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Arrhythmia

An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. Some arrhythmias can cause problems with contractions of your heart chambers by:

  • Not allowing the ventricles (lower chambers) to fill with an adequate amount of blood, because an abnormal electrical signal is causing your heart to pump too fast or too slow.
  • Not allowing a sufficient amount of blood to be pumped out to your body, because an abnormal electrical signal is causing your heart to pump too slowly or too irregularly.
  • Not allowing the top chambers to work properly.

An arrhythmia can occur in the sinus node, the atria, or the atrioventricular node. These are supraventricular arrhythmias. A ventricular arrhythmia is caused by an abnormal electrical focus within your ventricles. This results in abnormal conduction of electrical signals within your ventricles. Arrhythmias can also be classified as slow (bradyarrhythmia) or fast (tachyarrhythmia). "Brady-" means slow, while "tachy-" means fast.

In any of these situations, your body's vital organs may not receive enough blood to meet their needs.

Some arrhythmias may cause few, if any, problems. In this case, you may not need treatment. When the arrhythmia causes symptoms, you have several different choices for treatment, from medication to ablation. Your healthcare provider will choose an arrhythmia treatment based on the type of arrhythmia you have, how severe your symptoms are, and whether you have other conditions such as diabetes, kidney failure, or heart failure. These can affect the course of the treatment.

See our A-fib Treatment Page for More Information

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