Medical Article on Arrhythmia | Cardiac Arrhythmia | Heart

Arrhythmia

Introduction to Arrhythmia
An irregular heartbeat is an arrhythmia (also called dysrhythmia). Heart rates can also be irregular. A normal heart rate is 50 to 100 beats per minute. Arrhythmias and abnormal heart rates don't necessarily occur together. Arrhythmias can occur with a normal heart rate, or with heart rates that are slow (called bradyarrhythmias -- less than 50 beats per minute). Arrhythmias can also occur with rapid heart rates (called tachyarrhythmias -- faster than 100 beats per minute). In the United States, more than 850,000 people are hospitalized for an arrhythmia each year.

What causes an arrhythmia?
Arrhythmias may be caused by many different factors, including:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Coronary artery disease. Electrolyte imbalances in your blood (such as sodium or potassium). Changes in your heart muscle. Injury from a heart attack. Healing process after heart surgery. Irregular heart rhythms can also occur in "normal, healthy" hearts.

What Are the Types of Arrhythmias?
The types of arrhythmias include: Premature atrial contractions. These are early extra beats that originate in the atria (upper chambers of the heart). They are harmless and do not require treatment. Premature ventricular contractions(PVCs). These are among the most common arrhythmias and occur in people with and without heart disease. This is the skipped heartbeat we all occasionally

experience. In some people, it can be related to stress, too much caffeine or nicotine, or too much exercise. But sometimes, PVCs can be caused by heart disease or electrolyte imbalance. People who have a lot of PVCs, and/or symptoms associated with them, should be evaluated by a heart doctor. However, in most people, PVCs are usually harmless and rarely need treatment. Atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a very common irregular heart rhythm that causes the atria, the upper chambers of the heart, to contract abnormally. Atrial flutter. This is an arrhythmia caused by one or more rapid circuits in the atrium. Atrial flutter is usually more organized and regular than atrial fibrillation. This arrhythmia occurs most often in

people with heart disease and in the first week after heart surgery. It often converts to atrial fibrillation. Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT). A rapid heart rate, usually with a regular rhythm, originating from above the ventricles. PSVT begins and ends suddenly. There are two main

types: accessory path tachycardias and AV nodal reentrant tachycardias (see below). Accessory pathway tachycardias. A rapid heart rate due to an extra abnormal pathway or connection between the atria and the ventricles. The impulses travel through the extra pathways as well as

through the usual route. This allows the impulses to travel around the heart very quickly, causing the heart to beat unusually fast. AV nodal reentrant tachycardia. A rapid heart rate due to more than one pathway through the AV node. It can cause heart palpitations, fainting, or heart failure. In many cases, it can be terminated

using a simple maneuvers, such as breathing in and bearing down, and others performed by a trained medical professional. Some drugs can also stop this heart rhythm. Ventricular tachycardia (V-tach). A rapid heart rhythm originating from the lower chambers (or ventricles) of the heart. The rapid rate prevents the heart from filling adequately with blood; therefore,

less blood is able to pump through the body. This can be a serious arrhythmia, especially in people with heart disease, and may be associated with more symptoms. A heart doctor should evaluate this arrhythmia. Ventricular fibrillation. An erratic, disorganized firing of impulses from the ventricles. The ventricles quiver and are unable to contract or pump blood to the body. This is a medical emergency that

must be treated with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation as soon as possible. Long QT syndrome. The QT interval is the area on the electrocardiogram that represents the time it takes for the heart muscle to contract and then recover, or for the electrical impulse to fire

impulses and then recharge. When the QT interval is longer than normal, it increases the risk for "torsade de pointes," a life-threatening form of ventricular tachycardia. Long QT syndrome is an inherited condition that can cause sudden death in young people. It can be treated with antiarrhythmic drugs, pacemaker, electrical cardioversion, defibrillation, implanted cardioverter/defibrillator, or ablation therapy. Bradyarrhythmias. These are slow heart rhythms, which may arise from disease in the heart's electrical conduction system. Examples include sinus node dysfunction and heart block. Sinus node dysfunction. A slow heart rhythm due to an abnormal SA (sinus) node. Significant sinus node dysfunction that causes symptoms is treated with a pacemaker. Heart block. A delay or complete block of the electrical impulse as it travels from the sinus node to the ventricles. The level of the block or delay may occur in the AV node or HIS-Purkinje system.

The heart may beat irregularly and, often, more slowly. If serious, heart block is treated with a pacemaker.

What are the symptoms of arrhythmias?
An arrhythmia can be silent and not cause any symptoms. A doctor can detect an irregular heartbeat during a physical exam by taking your pulse or through an electrocardiogram (ECG). When symptoms of an arrhythmia occur, they may include:

• • • • • • • • •

Palpitations (a feeling of skipped heart beats, fluttering or "flip-flops," or feeling that your heart is "running away"). Pounding in your chest. Dizziness or feeling light-headed. Fainting. Shortness of breath. Chest discomfort. Weakness or fatigue (feeling very tired).

How are arrhythmias diagnosed?
Tests used to diagnose an arrhythmia or determine its cause include: Electrocardiogram Holter monitor

If you notice that your arrhythmia occurs more often with certain activities. cardioversion may be required. however. Limit your intake of alcohol.• • • • • • Event monitor Stress test Echocardiogram Cardiac catheterization Electrophysiology study (EPS) Head-up tilt table test How are arrhythmias treated? Treatment depends on the type and seriousness of your arrhythmia. which may feel like a racing heart or fluttering. . Some arrhythmias. We all occasionally experience irregular heartbeats.they occur when the electrical impulses to the heart that coordinate heartbeats are not working properly. too slowly (bradycardia). Another blood thinner called Pradaxa (dabigatran) was approved in 2010 to prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. When a single heartbeat occurs earlier than it should it is called premature contraction. Read the label and ask your doctor or pharmacist what medication would be best for you. while slow ones are called bradycardias. Limit or stop using caffeine. Many heart arrhythmias are harmless. an electrical shock is delivered to your chest wall that synchronizes the heart and allows the normal rhythm to restart. treatments can include medication. stop. These drugs reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. as in atrial or ventricular fibrillation. Some such medications contain ingredients that promote irregular heart rhythms.are called fibrillations. What Is Arrhythmia? What Causes Arrhythmia? An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat . These include: • • Antiarrhythmic drugs. especially if they veer too far from a normal heartbeat or result from a weak or damaged heart. and undergoing surgical procedures. making the heart beat too fast/slow or inconsistently.when the heartbeat is irregular . coffee. If you smoke.put together they mean "loss of rhythm". Some people with arrhythmias require no treatment. Because everyone is different. These drugs control heart rate and include beta-blockers. meaning "rhythm". it may take trials of several medications and doses to find the one that works best for you. you should avoid them. Rapid arrhythmias are called tachycardias. too early (premature contraction) or too irregularly (fibrillation). Arrhythmias are heartrhythm problems . Some people are sensitive to caffeine and may notice more symptoms when using caffeine products (such as tea. After administration of a short-acting anesthesia. the Greek suffix a (letter "a" added to the beginning of a word) means "loss" .the heart may beat too fast (tachycardia). What Is Electrical Cardioversion? If drugs are not able to control a persistent irregular heart rhythm (such as atrial fibrillation). soft drinks. making lifestyle changes. Anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy. Irregular arrhythmias . For others. may cause troublesome and even potentially fatal symptoms. What Drugs Are Used to Treat Arrhythmias? A variety of drugs are available to treat arrhythmias. and some over-the-counter • Stay away from stimulants used in cough and cold medications. The English word "arrhythmia" comes from the Greek word rhymos. Lifestyle Changes Can Help Arrhythmias? • • • • medications). These include warfarin (a "blood thinner") or aspirin.

detect a sign). (The patient detects/feels a symptom. some patients with life-threatening arrhythmias may have no symptoms. such as the doctor or other members of the household. while others with symptoms may not have a serious problem. A doctor may detect a sign of arrhythmia during a routine examination. Even if a patient notices symptoms. it does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. or near-fainting) Fluttering in the chest Lightheadedness Sudden weakness Symptoms of bradycardia include: (Sometimes there are no symptoms) o o o o o o o o o o Angina (chest pain) Concentration problems Confusion Difficulties when exercising Dizziness Fatigue (tiredness) Lightheadedness Palpitations Shortness of breath Syncope (fainting or near-fainting) Symptoms for atrial fibrillation (these often develop rapidly): (Sometimes there are no symptoms) o o o o o o Breathlessness Angina (chest pains) Dizziness Palpitations Syncope (fainting.What are the signs and symptoms of arrhythmia? Some patients may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of tachycardia include: (Sometimes there are no symptoms) o o o o o o Breathlessness Dizziness Syncope (fainting. or near-fainting) Weakness . Ironically. and other people.

travels through the ventricles. will usually have a resting heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute because their hearts are very efficient. Olympic athletes. The human heart consists of four chambers . If there is underlying problem. such as drug abuse or electric shock. Any interruption to these impulses can result in arrhythmia. often the result of a heart attack Smoking Some dietary supplements Some herbal treatments Some medications A healthy person will hardly ever suffer from long-term arrhythmia unless he/she has an external trigger. When a heartbeat occurs the less muscular and smaller atria contract and fill the relaxed ventricles with blood. The fitter you are the lower your resting heart rate. with the atrium (upper chamber) and the ventricle (lower chamber). due to: • Reduction in blood supply .a drop in blood supply to the heart can alter the ability of heart cells and tissue to conduct electrical impulses. for example. From here the impulse leaves the atrioventricular node. causing them to contract and pump blood .the chambers on each half of the heart form two adjoining pumps. . Some things can cause the heart not to work properly. they include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Alcohol abuse Diabetes Drug abuse Excessive coffee consumption Heart disease Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland) Mental stress Scarring of the heart. For a person with a healthy heart the process works properly and he/she should have a heart rate of between 60 and 100 beats per minute when resting. The contraction starts when a small group of cells in the right atrium (the sinus node) send an electrical impulse which causes the right and left atria to contract. increasing the likelihood of arrhythmia.What are the causes of arrhythmia? The electrical impulses that cause the heart to contract must follow a precise pathway for it to work properly. the electrical impulses may not be able to travel through the heart correctly. The impulse then moves to the atrioventricular node (at the center of the heart) on the pathway between the atria and ventricles.this blood pumps throughout the body. Arrhythmia development can occur if a condition has changed structure of the heart.

• Damaged or destroyed heart tissue .if heart tissue has died or is damaged the way electrical impulses spread in the heart can be affected. .

The heart's blood-pumping efficiency is affected. This syndrome can be life-threatening. SVT can be caused by an underlying heart condition.this means irregular beating of the atrial chambers .usually fast.Heart structure alterations can be caused by: • CAD (coronary artery disease) . Tachycardia in the ventricles: . a patient with SVT will have a heart rate of between 160 and 200 beats per minute. although it is unusual. Typically. Over the medium or long-term atrial fibrillation can cause stroke.the difference between atrial flutter and fibrillation is that flutter is well organized while fibrillation is not. Some extremely fit athletes have a resting heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute. and even 500 or 600.over 100 beats per minute).fast (tachycardia . or the left ventricle wall may thicken and constrict.this is normal. slow (bradycardia .however. In some cases the heartbeat of a person with atrial fibrillation can go up to 350 beats per minute. as can atrial fibrillation. Atrial flutter can come and go. If valves are tight or leaking there is a significant risk of developing arrhythmia. often resulting in heart tissue damage. Our heart rate increases during exercise . often resulting in a heart attack (some of the heart muscle dies because of a lack of blood flow). it is not usually life-threatening. • Cardiomyopathy . Tachycardia in the atria: • Atrial fibrillation . Scarred heart tissue interfere with the proper movement of electrical impulses which make the heart beat.this is when the arteries in the heart narrow. Atrial flutter can be serious. Atrial fibrillation is a common type of arrhythmia and mainly affects elderly patients. • Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome . especially if he/she had hypertension or some other heart problem. The walls of the ventricles may stretch or enlarge.a regular. A patient with atrial flutter will typically experience 250 to 350 beats per minute. • Valvular heart diseases .there is an extra electrical connection inside the heart that acts as a short circuit. resulting in an abnormally fast heart beat (sometimes irregular). The heart rate . The patient experiences a burst of accelerated heartbeats that can last from a few seconds to some hours. • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) . strong contraction. It is called SVT because the rapid heartbeat originates above the ventricles of the heart. as well as some other serious conditions. Young people with normal hearts may experience SVT (racing heart) . Arrhythmias are classified according to two factors: Where they originate . The heart may beat too fast (ventricular tachycardia) or irregularly (ventricular fibrillation).less than 60 beats per minute). abnormally rapid heartbeat caused by rapid firing of electrical impulses from a focus above the atrioventricular node (in the heart). A person's risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases significantly after the age of 60.if the heart valves narrow or leak the heart muscle can stretch and thicken. Heart attacks cause scarring of the heart tissue. although it may feel uncomfortable.the atria or ventricles. These bursts often occur when the electrical impulse from a heartbeat starts to circle through the extra pathway. the chamber fibrillates (quivers). Instead of producing a single. • Atrial flutter .disease of the myocardium (heart muscle). High or slow heart beats do not necessarily mean there is heart disease.

this lasts for up to about 30 seconds and is usually harmless. including CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). The rapid heartbeats can result in fainting. A premature heartbeat occurs between two normal heartbeats. • Conduction block .this is longer-lasting and is a medical emergency. there is a risk of longerlasting VT eventually. which lasts slightly longer in the syndrome than normal. If the patient does not receive CTP or defibrillation he/she will die within minutes. The patient may experience skipped heartbeats or bradycardia . the ventricle will contract more than 200 times a minute. • Ventricular fibrillation . In severe cases the heart rhythm may become so chaotic that it causes sudden death. The block may be along the other pathways to each ventricle. uncoordinated heartbeats. uncoordinated fluttering contractions of the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart). Some people inherit a faulty gene which increases their risk of developing Long QT syndrome.abnormal electrical impulses that start in the ventricles cause abnormally fast heart beating. If the signal is totally blocked. the heart will have a scar from a previous heart attack.this occurs in the ventricles and comes before the ventricles have had time to fill with blood after a regular heartbeat. and be in the best of health. the patient will feel he/she has skipped a heartbeat. However.a problem with the sinus node of the heart. In most cases the occasional premature .a heart rhythm disorder that may sometimes cause rapid. The majority of patients lose consciousness fairly quickly and require emergency medical assistance. o Sustained VT . However. including the brain. of their essential blood supply. The electrical impulses between the upper and lower halves of the heart may be slowed or blocked. The sinus node is the heart's natural pacemaker. The ventricles do not pump blood properly (they quiver uselessly instead). • Long QT syndrome .sometimes there are no symptoms at all. strong heart may have a low resting heart rate.irregular heart rhythm consisting of very rapid. If it does not function properly the patient's resting heart rate may be abnormally low (bradycardia). Ventricular fibrillation is usually associated with some kind of heart disease. some cells in the atrioventricular node or ventricles can make a steady but slower heartbeat.• Ventricular tachycardia . Ventricular fibrillation is often triggered by a heart attack. Premature heartbeats . lower than 60 beats per second. Patients who receive CPR until their heart can be shocked back into a normal rhythm with a defibrillator have much better survival rates.a block of the electrical pathways of the heart. which forces the electrical signal to travel around it. Ventricular tachycardia (VT) affects people with heart-related problems. sick sinus may be caused by scarring near the sinus node which undermines the movement of electrical impulses. Bradycardia (heart beats abnormally slowly) A slow heartbeat (under 60 beats per minute) does not necessarily mean there is a problem. If the sinus node functions properly. Typically. examples include: • Sick sinus . such as scars or ventricle muscle damage caused by artery disease or a heart attack. This can occur in or close to the atrioventricular node. depriving vital organs. Blood pressure drops dramatically. which may be life-threatening. A physically fit person with a healthy. There are two types of VT: o Unsustained VT . Usually. located on the pathway between the atria and the ventricles. this depends on the type of block and where it is. Bradycardia is a problem if the heart is faulty and does not pump enough blood. The name of the syndrome comes from the QT segment in the tracing on the electrocardiogram. A significant number of medications may also cause Long QT syndrome.

and some other stimulants. especially ventricular fibrillation. those who have had a heart attack. • Uncontrolled diabetes .these will check the patient's blood count and liver. The test may also reveal any damage to the heart from a heart attack.the electrical impulses in the heart may be affected. cancer. • Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism . Electrodes are attached to the patient's skin and impulses are recorded as waves and displayed on a screen (or printed on paper).this affects the conduction of electrical impulses. • Heavy and regular alcohol consumption . previous heart surgery.people who regularly consume large quantities of alcohol are much more likely to develop atrial fibrillation.a patient with uncontrolled diabetes is significantly more likely to develop arrhythmia compared to a patient who has his diabetes under control (receives proper treatment).people with heart problems.either too low or too high .some prescription medications.the heart inevitably weakens as we get old and loses some of its flexibility .this device records the electrical activity and rhythms of the patient's heart. are more likely to develop arrhythmia.obesity is linked to a huge number of health problems.people with a thyroid gland problem are more likely to develop arrhythmia.beat is nothing to worry about. • Medications . such as cough and cold drugs containing pseudoephedrine may help in the development of arrhythmia.people with high blood pressure are much more likely to develop coronary artery disease and other heart problems which result in the improper conduction of electrical impulses. • An ECG (electrocardiogram) . lifestyle. may accelerate the heart rate and eventually cause arrhythmias. including diabetes type 2. If electrolyte levels are wrong . and arrhythmia. The following tests may be ordered: • Blood and urine tests . • Electrolyte imbalances .patients with obstructive sleep apnea may experience bradycardia or atrial fibrillation more commonly than other people.this hormone is secreted at high levels by the heart if it is injured or overburdened. narrowed arteries.amphetamines and cocaine can cause arrhythmias.this is especially the case if the patient has heart disease. • Obesity . • Illegal drugs .electrolytes are essential for the proper conduction of electricity between cells and through cells. a GP (general practitioner) or cardiologist (a specialist in heart and cardiovascular diseases and conditions) will try to find out what triggers the patient's arrhythmia. thyroid. as well as OTC drugs. What are the risk factors for arrhythmia? • Old age . resulting in arrhythmia. This will involve a detailed interview which includes the patient's medical history. cardiovascular disease. such as BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) . and cardiomyopathy. • Heart problems . . • Obstructive sleep apnea . • Too much caffeine . diet.caffeine. • Hypertension . etc. family history. • Inherited gene defects . How is arrhythmia diagnosed? The doctor. heart valves that do not function properly. but is first identified in the brain. and kidney function. However. heart disease.people who are born with a heart abnormality have a higher risk of developing arrhythmia. The doctor may also want to check the blood for specific chemical markers of heart failure. it can trigger a longer-lasting arrhythmia . Serum electrolytes may also be tested to evaluate sodium and potassium levels.

sometimes as long as a month (it must be taken off when showering or having a bath). etc. but it does not record all the heartbeats. heart rhythm and heart rate while he/she is moved from a lying down to an upright position. • An echocardiogram . • Tilt-table test . Other conditions that may explain the signs and symptoms might also be detected. A catheter is inserted through the introducer sheath and is threaded up the blood vessel.this is to make sure the brain gets an adequate supply of blood. and which normal conduction pathways they bypass. This monitors the patient's blood pressure. The test is carried out in an EP lab by an electrophysiologist. and the insertion site is closed up either by applying pressure to the site or with stitches. nonsurgical test and can help determine the type of arrhythmia. A healthy heart pumps out approximately 60% of the blood that fills the ventricle with each beat .this measurement is call the ejection fraction. • Chest X-ray . There are two types: 1. A healthy patient's reflexes cause the heart rate and blood pressure to change when moved to an upright position . o The electrophysiologist can see the catheter moving up the body on a monitor.This is an invasive. An ejection fraction is a crucial measurement which determines how well the heart is pumping. o When it is inside the heart the catheter stimulates the heart and records where abnormal impulses start.This machine is similar to a Holter monitor. During an EP study: The patient is given a local anesthetic. its origin. The other is worn all the time for a long time.The images help the doctor check the state of the patient's heart and lungs.If the patient experiences fainting spells. 2. A chest X-ray may also help a doctor determine whether the patient has any congenital heart defects. relatively painless. they could explain the fainting spells. and makes it possible to reproduce troubling arrhythmias in a controlled setting. and potential response to treatment. • Electrophysiologic testing (or EP studies) . It has a button which can be pressed if symptoms are felt . This test also helps distinguish systolic heart failure from diastolic heart failure (the heart is stiff and does not fill properly).then the doctor can see what heart rhythms were present at that moment. This device is good for diagnosing rhythm disturbances that happen at random moments. which helps the doctor see how well the heart is pumping.• A Holter monitor . If the reflexes are inadequate. o o o What are the treatment options for arrhythmia? Treatment for arrhythmia is only required if it is putting the patient at risk of a more serious arrhythmia or a complication. • Event recorder (event monitor) .this is an ultrasound scan that checks the pumping action of the patient's heart. o Treatments can be given to find out whether they stop the arrhythmia. and neither the ECG nor the Holter revealed any arrhythmias. their speed. o The catheter and introducer sheaths are then removed. The doctor measures the percentage of blood pumped out of the patient's left ventricle (the main pumping chamber) with each heartbeat . dizziness or lightheadedness. through the body and into the right chambers of the heart.the patient wears a portable device which records all his/her heartbeats. One uses a phone to transmit signals from the recorder while the patient is experiencing symptoms. It is worn under the clothing and records information about the electrical activity of the heart while the patient goes about his/her normal activities for one or two days. . Sound waves are used to create a video image of the patient's heart. a tilt-table test may be performed.a healthy heart has an ejection factor of 60%. After an initial puncture an introducer sheath is inserted into a blood vessel.

The ICD monitors the heart rhythm and paces the heart. or submerging the face in ice-cold water. • Ablation therapy . such as an underactive thyroid gland. the patient is usually given a drug to relax. If no underlying problem is found.certain maneuvers the patient can do himself/herself may stop an arrhythmia that starts above the lower half of the heart (SVY).Treatment for bradycardias (heartbeat is too slow) If the bradycardia is caused by an underlying problem. • Ventricular aneurysm surgery .if the tachycardia starts in the atria (top half of the heart) and includes atrial fibrillation. A small spot of heart tissue is destroyed (ablated). • Coronary bypass surgery . but are usually effective in reducing episodes of tachycardia as well as slowing the heart rate down when they occur. .electrode-tipped wires go from the ICD. creating an electrical block along the pathway that is causing the arrhythmia. A pacemaker is a small device that is placed under the skin of the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. a surgeon may remove the aneurysm.it is sometimes used if the implanted ICD or catheter ablation did not work.ablation means "taking the disease away". In some cases. Electrodes at the ends of the catheter are heated. nurse or a specialized physical therapist may suggest other maneuvers. if the medications slow the heart down too much the patient may need to have a pacemaker. Maze procedures have a good success rate. These maneuvers affect the vagal nerves and often cause the heart rate to slow down. The doctor.a series of surgical incisions are made in the atria (upper half of the heart). • Maze procedure .this is called cardioversion.this device replaces the job of the atrioventricular node. Arteries or veins from elsewhere in the patient's body are grafted to the coronary arteries to bypass atherosclerotic narrowings and improve the blood supply to the coronary circulation supplying the heart muscle (myocardium). the doctor may use an electric shock to reset the heart to its regular rhythm . the doctor may advise implanting a pacemaker. This surgical procedure has a good success rate . just like a pacemaker as soon as it detects an abnormally slow rhythm. They then heal into scars in the atria that form boundaries that make the electrical impulses travel properly so that the heart beats efficiently. One or more catheters go through blood vessels into the inner heart. This may involve the patient holding his/her breath and straining.a patient with frequent ventricular tachycardia who also has severe coronary artery disease may be advised to undergo coronary bypass surgery. The device is implanted near the left collarbone . • Cardioversion . to the heart.if the patient is at high risk of developing a very fast or quivering (fibrillating) heartbeat in the ventricles. Anti-arrhythmic medications need to be taken correctly for best results and to avoid complications. • ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) . coughing. or a drug side effect.these will not cure the patient. They are placed in areas of the heart that are thought to be the sources of the arrhythmia. The procedure is painless. Sometimes the tips are cooled down and the problem tissue is frozen. Experts say that an ICD is better at significantly reducing the risk of a fatal arrhythmia than medications. Treatment for tachycardias (heartbeat is too fast) • Vagal maneuvers . it uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate. There are also ICDs for atrial fibrillation (quivering in the upper half of the heart). It is carried out externally. through veins. that problem needs to be treated first. Pacemaker .if an aneurysm (bulge) in a blood vessel that leads to the heart is causing the arrhythmia and other treatments did not work. • Medications . an ICD may be implanted. This is open-heart surgery and is usually used for patients who have not responded well enough to other treatments.

• Alzheimer's disease . This can cause blood to collect in pools where clots can form. • Heart failure . If one of the clots dislodges it can make its way to a brain artery.What are the complications of arrhythmia? • Stroke . blocking it and causing a stroke. Written by: Christian Nordqvist .this is heart failure.There is a clear link between atrial fibrillation and the development of Alzheimer's disease. according to researchers at Researchers at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Stroke can cause brain damage and can also be fatal.fibrillation (quivering) means the heart is not pumping properly. Treatment can usually help improve this.prolonged tachycardia or bradycardia can result in the heart not pumping enough blood to the body and its organs .

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