Cardiac Arrhythmia is when your heartbeat is irregular. Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) occur when the electrical signals that coordinate the heart’s beats don’t work as expected. Improper signaling causes the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly.
Heart rate can be controlled by a natural pacemaker (sinus node) in the upper right chamber (atrium). The sinus node sends out electrical signals that typically trigger every heartbeat. These electrical signals travel through the atria, causing the heart muscles to contract (contract) and pump blood into the ventricles. The signals then travel to a group of cells called an AV node, slowed down.
This short delay fills the ventricles with blood. When electrical signals reach the ventricle, the ventricle contracts and pumps blood to the lungs or other parts of the body. This heart signal transmission process usually runs smoothly in a healthy heart, resulting in an average resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Heart arrhythmias can feel like a rapid heartbeat and can be harmless. However, some heart arrhythmias can cause irritating, sometimes life-threatening signs and symptoms.
Treatment for cardiac arrhythmias may include medication, catheter procedures, implanted devices, or surgery to control or prevent a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat. In addition, a healthy lifestyle for the heart can help prevent heart damage that can cause certain cardiac arrhythmias.
If you feel your heart is beating too fast or too slow, or if you think your heart misses a beat, make an appointment with Dr. Weinstein. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, fainting, near fainting, or chest pain or discomfort.