Abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias, are disturbances in the regular rhythm of the heart. Rhythms can become too fast, too slow or irregular. Problems with the heart rhythm, or electrical functioning of the heart, can produce symptoms of palpitations (pounding in the chest), fatigue, dizziness, fainting, chest pain or shortness of breath. While some arrhythmias are considered harmless, others can be life-threatening and lead to cardiac arrest if they are not diagnosed and treated.
- Tachycardia is a fast heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute.
- Bradycardia is a heart rate that is too slow; generally less than 40 to 50 beats per minute. Bradycardia is often corrected by implanting a pacemaker.
- Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm condition. AF causes the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to beat fast and irregular, triggering the atria to quiver.
- Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening condition in which the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles) quiver, preventing the heart from pumping blood to the body.
- Heart block is an impairment of the transmission of electrical signals from the heart’s upper chambers to its lower chambers.
- Heart rhythm disorder treatment options