Arrhythmia Center

What is an Arrhythmia?

Arrhythmias, or heart rhythm disorders, is the umbrella term for a variety of conditions in which the heart's rhythm doesn´t work normally. Arrhythmias can range from asymptomatic and harmless, to life-threatening conditions caused by serious heart disease.

Fig. 1. Click to enlarge

In normal heart rhythm, ie. sinus rhythm, the sinus node works as the cardiac impulse generator. (Figure 1). When an arrhythmia occurs, the role of the sinus node is eliminated and the heart beats either too slow or too fast. If the heart beats too slow and gives symptoms such as fainting, dizziness etc., the treatment is usually a pacemaker.

If the heart beats too fast there are several different treatment options depending on the symptoms and what causes the palpitations. There are many different causes of palpitations, such as congenital accessory pathways and electrical chaos in the atrium, called atrial fibrillation.

When an additional conduction path is the cause of palpitations the rhythm is often fast and regular, while in atrial fibrillation the heart rhythm is irregular. Both cause and treatment are quite different between these conditions, thus we have divided the information into regular palpitations and atrial fibrillation.