The heart relies on an electrical signal generated from its own “pacemaker”, the sinoatrial node, and conducted through the right atrium to the “gatekeeper”, the atrioventricular node, which slows the impulse to allow the heart to fill with blood prior to each contraction. The signal then travels down to the bottom chambers of the heart and spreads leftward and rightward simultaneously. Arrhythmias occur when the electrical signal is disrupted, causing the heart to beat very fast, slow, or erratically.
Several triggering factors include:
Rapid pounding sensation in the chest, skipped beats, heart fluttering, lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating.
Arrhythmias are most commonly diagnosed with a stethoscope and electrocardiogram at the time of symptoms. If symptoms are not currently present upon presentation to a medical professional, other tests may include:
Treatment options vary on the severity, persistence, and type of arrhythmia present. Milder forms may require monitoring or medications only. Severe forms may require: