Heart Rhythm Disorders

Millions of people experience irregular or abnormal heartbeats, called arrhythmias, at some point in their lives. Most of the time, they are harmless and happen in healthy people free of heart disease. However, some abnormal heart rhythms can be serious or even deadly. Having other types of heart disease can also increase the risk of arrhythmias.

Heart rhythm disorders can be divided into three broad categories, electrical, circulatory, and structural. Cardiologists are physicians who diagnose and treat disorders of the heart. Electrophysiology is a subspecialty branch of cardiology. An electrophysiologist (EP) is highly trained in the management of electrical properties of the heart, and is the most knowledgeable doctor to deal with the many often complex options for treating heart beat, or heart rhythm, disorders.

Electrical

Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) are caused by problems with the electrical system that regulates the steady heartbeat. The heart rate may be too slow or too fast; it may stay steady or become chaotic (irregular and disorganized). Some arrhythmias are very dangerous and cause sudden cardiac death, while others may be bothersome but not life threatening.

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Circulatory

High Blood Pressure and coronary artery disease (causing blockages in the pipes (arteries) that supply blood to the heart) are the main causes of blood vessel disorders. They can result in a stroke or heart attack, which can be devastating. Fortunately, there are many preventative and treatment options.

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Structural

Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) and congenital abnormalities (problems in the development of the heart and blood vessels which are present from birth) are two problems that can damage the heart muscle or valves.

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Pediatrics

A child's heart works just as hard as an adult's heart and similiar to adults, some children have heart rhythm disorders. 

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Keep Exploring

Early Warning Signs
Over 2.5 million people experience a racing, pounding, rumbling or flopping feeling in their chest but don't know that it could be Atrial Fibrillation which increase the chance of stroke by 500%. Maybe you are seeing irregular heart rhythm readings on your new wearable health device and are not sure what it means. If you been fainting or having repeated dizzy spells, it's time to see a doctor to discuss your heart health.
Common Treatments
The underlying cause of any heart rhythm disorder provides the basis for selecting the best treatment plan. In general, the best treatment is the least invasive option that effectively controls the heart rhythm disorder.
The Normal Heart
The heart is a fist-sized muscle that pumps blood through the body 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without rest. The normal heart is made up of four parts: two atria on the top of the heart (right atrium and left atrium), and two ventricles (right ventricle and left ventricle) which are the muscular chambers on the bottom of the heart that provide the major power to pump blood.
Lifestyle
Since other heart disorders increase the risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms, lifestyle changes often are recommended. Living a “heart healthy” lifestyle can ease the symptoms experienced with heart rhythm disorders and other heart disorders, and can be beneficial to overall patient health.
HRS Glossary
The Heart Rhythm Society brings you an online dictionary of common medical terms related to heart, and rhythm problems.