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Heart Arrhythmia

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Winnie Situ

on 13 October 2014

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Transcript of Heart Arrhythmia

A fluttering in your chest
A racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
A slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
Chest pain/discomfort
Shortness of breath/wheezing
Fainting or near fainting

Sometimes unnecessary depending on the risks and severity of the arrhythmia.
If possible, the cause of it is reversed (i.e. Getting off a diet) .
Medications are unreliable.
: Implanted near the collarbone and has electrolyte tipped wires going into the heart. Electrical impulses can be sent to stimulate the heart if the heart beat gets too slow or stops. Fairly effective in preventing arrhythmia in the long run. However, single chamber pacemakers are capable of causing
pacemaker syndrome
. This can be treated by replacing it with a dual-chamber pacemaker. Cost (including replacements/complications) generally ranges from £7400 to £6700
Result of Arrhythmia
: Diseases in which cardiac muscle becoming enlarged, thick or rigid.
: Overactive thyroid gland.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
: Disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep.
: A long, hollow, thin, flexible tubes that are inserted into blood vessels in order to treat diseases.
Pacemaker Syndrome
: When a single chambered pacemaker cause the lower chambers of the heart to contract before the upper ones.
: When a new type of arrhythmia arises or the current type occurs more often.
Cardiac arrest
: When the heart suddenly stops beating.
Implanted cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)
: Similar to a pacemaker, an ICD is also capable of sending out a shock to the heart, making it reset.
Heart Arrhythmia
Risk Factors
• Heart problems and previous heart surgery.
• High blood pressure, diabetes
• Thyroid problems: Thyroid gland may cause faster or slower metabolism.
• Drugs and supplements

Obstructive sleep apnea
• Electrolyte imbalance: Normally, electrolytes help trigger and conduct electrical impulses in the heart.
• Drinking too much alcohol affects the heart’s electrical impulses.
• Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants make the heart beat faster. Also, illegal drugs greatly affect the heartbeat.

Noninvasive Methods:
Electrocardiogram (ECG)
: Electrodes are attached to the chest and sometimes the limbs and records the heart's electrical impulses as well as the timing/duration. Only works if patient is having an arrhythmia at the time though. No risks.
Holter monitor
: a portable ECG that can be worn for over a day. More likely to diagnose the arrhythmia due to longer period of time. No risks.
Event monitor
: A portable EGC device is kept at home and attached when you experience sporadic arrhythmia symptoms. Effective because results are often guaranteed. No risks.
: A small transducer placed on the chest creates images of the heart’s size, structure, and motion using sound waves. Provides a lot of information allowing for a better diagnosis. No risks.
What is Heart Arrhythmia?
A category of heart diseases that involve the circulatory and nervous system. They are unable to work together in the heart properly
It occurs when the the electric impulses that regulate your heart beats malfunction causing your heart to beat too fast, slow, or irregularly.
May be caused by blocks in the cardiac muscle tissue or if the nerve cells that produce the impulses aren't working properly or if another part of the heart is sending out electrical signals as well, disrupting the normal signals.
It is often harmless but if symptoms continue, it can become very annoying or even life-threatening.
Types of Heart Arrhythmia
By Winnie Situ
Table of Contents
What is Heart Arrhythmia?
Types of Heart Arrhythmia
Risk Factors
After Detection or Treatment
Result of Arrhythmia
Diagnosis Cont.
Stress test
: Similar to an ECG while you are exercising. The doctor may use a drug that stimulates the heart if you are unable to exercise. This induces an arrhythmia which they can record. Likely to get results.
Tilt table test
: You lie on a flat table which is then tilted up as if you were standing, all the while having your heart rate and blood pressure monitored. Recommended if you often have fainting spells because it confirms that low blood pressure is causing them.
Diagnosis Cont.
Invasive Method:
Electrophysiological testing and mapping
: Catheters tipped with electrodes are guided through your blood vessels into certain areas of your heart where they then map the electrical impulses. The catheters are also capable of making your heart beat at certain rates that can trigger or stop the arrhythmia, allowing the doctor to better diagnose the sickness. However, there is a slight risk of the catheters damaging blood vessels during insertion.
Treatment Cont.
Tachycardia and Premature Heartbeats
Vagal maneuvers
: Affects the vagal nerves which control your heart beat, usually slowing it down. These actions include holding your breath and straining, dunking face into ice water, and coughing. Effective depending on the type of tachycardia and the patient's age and other illnesses with no side effects if done correctly. No cost.
: Reduce tachycardia episodes or slow down the heartbeat during an episode. Some blood thinning medication may be taken as well to prevent blood clots from forming. However, this may cause excessive bleeding. Also, medication must be taken daily for an unmeasurable period of time and there may be side affects such as
. As a result, doctors are slowly abandoning this method.
Treatment Cont.
Tachycardia Cont.
Ablation therapy
: Catheters with extremely hot or cold tips are threaded through blood vessels into the heart and used to destroy a small spot that is along the pathway of the arrhythmia. Generally safe, there are some rare risks such as damage to the heart valves or coronary arteries and blood clots. It is very cost effective ($18 300 to $22 600) and effective in general according to the UCSF Medical Center.
Maze procedure
: Surgical incisions are made in the atria, later healing to form scars that block and redirect the irregular electrical impulses. Potential risks are piercing the esophagus, fluid retention, etc. although these risks have been less than 1%. While effective, surgery is usually a last resort for doctors due to how invasive it is and the many risks that come with it. Recovering can be a hassle too and prices/waiting lists are high.
Household Cures
• Eating heart-healthy foods
• Increasing amount of exercise

• Reduced caffeine and alcohol intake
• Learn to manage and reduce stress
• Avoiding stimulant medications (i.e. over the counter medication for colds and nasal congestion)
• Omega-3 fatty acids (mainly found in fish) may also help (currently being researched).
Sometimes arrhythmia can lead to horrible complications or even death.

: A weakened heart may cause blood pools, leading to blood clots. These clots may break loose and block a brain artery, resulting in brain damage or death.Medication can help prevent clots
Heart failure
: The heart won't function well if it has been pumping ineffectively for a long period of time.
Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight
Eat a healthy, low-fat/sodium diet consisting of mainly vegetables, fruits, and vitamin-rich foods
smoking (first hand and second hand)
Avoid or limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and other substances (drugs) that may contribute to abnormal heart rhythms or heart disease (stimulants).
Avoid, manage and reduce stress
Have regular physical exams/check-ups and tell your doctor right away about any unusual symptoms you have.
• Current heart attacks or scarring of cardiac tissue from previous heart attacks.
• Changes in your heart's structure (i.e. from
• Blocked arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease)
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes

• Smoking
• Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
• Drug abuse
• Stress
• Medications
• Dietary supplements and herbal treatments
• Electrical shock
• Air pollution

Affect on lifestyle:
Unable to exercise as well. Movement may be difficult at times due to weakness.
Possibility of fainting/dizziness means less walking and driving. Likely more resting.
After Detection or Treatment
Regular check-ups with your doctor.
For medication: Take daily as prescribed.
For pacemaker: Never use a cellphone on the same side as the pacemaker and do not put it on the chest. No MRI's. Avoid strong electric or magnetic fields.
After invasive procedures, some heart arrhythmia should be expected in the following months and medication is often taken to reduce the arrhythmia and allow for a safe and smooth recovery.
ALWAYS follow the instructions given by your doctor after a procedure.
Majority of heart arrhythmia is harmless or minor and can be easily treated. Therefore the success rate is incredibly high.
However, there are cases where a benign arrhythmia later led to a more severe one.
Out of the 5 million people in America that have severe arrhythmia, 4 million of them have ones that recur at least once.
Premature Heart Beats
Excellent prognosis. Usually goes away when the cause of it has been eliminated.
In rare cases, the premature beats indicate a more severe heart disease. Often, medications or ablation is used to treat it (See medication and ablation therapy in
Excellent prognosis. Usually goes away when the cause of it has been eliminated.
If an underlying disease is discovered, a pacemaker is usually used with great results (see pacemaker in
Supraventricular Arrhythmia
Excellent prognosis. Usually goes away when the cause of it has been eliminated.
Often treated with catheter ablation if severe (see ablation therapy in
It is noted that after treatment, 70% of enfants under age 1 that were diagosed do not relapse.
Ventricular Arrhythmia
Very poor prognosis. Without immediate medical care, the person usually goes into
cardiac arrest
and dies.
Previously, 85% of people with severe ventricular arrhythmia die within one year if untreated. Medical advances are greatly inproving the chances
implanted cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)
may save them.
Premature Heartbeats
: When a heartbeat happens earlier than normal. It feels like a fluttering in the chest and is usually harmless. I.e. Premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) etc.
: Fast heartbeat of over 100 beats/min at rest.
Supraventricular arrhythmia
: Fast heartbeats that begin in the atria. I.e. atrial fibrillation (AF), atrial flutter, etc.
Ventricular arrhythmia
: Fast heartbeats that begin in the ventricles. Generally more harmful than other types of arrhythmia. I.e. ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation etc.
: Slow heartbeat of less than 60 beats/min at rest. I.e. Sinus pause, sick sinus syndrome, etc.

: Some athletes have resting heart rates of less than 60 beats/min because they have healthy hearts, NOT because they have bradycardia.
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: Bolded words are within the glossary
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