What is Arrhythmia?

Cardiac arrhythmia, also known as cardiac dysrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, is a group of conditions in which the heartbeat is irregular, too fast, or too slow. A heartbeat that is too fast - above 100 beats per minute in adults - is called tachycardia and a heartbeat that is too slow - below 60 beats per minute - is called bradycardia. --> When symptoms are present these may include palpitations or feeling a pause between heartbeats. More seriously there may be lightheadedness, passing out, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Others may result in cardiac arrest.

There are four main types of arrhythmias: extra beats, supraventricular tachycardias, ventricular arrhythmias, and bradyarrhythmias. Extra beats include premature atrial contractions and premature ventricular contractions. Supraventricular tachycardias include atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Ventricular arrhymias include ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. Arrhythmias may occur in children; however, the normal range for the heart rate is different and depends on age. A number of tests can help with diagnosis including an electrocardiogram (ECG) and holter monitor.

Most arrhythmias can be effectively treated. Treatments may include medications, medical procedures such as a pacemaker, and surgery. Medications for a fast heart rate may include beta blockers or agents that attempt to restore a normal heart rhythm such as procainamide. This later group may have more significant side effects especially if taken for a long period of time. Pacemakers are often used for slow heart rates. Those with an irregular heartbeat are often treated with blood thinners to reduce the risk of complications. Those who have severe symptoms from an arrhythmia may be treated emergently with a jolt of electricity in the form of cardioversion or defibrillation.

Arrhythmias affect millions of people. Arrhythmias may occur at any age but are more common among older people.

Questions and answers on "Arrhythmia"

I am a 56 year, old post menopausal female who was diagnosed 18 months ago with idiopathic RVOT. My angiogram, MRI, ultrasound and other tests...

doctor1 MD


Your symptoms are indicative of developing Atrial Fibrillation or atrial flutter.

In order to be on the safer side you are suggested to go...

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Hi over the last few months my ten year old daughter has been having palpitations and fast pounding heart and chest pain and aldo feels faint with...

doctor1 MD

hello. your concern is well understood
palpitation, chest pain, faintness may be normally seen in young children. but many of the congenital heart...

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I have benign arrhythmia. I also have a very "acidy" stomach and am prone to have gas. Not heartburn problems, just mostly lots of big burps. When...

doctor1 MD

Hi and thanks for the query.

Frequent burping can be
1) Supradiaphragmatic where one just brings out swallowed air and this the commonest cause of...

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