Arrhythmia simply means that your heartbeat is irregular and out of its normal rhythm. This can happen when electrical impulses in your heart don’t work properly. It may happen even if your heart is otherwise healthy.

Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can be serious or even life threatening.

What are the symptoms of an arrhythmia?

You may not have any symptoms. Or, you may feel a fluttering in the chest, chest pain, fainting, or dizziness.

Is my heart beating too fast or too slow?

There are two kinds of arrhythmia. 

If your heartbeat is too fast, more than 100 beats per minute, it is called tachycardia. 

A heartbeat that is too slow, less than 60 beats per minute, is called bradycardia.

How is an arrhythmia diagnosed?

A painless electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is often used to diagnose arrhythmias. 

Wearable heart monitors, exercise stress tests, and electrophysiologic studies are other ways to find where arrhythmias start.

How is an irregular heartbeat treated?

Treatment may include: 

  • A pacemaker to help your heart beat more regularly
  • Blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke
  • Cardiac ablation
  • Cardiac defibrillation and implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs)
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medicine to prevent and control arrhythmias
  • Medicine to treat related conditions, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and heart failure
  • Surgery

Heart Services Are Nearby

If you have any symptoms of heart attack or stroke, call 911. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. EMTs can begin life-saving care immediately before you reach the hospital.

For more information, contact your primary care provider or Traverse Heart and Vascular at 800-637-4033.