Cary Cardiology, P.A.
Multi-Specialty Cardiovascular Group located in Cary, Dunn, Benson, & Fuquay-Varina, NC
Arrhythmia is a problem where your heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm. If you have an arrhythmia, the experienced cardiovascular team at Cary Cardiology, P.A., can help. The practice has offices in Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Dunn, and Benson, North Carolina, where they provide expert diagnosis and treatment for the many different types of arrhythmia. For prompt, effective care of your arrhythmia, call Cary Cardiology, P.A., or book an appointment online today.
Arrhythmia Q & A
What is an arrhythmia?
Arrhythmias affect the rhythm or rate of your heartbeat. Your heart may beat too slowly (bradycardia), too quickly (tachycardia), irregularly, or have a combination of these problems.
The Cary Cardiology, P.A., team sees many different types of arrhythmia, including:
- Premature atrial contraction
- Premature ventricular contraction
- Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
- Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
- Ventricular tachycardia (VT)
- Ventricular fibrillation
Two of the more common types of arrhythmia are atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) occurs when the atria (the upper chambers of your heart) beat out of sync with the ventricles (the lower chambers of your heart). AFib causes a rapid, irregular heart rhythm.
Atrial flutter is similar, but your atria beat so quickly that only one out of every two beats reach your ventricles.
Arrhythmia disrupts the normal flow of blood throughout your body, depriving essential organs of oxygen. Some arrhythmias aren't dangerous, while others are potentially life-threatening.
What causes arrhythmias?
Your heart works using electrical signals that originate in the sinus node – your inbuilt pacemaker. Arrhythmias result from problems in the electrical impulses that regulate your heartbeat.
These problems may be due to an abnormality you've had since birth (a congenital heart defect) or develop later in life if you have a condition such as:
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid disease
- Sleep apnea
- Heart tissue scarring
Your risk of developing an arrhythmia also increases if you're a smoker, heavy drinker, have chronic stress, or take certain kinds of medications.
What symptoms can arrhythmia cause?
Primary arrhythmia symptoms are a slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat, but you may also experience other effects, such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Some types of arrhythmia may result in episodes of syncope (fainting or loss of consciousness).
How are arrhythmias diagnosed?
Following a physical examination, your provider at Cary Cardiology, P.A., might want you to undergo further testing to confirm whether you have an arrhythmia.
An EKG (electrocardiogram) records the electrical activity in your heart, while an echocardiogram enables your provider to see the heart and how well it's pumping.
If these tests don't provide sufficient information, you might need to wear a Holter monitor for several days – a portable device that records your heart's activity.
More advanced tests are sometimes necessary, like tilt table testing or an electrophysiology study. Electrophysiology involves inserting wires into your heart to measure the electrical activity directly and find the source of the problem.
What treatment might I need for my arrhythmia?
Lifestyle modifications can help manage arrhythmia, so you might need to stop smoking and look at your diet and exercise. You might also need to take medications such as antiarrhythmics.
For some arrhythmias, cardiac ablation can be an effective treatment. Your doctor may also recommend a defibrillator implant that detects arrhythmia episodes and produces electrical impulses to help your heart beat more normally.
If you have any arrhythmia symptoms, contact the expert team at Cary Cardiology, P.A., for accurate diagnosis and effective treatments. Call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
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