You may not even notice your own heartbeat until its rhythm changes. Arrhythmias are a common condition that can affect anyone, and the team of experienced cardiologists at Advanced Heart Care is well-equipped to ensure nothing more serious is going on. At both the Fairview Heights and Belleville, Illinois, locations, you can rely on the knowledgeable physicians for comprehensive, in-office heart testing. Find out more about the treatment and prevention of arrhythmias by scheduling an appointment online or by phone today.
Arrhythmias Q & A
What is an arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia is any change in the electrical impulses within your heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. In some cases, your heart can beat too fast (tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia), or beat unpredictably.
The most common type of arrhythmia is known as atrial fibrillation, which causes an irregular and fast heartbeat.
Due to an irregular heartbeat, your heart can’t sufficiently pump blood to the rest of your body. If left untreated, an arrhythmia can lead to damage in your other organs, which can eventually cause organ failure.
What causes an arrhythmia?
Several factors can influence the rhythm of your heart, such as a previous heart attack or existing heart defects or disease.
Other common causes of arrhythmias include:
- Hormone imbalance
Certain medications can also affect your heartbeat and trigger an arrhythmia
What are the symptoms of an arrhythmia?
Often, those with an arrhythmia can feel their heart skip a beat or beat rapidly. In some cases, this is your body’s natural reaction to stressful or emotional stimuli. However, if you have ongoing occurrences of these issues, schedule an evaluation at Advanced Heart Care.
Other possible side effects of an arrhythmia include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Feeling lightheaded and passing out are also common with an arrhythmia.
How is an arrhythmia diagnosed?
Your Advanced Heart Care physician reviews your medical history and your symptoms before recommending heart tests. An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a common diagnostic test for arrhythmias as it monitors your heartbeat.
To better evaluate your heart activity over a longer period of time, you may need to wear a Holter monitor, which collects information about your heart rhythm over the course of a few days.
What treatments are available for an arrhythmia?
Treatment for an arrhythmia depends on the type and severity of your condition. For a mild arrhythmia, you may not need any treatment.
For recurrent or serious arrhythmias, your Advanced Heart Care physician may recommend medication to prevent blood clots that can lead to a stroke. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to place a pacemaker, an electronic device that helps maintain a normal heartbeat.
A cardiac ablation to remove heart tissue that’s causing an arrhythmia may also be a surgical option to restore a regular heart rhythm.
If you have concerns about a racing heartbeat or notice your heart skipping a beat, don’t delay a consultation. You can schedule an appointment with the specialists at Advanced Heart Care online or by phone today.