Heart Rhythm Disorders (cont.)

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What are the signs and symptoms of heart rhythm disorders?

Many people may have heart rhythm disturbances and never be aware of them. Premature atrial contractions (PACs) and premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are variations of normal and most often, people are unaware that an extra beat has occurred. However, some patients are keenly aware of any extra heartbeat, even if it is a normal variant and requires no treatment.

That said, the initial symptom of dysrhythmia is often palpitations, a sensation that the heart is beating too quickly, too slowly, beating irregularly, or skipping a beat. The palpitations may be intermittent or may require medical intervention to resolve.

Because of the heart rhythm abnormality, other symptoms may occur because of decreased cardiac output (the amount of blood that the heart pushes out to meet the body's demand for oxygen and energy). The patient may complain of lightheadedness, weakness, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

In critical situations, the patient may fall to the ground or lose consciousness. This may be due to life-threatening dysrhythmias like ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. It may be due to heart rates so fast that there isn't enough blood pressure generated to supply the brain with what it needs. The same result can also occur if the heart beats too slowly and insufficient blood pressure is generated.

What are the different types of heart rhythm disorders?

Heart rhythm disorders are classified according to where they occur in the heart and how they affect the heartbeat.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2013

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Heart Rhythm Disorders - Type of Disorder Question: Please describe what type of heart rhythm disorder you have.
Abnormal Heart Rhythms - Treatments Question: How was your heart rhythm disorder treated?
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Heart Rhythm Disorders - A-fib Question: How do you manage your atrial fibrillation?

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