Arrhythmias are abnormal rhythms of the heart than can cause the heart to pump less effectively.
- when the heart’s natural pacemaker develops an abnormal rate or rhythm
- when the normal conduction path is interrupted
- when another part of the heart takes over as pacemaker.
These problems can produce a heartbeat that is too slow or too fast.
- fainting spells
- palpitations or rapid heart action
When rapid heartbeating arises from the ventricles, a life-threatening situation can arise. Sometimes blood clots can form during atrial fibrillation, where the two small upper chambers of the heart, the atria, quiver instead of beating effectively. If a piece of the blood clot in the atria becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke (brain attack) results.
Most of these symptoms can be corrected with an electronic pacemaker. Pacemakers are battery-operated devices that help your heart beat in a regular rhythm. Some are permanent, installed internally, and some are temporary, installed externally. Most have a sensing device that turns itself off when your heartbeat is above a certain level.
Many of the inconveniences associated with early pacemakers have decreased, and most people feel that their quality of life is much better with a pacemaker. Less invasive procedures are available to install them, and the technology used in pacemakers has dramatically improved. Your doctor can discuss the different types of pacemakers and the responsibilities associated with them.
Need A Physician?
Many patients currently suffering from arrhythmia are not under the care of a cardiologist. If you have questions about arrhythmia, or feel that you may have a heart condition, consult your primary care physician. If necessary, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist.
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