Arrhythmia? Here’s What to Know

Red heart and cardiogram isolated on white

(DGIwire) – In adults, a normal resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats a minute, according to the Mayo Clinic. When the heart beats irregularly—whether too fast or too slow—a person is experiencing an arrhythmia. There are numerous types of arrhythmias, each with their own potential causes. Here are a few very basic questions and answers to keep in mind:

  • What are the symptoms of an arrhythmia? Noticeable symptoms may include a fluttering in the chest, a racing heartbeat or a slow heartbeat, the Mayo Clinic reports. Other symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, sweating or fainting.
  • What are the main types of arrhythmias? According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), there are four main types: premature (extra) beats; supraventricular arrhythmias; ventricular arrhythmias; and bradyarrhythmias.
  • What causes arrhythmias? An arrhythmia can occur if the electrical signals that control the heartbeat are delayed or blocked, the NHLBI reports. This can happen if the special nerve cells that produce electrical signals don’t work properly or if the signals don’t travel normally through the heart.
  • Are there specific risk factors for arrhythmias? Yes. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include coronary artery disease; high blood pressure; congenital heart disease; thyroid problems; diabetes; obstructive sleep apnea; alcohol abuse; and electrolyte imbalance.
  • What advances have been made in detecting arrhythmias? While the traditional Holter monitor is still standard, new technology has widened the options. Be sure to ask your doctor what options are available

While other devices offer combinations of these tests, not all offer all three in a single device that is leadless and wireless. Plus there is the added advantage of real-time streaming of all ECG data for medical professionals. And patients can even go swimming with it. Ultimately, the design of the device may help to improve patient compliance, leading to a higher diagnostic yield. According to a study published in Current Cardiology Reviews, traditional Holter monitoring only yields 6.2 percent compliance.

Arrhythmia is a sign of a potentially serious problem with the heart. Being able to convey to doctors the most comprehensive set of data regarding how a heart is beating could help ensure that a patient receives the most timely care.”