Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat is common, and in most cases a harmless condition that resolves on its own. However, persistent arrhythmia may cause bothersome symptoms and sometimes even be life-threatening.
What symptoms are associated with irregular heartbeats?
You may notice other symptoms along with irregular heartbeats:
- Fluttering or pounding in the chest
- Chest pain or pressure
- Shortness of breath
Contact a doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms, since they overlap with heart attack.
How are irregular heartbeats treated?
An irregular heartbeat may not require treatment. However, you have other symptoms or if the condition increases your risk of other serious heart issues, treatment may include:
- Medications given for an irregular heart rate associated with tachycardia include those that help control heart rate and restore a normal heart rhythm. Examples include sotalol, flecainide, and amiodarone.
- For atrial fibrillation, blood thinners such as warfarin may be prescribed. These medications reduce the risk of blood clots, which may result in cardiac arrest.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: Emergency procedure involving chest compression often in combination with artificial ventilation. It may be followed by defibrillation.
- Cardioversion: Involves delivering currents to your heart through paddles or patches on your chest.
- Radiofrequency catheter ablation: A catheter is inserted into the heart through a vein that destroys tissues that cause the abnormal heart rhythm by emitting high-frequency electric currents. Results are long-term, and in some cases, the procedure can cure the disease without any other supportive treatment.
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): An ICD is a small pager-sized device placed under the skin of your chest. This device detects the abnormal rhythm of the heart and delivers electric signals to the heart to restore a normal rhythm.
- Treatment of underlying diseases: If irregular heartbeats are caused by any other health issue (such as coronary heart disease), your doctor will treat the underlying health issue. If you have severe coronary artery disease, your doctor may perform bypass surgery to remove blocks from the coronary artery and improve blood flow.
- Maze procedure: This is a surgical procedure that involves making several incisions in your heart tissue to develop a scar tissue, which helps stop the abnormal conduction of electrical signals within the heart.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Is It Bad to Have an Irregular Heartbeat Related Articles
adenosineAdenosine is an antidysrhythmic drug used to treat a type of irregular heart rhythm disorder known as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT). Common side effects of adenosine include flushing, chest pressure and discomfort, shortness of breath (dyspnea), headache, throat, neck and jaw discomfort, gastrointestinal discomfort, lightheadedness, dizziness, upper extremity discomfort, electrical disturbances in the heart, abnormal ECG readings, low blood pressure (hypotension), numbness and tingling (paresthesia), irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia), and nausea. Consult your doctor before taking if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Angina: Signs, Symptoms, and What It Feels LikeAngina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning, squeezing, and aching. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of angina but there are other causes. Angina is diagnosed by taking the patient's medical history and performing tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood test, stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac CT scan, and heart catheterization. Treatment of angina usually includes lifestyle modification, medication, and sometimes, surgery. The risk of angina can be reduced by following a heart healthy lifestyle.
Atrial Fibrillation QuizLearn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of the common heart abnormality known as atrial fibrillation (A-fib).
Living With A-FibAFib symptoms like heart racing, fluttering, and irregular heart beat may be caused by heart disease, obesity, alcohol use, thyroid disease, and other conditions. AFib medications may include blood thinners, drugs to control heart rate or convert the heart to a normal rhythm. AFib surgery is also a treatment possibility.
Camzyos (mavacamten)Camzyos (mavacamten) is a prescription medication used to treat the symptoms of obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Camzyos reduces left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and can cause heart failure due to systolic dysfunction. Camzyos may cause serious side effects including hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face/lips/tongue/throat, fainting, and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction from the heart. Consult your doctor before taking Camzyos if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can Atrial Fibrillation Go Away?Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the heart beats irregularly and rapidly. Rarely, atrial fibrillation can go away on its own. Atrial fibrillation may be brief, with symptoms that come and go. It is possible to have an atrial fibrillation episode that resolves on its own or the condition may be persistent and require treatment.
Chest Pain or Heart Attack QuizWhat causes chest pain? If you have chest pain, does it mean you're having a heart attack? Take the quiz to learn what diseases and conditions may be responsible for pain in your chest.
Heart Health: What Is a Healthy and Normal Heart Rate for My Age?Learn normal heart rates by age, for young adults, seniors, and others. What's a good resting heart rate for your age? What is your target and maximum heart rate for men and women by age group? Learn these and more here.
Arrhythmias (Abnormal Heart Rhythms): Types, Triggers, Warning Signs, and TreatmentHeart rhythm disorders vary from minor palpitations, premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), sinus tachycardia, and sinus bradycardia, to abnormal heart rhythms such as tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular flutter, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome, brachycardia, or heart blocks. Treatment is dependent upon the type of heart rhythm disorder.
lemon balmLemon balm has been used traditionally for centuries as a medicinal herb to promote sleep, relieve stress and anxiety, improve appetite and digestion, and to treat viral and other infections. The suggested uses of lemon balm include insomnia, anxiety, improving cognitive function, irregular heart rhythm and nervous palpitations, high blood pressure (hypertension), antispasmodic, appetite stimulant, indigestion, menstrual irregularities, and others. Common side effects of lemon balm include nausea, dizziness, sedation, increased appetite, wheezing, hypersensitivity reactions, and skin irritation.
Is It Normal to Have Irregular Heartbeat After Ablation?Cardiac (heart) ablation is a procedure performed to correct heart arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm/beat). Cardiac ablation works by intentionally injuring or destroying (ablating) and scarring the tissue in the heart that triggers the abnormal heart rhythm.
What Foods Trigger Atrial Fibrillation?Atrial fibrillation (AFib) occurs when the two smaller, upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly instead of rhythmically. This abnormal condition can allow blood clots to form inside the heart and later travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Eating certain foods could trigger atrial fibrillation (AFib) in some patients. These foods include High sugar foods, caffeine, alcohol, food high in sodium, tyramine, gluten, grapefruit, cranberry juice, asparagus, and green leafy vegetables.
What Happens If Arrhythmia Is Left Untreated?Untreated arrhythmia in some individuals may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, dementia, and heart failure. It may lead to the inadequate blood supply to multiple organs because the heart may not function properly.
What Heart Rate Is a Heart Attack?While no one particular heart rate qualifies as a heart attack, a rapid heart rate outside 60 to 100 beats per minute should be monitored closely.
What Is the Best Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation?Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a type of heart disorder that can cause an abnormally high heart rate. The best type of treatment that is recommended for a patient is based on their symptoms. Treatment options of AFib include lifestyle changes, medications, and procedures such as cardioversion or ablation.
Heart Health: What to Know About Your Heart RateUnderstanding your heart rate and what's healthy for you is an important part of taking care of yourself. Get the facts about heart rates.
When Should You Worry About an Irregular Heartbeat?Irregular heartbeat is common and in most cases resolves on its own. However, persistent arrhythmia can sometimes be life-threatening.