The human heart beats at a steady rate of 60-100 beats/minute under normal conditions. However, the rate may vary depending on a number of factors like physical activity, emotional stress, environmental temperature or certain environmental conditions.
Arrhythmia commonly known as heart rhythm disorder pertains to a condition where the rhythm of the heart is irregular or abnormal under resting conditions. When the rhythm is more than 100 beats/min it is called Rapid Arrhythmia or Tachycardia while when it is less than 60 it is called Bradycardia, irregular arrhythmias are called Fibrillations and Premature contraction refers to a condition when a heartbeat occurs earlier than it should be.
Arrhythmias occur when electrical impulses to the heart that coordinate heartbeats don’t work properly. Basically an electrical signal travels from the top of the heart to the bottom causing the heart to contract and pump blood. Thus the heartbeat controls the rate & rhythm of the heart. But a disturbance in this system leads to irregular heartbeats causing arrhythmia. When the heart doesn’t pump blood effectively, the vital organs like brain, lungs & other organs don’t receive the proper supply of oxygen and as a result shuts down or gets damaged.
Arrhythmia may or may not cause any symptoms but some common noticeable symptoms/manifestations/observations associated with this condition are:
- Shortness of Breath
- A fluttering in the chest
- Chest pain
- Light headedness, dizziness
Certain factors also increase the risk of developing arrhythmia which include:
- Coronary artery disease or previous heart surgery
- High blood pressure
- Congenital heart disease
- Thyroid problems
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Certain drugs
- Alcohol abuse
- Caffeine or Nicotine use in excess
Cardiologists use heart monitoring tests to diagnose this condition which include Electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitor, Echocardiogram, Stress test, Tilt table test and Electrophysiological testing & mapping. Certain arrhythmias are harmless while some other may increase your risk of developing conditions like Stroke and Heart Failure. Arrhythmias may or may not necessitate a treatment. However, pacemaker or ICD implantation, vagal maneuver, certain medications, cardioversion and catheter ablation are some of the treatments available. In addition, surgical options such as Maze Procedure & Coronary Bypass Surgery are also used in some cases.
Under the aegis of the Division of Cardiology, Arrhythmia Centre implements a proven, integrated approach for the management of these heart rhythm conditions. Hospitals and Clinics of Narayana Health group across the country are seamlessly integrated to provide a state-of-the-art management in cardiac arrhythmias.