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Arrhythmia


Description

An arrhythmia is any deviation from or disturbance of the normal heart rhythm. Arrhythmias can be divided into two categories: ventricular and supraventricular. Ventricular arrhythmias happen in the heart's two lower chambers, called the ventricles. Supraventricular arrhythmias happen in the structures above the ventricles, mainly the atria, which are the heart's two upper chambers.

Arrhythmias are further defined by the speed of the heartbeats. A very slow heart rate, called bradycardia, means the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute. Tachycardia is a very fast heart rate, meaning the heart beats faster than 100 beats per minute. Fibrillation, the most serious form of arrhythmia, is fast, uncoordinated beats, which are contractions of individual heart-muscle fibers.

Causes

Many factors can cause your heart to slow down or speed up. Some people are born with arrhythmias, meaning the condition is congenital. Other medical conditions, including many types of heart disease and high blood pressure, may be factors. Also, stress, caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and some over-the-counter cough and cold medicines can affect the pattern of your heartbeat.

Low magnesium levels can cause heart arrhythmia

Conventional Labs

The simplest specific diagnostic test for assessment of heart rhythm is the electrocardiogram ECG or EKG). A Holter monitor is an ECG recorded over a 24-hour period, to detect dysrhythmias that may happen briefly and unpredictably throughout the day.

Cardiac lab tests are routinely ordered.

 

 

 

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