The occurrence of irregular heartbeat is called Cardiac Arrhythmia. This is a serious condition that can however be treated. When the electrical impulses in the heart, that actually coordinate the heartbeats, cease to function properly, the heart starts beating too fast, too slow or irregularly. This is called a cardiac arrhythmia.
Types of Arrhythmias: The types of arrhythmia include Paroxysmal Supra-Ventricular Tachycardia [PSVT], Atrial flutter, Atrial Fibrillation, Ventricular Tachycardia, Ventricular Fibrillation.
Causes of Arrhythmias: Some of the common causes for Cardiac arrhythmia are: Hypertension, Ischemic heart disease, Valvular heart disease, Cardiomyopathies, Sinus node disease, Tumors, Pericarditis, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Thyroid Disease, Alcohol abuse, Vagal stimulation, Smoking, stressful modern life styles etc.
Diagnosis: Doctors diagnose arrhythmias by ordering specific tests, depending on the type of the arrhythmia that is suspected. The doctor may also order:
- Electrocardiogram / Echocardiogram.
- 24 hour electrocardiogram using a device called Holter monitor.
- Electrophysiology Studies (EP Diagnostic Studies). These help to locate the origin of the rhythm disorder better and determine the best treatment.
Treatment of arrhythmia: Arrhythmia treatments are multipronged. They could include medication, medical procedures, and surgery. Treatment is required for cardiac arrhythmias only if the arrhythmia causes serious symptoms, such as dizziness, chest pain, or fainting or if it increases risk for heart failure, stroke or sudden cardiac arrest.