycardia), slower than normal (Bradycardia) or simply beating at an irregular pace. A regular heart beat varies between 50 to 100 beats per minute, anything above or below that may mean there is a heart condition.
But as mentioned before, not all arrhythmia types require attention. Here is a list of the major types of this condition:
Premature Atrial Contractions – The first type of cardiac arrhythmia that isn't dangerous. In this condition there are early extra beats that originate in the atria. These extra beats are harmless and do not require any treatment.
Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) - A common arrhythmia disorder which describes a skipped heartbeat. It can be caused among other things by heart disease and people who have a lot of PVCs should be diagnosed by a heart specialist.
Atrial fibrillation – This is another common arrhythmia type that causes the atria to contract abnormally.
Atrial flutter – This is a more structured diagnosis then the fibrillation. People who have heart disease or people after heart surgery will usually have this arrhythmia.
Ventricular Tachycardia - A rapid heartbeat which prevents the heart from filling adequately with blood and then pumping it back to the body. This is a very serious condition.
Supraventricular Tachycardia – This is similar to Ventricular Tachycardia, but originates above the ventricular tissue and is less dangerous.
Ventricular fibrillation – This is a severe condition that must be treated immediately with CPR and defibrillation. The ventricles aren't able to contract or pump blood to the body.
Long QT syndrome – The heart muscle is taking longer than usual to contract and then recover, or for the electrical impulse to fire impulses and then recharge. When this occurs, it increases the risk for ventricular tachycardia. Long QT syndrome is an inherited condition.
Bradyarrhythmias - A Slow heartbeat which may arise from a disease in the heart's electrical conduction system.
AV Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia – This is a rapid heart rate due to more than one pathway through the AV node and can cause heart palpitations, fainting, or even heart failure.
Heart Block - A delay or complete block of the electrical impulse as it travels from the sinus node to the ventricles. If serious, heart block is treated with a pacemaker.
There are several types of treatments available for the different types of Cardiac Dysrhythmia. If the arrhythmia is caused by heart disease, the patient may need heart surgery to treat the problem. Other solutions include: a pacemaker transplant to help maintain a steady heartbeat, the use of an electrical shock may be administered to the chest in order to synchronize the heart (a procedure call Electrical Cardioversion) and the destruction of heart muscles cells that are causing the problems with radiofrequency energy (Radiofrequency ablation).
Arrhythmia does not always manifest itself through physical symptoms. Sometimes one can notice the problem and sometimes they won't. All types of arrhythmia disorders can be detected at a routine doctor's checkup. It is not recommended one not neglects this kind of condition. If you feel something is wrong or abnormal with your heart beat, you should go see a doctor immediately.