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Exploring Types of Arrhythmia: Understanding Heart Rhythm Disorders Exploring Types of Arrhythmia: Understanding Heart Rhythm Disorders

Exploring Types of Arrhythmia: Understanding Heart Rhythm Disorders

Artemis Hospital

March 01, 2024 |
Exploring Types of Arrhythmia: Understanding Heart Rhythm Disorders 9 Min Read | 313

An arrhythmia is an abnormal deviation from the heart's normal rhythm, which can manifest as skipped beats, tachycardia (rapid heartbeats), bradycardia (slow heartbeats), irregular heartbeats. Significant progress has been made in the past few years in comprehending the electrophysiologic mechanisms that give rise to different types of cardiac arrhythmias. There are two main categories into which the mechanisms causing cardiac arrhythmias fall which include abnormal or enhanced impulse formation and conduction disturbances.

Coordinated ion channel and transporter activity is necessary for the well-ordered propagation of electrical impulses across the heart muscle for the maintenance of a normal heart functioning. Interruptions to this well-organized process result in heart arrhythmias, which in certain cases can be fatal. The presence of structural heart disease resulting from myocardial infarction (due to fibrotic scar formation) or left ventricular dysfunction significantly increases the risk of common acquired arrhythmias.

Although it is more commonly observed in relation to mitral valve disease, heart failure, ischemic heart disease, and hypertension, it can occur in the absence of underlying heart disease also. The main objective of treatment is to prolong survival, reduce the incidence of stroke, restore atrial functions, reverse heart structure deformation, and improve symptoms. Early manifestations of atrial fibrillation can be controlled with medical treatment. Lets know more about this disease.

What is Arrhythmia?

A dysrhythmia, also known as an arrhythmia, is an irregular heartbeat. Arrhythmias can begin in any area of the heart and can manifest as irregular, too fast, or too slow. Your heart beats in a regular, rhythmic manner when it is healthy. The regular rhythm of your heart can be impacted by problems with different cardiac components or even the blood your heart pumps. It is important to have a normal heart rhythm because the blood your heart pumps provides oxygen and nutrients to every part of your body.

Certain arrhythmias are not harmful and don't need to be treated. However, heart arrest can be a risk factor for others. Between these two extremes there are many types of arrhythmias. A medical professional can identify the type of arrhythmia you have and, if any, recommend a course of treatment.

What are the Types of Arrhythmia?

Two primary types of arrhythmia are:

  • Tachycardia or fast heart beat
  • Bradycardia or slow heartbeat

Tachycardia is of following types:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib): This condition involves chaotic heart signaling, resulting in a rapid, uncoordinated heartbeat. While AFib episodes may be temporary and self-limiting, some require medical intervention to cease. AFib has been associated with an increased risk of stroke.
  • Atrial flutter: Similar to AFib, atrial flutter features more organized heartbeats, though they remain rapid. Like AFib, atrial flutter is also correlated with an elevated stroke risk.
  • Paroxysmal Supraventricular tachycardia: This is irregular heartbeat originating above the lower heart chambers and manifests as sudden episodes of rapid heartbeat.
  • Vi-Fib or Ventricular fibrillation: In this critical condition, rapid and disorganized electrical signals cause the lower heart chambers to quiver rather than contract synchronously. Without prompt restoration of a regular heart rhythm, ventricular fibrillation can lead to death.
  • V Tach or Ventricular tachycardia (VT): Marked by a rapid and irregular heart rate because of faulty electrical signals in the lower heart chambers, ventricular tachycardia impairs proper blood filling in the ventricles, potentially reducing the hearts ability to pump blood adequately.

Bradycardia exists in following forms:

Sinus Node Dysfunction (SND) or Sick Sinus Syndrome: The sinus node regulates the heart's rhythm. An irregular node can cause the heart rate to fluctuate between being too fast and too slow. Scarring close to the sinus node can slow, interfere with, or obstruct heartbeat signals, which can result in sick sinus syndrome. Older adults are most commonly affected by the condition.

Atrioventricular (AV) block or Conduction block: A blockage in the heart's electrical pathways can hinder or stop the signals that start heartbeats from being transmitted. Certain blocks might not cause any symptoms, but others might show up as slowed heartbeats or skipped beats.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Arrhythmia?

Heart arrhythmia may manifest as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

Causes of Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia may occur due to following conditions:

  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Genetic causes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Valvular disorders
  • Electrolyte imbalances in blood
  • Heart injury from a heart attack
  • Healing of cardiac surgery

Treatment Options for Arrhythmia

Treatment depends on the type and severity of your arrhythmia. In some cases, no treatment is necessary. Heart arrhythmia treatment options include:

  • Medications
  • Lifestyle modification
  • Therapies like cardioversion, catheter ablation, pulmonary vein isolation
  • Devices like permanent pacemaker, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), biventricular (B-V) pacemakers and defibrillators (also called cardiac resynchronization therapy or CRT)
  • Surgery such as coronary artery bypass surgery, maze procedure

When to See the Doctor?

Schedule a health examination if you feel that your heart is beating too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly. You can be advised to see a cardiologist, a medical professional with expertise in heart conditions. If you experience any of the following heart symptoms, get emergency care:

  • Sudden chest pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Fainting

Ventricular fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that can cause a sharp decrease in blood pressure. This can quickly result in the person failing to the ground; this is also known as a collapse. The persons pulse and breathing will soon stop. Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency that requires urgent attention. It is the most common reason for unexpected cardiac death.

Take these actions if this occurs:

  • Call for a medical help immediately
  • Perform hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if no one else is nearby who is trained in this technique. Apply fast force at the middle of the chest. Prior to medical assistance arriving, perform 100–120 compressions per minute.
  • Until an automated external defibrillator (AED) can be used to administer an electrical shock, CPR helps maintain blood flow to the organs. An AED is a machine that shocks the heart into restarting itself.
  • Have someone get the AED and follow the instructions if one is available nearby. To use it, no training is necessary. The gadget provides instructions. It is designed to only permit a shock when necessary.

Conclusion

Its critical that you visit your doctor if you experience symptoms such as intense exhaustion or palpitations. The best course of action for you will be determined in consultation with your provider, but you can also take care of yourself by changing your lifestyle as needed.

Take control of your heart health now and get expert advice right now.

FAQs

Q1: What is the most dangerous Arrhythmia?

A: Ventricular fibrillation is the most serious arrhythmia; it is characterized by an unsteady, uncontrollable pulse. You might experience multiple impulses that start at the same time from different locations.

Q2: Is Arrhythmia curable?

A: Yes, arrhythmia is curable if treated timely. Medications, heart surgery to implant pacemaker devices, and other procedures to address electrical signal issues in the heart are common treatments for arrhythmias.

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