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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What complications can arise from an irregular heartbeat?

I just talked to my dad about an hour ago and he told me he may have an irregular heartbeat. I've tried researching it on the internet but its all too scientific. Can any body help me understand any complications that might arise from this or if i shouldn't worry at all? just talked to my dad about an hour ago and he told me he may have an irregular heartbeat. I've tried researching it on the internet but its all too scientific. Can any body help me understand any complications that might arise from this or if i shouldn't worry at all? His doctor had to run tests for it and i'm really worried
Thu, 17 Dec 2009
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Generally, a persistant irregular heart rhythm is AKA Atrial Fibrillation. Make sure this is what you have as opposed to some abbarent beats here and there or a normal sinus arrythmia that fluctuates with respirations. If is it Atrial Fibrillation, then the risks are low blood pressure and formation of blood clot. What happens is, the top half of your blood chamber (the atrium) is attempting to squeeze blood into the ventricle but due to an interruption in the normal electrical conduction of your heart, the atrium doesn't empty completely therefore leaving some blood left in the atrium. This blood left behind rubs together and the platelets form a clot. As this clot develops, it could be dislodged and hit anywhere in the body; coronary artery, brain, lung, etc. So, as long as you have this condition, you will need to be on blood thinning agents to prevent this from happening. Generally Coumadin is the drug and must be monitored through blood work indefinately. But it can be reversed through anti-arrhythmics, ablation, or synchronized cardioversion. Of course, you should try the least invasive treatment first with anti-arrhythmics (drugs). A good way to check if you have this is as simple as placing your pointy finger on your radial artery on your wrist (along the thumb side of the wrist), it will be a persistant irregular beat. The diagnosis of this condition is usually seen through EKG. See a cardiologist if you don't have one allready.
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