Our heart is divided into four chambers - two upper auricles and two ventricles below them. These chambers contract and relax alternatively to ensure the circulation of blood within the heart and the body. The electrical impulses originate from the sino-atrial (SA) node in the left atrium, causing the atria to contract and pumping the blood to the ventricles. However, before reaching the ventricles, the electrical impulses pass through the atrioventricular (AV) node, slowing down the impulses a little, allowing the ventricles to receive the blood from the ventricles. As the ventricles receive the electrical signals, they contract and pump the blood to the body and the lungs. This coordinated contraction and relaxation and simultaneous pumping of the blood constitute one heartbeat. Under normal circumstances, our heartbeats for about 60 - 80 times in a minute.
Arrhythmia is a term used to describe the irregular pattern of heartbeats due to aberration of the electrical signals. Arrhythmia may be unnoticed in some cases or maybe as severe as a life-threatening disease. Therefore, the treatment varies according to the intensity of the symptoms and associated illnesses.
Types of Arrhythmia
Arrhythmia may be classified according to the location of occurrence or the rate of the heartbeat. For example, when Arrhythmia occurs in the ventricles, it is termed ventricular Arrhythmia, and supraventricular Arrhythmia is the one that occurs in the auricles.
Bradyarrhythmia: A condition in which your heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute and your heart cannot pump enough blood to your body. The might happen in two scenarios;
Other than the causes, certain risk factors might increase the probability of Arrhythmia:
The patient does not experience any symptoms in several instances, but Arrhythmia is diagnosed during a regular checkup or physical examination.
Symptoms, if present, may include:
Your doctor will take your complete history and family history and conduct a physical exam emphasising your cardiovascular system to diagnose an arrhythmia. He may also conduct the following tests to reach a diagnosis:
If you have an asymptomatic arrhythmia, then you may not require treatment, but for symptomatic patients, the following treatment options are available: