An arrhythmia is any kind of irregular heartbeat. If you have an arrhythmia, your heart might beat too fast, too slow or in an erratic pattern.
For many people, arrhythmias are harmless. Sometimes, though, an arrhythmia makes the heart unable to pump blood effectively. The condition may prevent enough blood and oxygen from reaching the brain, heart and other organs – and can cause serious, life-threatening conditions.
The good news is that we can successfully treat even serious arrhythmias. In fact, Aurora Health Care is Wisconsin’s leader in understanding and correcting abnormal heart rhythms. That means that with treatment, chances are excellent that you’ll live an active, healthy life.
After a complete medical examination, we will identify your specific type of arrhythmia and its causes. Then, we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan to control your heartbeat.
Doctors describe arrhythmias by their speed and location in the heart. Arrhythmias prevent enough blood from reaching your brain and other parts of the body. Without enough blood flow to the brain, you can become confused, dizzy, disoriented and even pass out.
Ventricular arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats that start in the ventricles. Some ventricular arrhythmias are very dangerous and can cause sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) or sudden cardiac death (SCD).
Types of ventricular arrhythmias include:
Supraventricular arrhythmias are tachycardias, rapid heartbeats that begin in the atria. The types include:
The fluttering or pounding sensation of an irregular heartbeat can be stressful. Everybody feels an abnormal heart rhythm once in a while. But if it happens often or for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of arrhythmia.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should call your doctor or 911:
An arrhythmia happens because of a problem with the heart's electrical system.
Causes of arrhythmia include:
Causes of ventricular arrhythmia include:
If arrhythmia isn’t treated, it can create health problems over time, such as:
Sometimes, people feel arrhythmia as a fluttering sensation in the chest. Other times, your doctor might detect an arrhythmia in test results or when listening to your heartbeat.
To confirm an arrhythmia diagnosis, we will perform a physical exam. We may order additional tests, if necessary, including:
Learn more about heart and vascular diagnosis and testing at Aurora.
Treating underlying conditions is often an important first step in arrhythmia management.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help regulate your heartbeat. We also may recommend treatment such as: