An arrhythmia is a medical condition that leads to an irregular heartbeat. With this condition, a person’s heart may beat too quickly or slowly or with an irregular rhythm. It occurs when the electrical signals that coordinate heartbeats are not working correctly.
According to the best cardiologist in Hyderabad, arrhythmias may feel like a fluttering or racing heart and may be harmless. However, some heart arrhythmias may be severe and even life-threatening.
Types of Arrhythmia
Generally, heart arrhythmia is grouped by the speed of the heart rate. For example:
Tachycardia – It is a fast heart. And the resting heart rate is greater than 100 beats a minute.
Bradycardia – It is a slow heartbeat. And the resting heart rate is less than 60 beats a minute.
It is possible that you may not have any specific symptoms of an arrhythmia. However, common signs and symptoms can include
- Feeling like your heart skipped a beat
- A fluttering feeling in your neck or chest
- Rapid heartbeat and slow or irregular heartbeat
Few other Signs may be
- Chest pain
- Troubled breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
You must talk to your doctor about your symptoms. The doctor at the best heart hospitals in Hyderabad will effectively diagnose and treat your arrhythmia. It is important to look for the right medical care if you experience any of these symptoms.
In order to understand the cause of heart arrhythmias, it may be helpful to know how the heart typically works. The heart is made of four chambers, two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). The heart’s rhythm is normally controlled by a natural pacemaker known as the sinus node. It sends electrical signals that normally start each heartbeat. These electrical signals move across the atria, thus causing the heart muscles to contract and pump blood into the ventricles.
The signals arrive at a cluster of cells called the AV node. This is where they slow down. And, the slight delay allows the ventricles to fill with blood. The chambers contract and pump blood to the lungs or to the rest of the body when the electrical signals reach the ventricles.
The above mentioned heart signaling process usually goes smoothly, resulting in a normal resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats a minute. And, the conditions that can cause pathologic arrhythmias are: –
- Blocked arteries in the heart
- Scaring from a previous heart attack
- Changes to the heart’s structure
- High blood pressure
- Infection with COVID-19
- Overactive thyroid gland
- Sleep apnea
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Certain medications
- Stress or anxiety
Risk factors Of Arrhythmias
Things that may increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythm include: –
Coronary Artery Disease:
Narrowed heart arteries, a heart attack, abnormal heart valves, prior heart surgery, heart failure, cardiomyopathy and other heart damage are risk factors for almost any kind of dysrhythmia.
High Blood Pressure:
It increases the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Also, it may cause the walls of the left lower heart chamber to become stiff and thick which can change how electrical signals travel through the heart.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
It causes pauses in breathing during sleep and can lead to a slow heartbeat and irregular heartbeats, including atrial fibrillation.
Substances in the blood called electrolytes help trigger and send electrical impulses in the heart. An imbalance in electrolytes can interfere with heart signaling and lead to irregular heartbeats.
Congenital heart disease may affect the heart’s rhythm. Having an overactive or underactive thyroid gland can raise the risk of irregular heartbeats.
Some prescription drugs and certain cough and cold medications bought without a prescription can also cause arrhythmias. Drinking too much alcohol can affect the electrical impulses in your heart and can increase the chance of developing atrial fibrillation.
Diagnosis of Arrhythmia
To diagnose an arrhythmia, a cardiologist has to identify the unusual heartbeat and try to find its source or trigger. This will involve a detailed analysis of medical history, family history, diet, and lifestyle.
A doctor may request the following tests to support an arrhythmia diagnosis: –
- Blood and urine test
- Chest X-ray
- A tilt-table test. It will help identify if a sudden decrease in blood pressure or heart rate is the cause
- Electrophysiologic testing
- Heart catheterization
- Holter Monitor Test
According to the best cardiologist in Hyderabad, Telangana, the treatment for arrhythmia is only necessary if the condition is increasing the risk of more severe arrhythmia or a complication, or if the symptoms are severe.
Different types of arrhythmias require different treatments.
Treatment for Bradycardia
If it occurs due to an underlying condition, a cardiologist will need to treat that condition first. If they find no underlying problem, the doctor may advise implanting a pacemaker. It is a small device that a placed under the skin of the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. This medical device uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a regular minimum rate.
Treatment for Tachycardia
Medications: Intake of medicines will not cure an arrhythmia but are usually effective in reducing the number of tachycardia episodes. Some medications might also promote electrical conduction through the heart.
Cardioversion: It involves the usage of electric shock or medication to reset the heart to its regular rhythm.
Ablation therapy: In this therapy, a surgeon inserts one or more catheters into the inner heart. They place the catheters in areas of the heart that they suspect may be the source of the arrhythmia. This therapy will destroy small sections of damaged tissue, which often corrects the arrhythmia.
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): A surgeon implants this near the left collarbone and the device monitors the heart rhythm. If it detects an abnormally fast rate, it stimulates the heart to return to its normal speed.
Maze procedure: A surgeon makes a series of surgical incisions in the heart. These then heal into scars and form blocks that guide the electrical impulses, helping the heart to beat efficiently.
Ventricular aneurysm surgery: An aneurysm, or bulge, in a blood vessel can lead to arrhythmia. If other treatments are not effective, a surgeon may have to remove the aneurysm.
Coronary bypass surgery: In this procedure, a surgeon grafts arteries or veins from elsewhere in the body on to the coronary arteries. This helps the circulation bypass any regions that have become narrow. And, improve the blood supply to the heart muscle.
Regular Follow-up Visits
After the treatment, you will need to visit your doctor for regular follow-up visits to:
- Make sure your arrhythmia is controlled
- Properly adjust your medications
- Evaluate the function of any implanted devices
- Make sure you are healthy
You must visit the best cardiologist if your symptoms become more frequent or severe.