Irregular heartbeat- Heart arrhythmia, causes & symptoms

Irregular heartbeat is a problem with the rhythm or rate of the heartbeat. During irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia the heart may beat too slow or too fast with an irregular rhythm. When a heartbeat performs too fast, this condition is called tachycardia. On the other hand when a heartbeat performs too slowly, this condition is called bradcardia.

Most of the arrhythmias are harmless but some of them can be serious and even life threatening. The heart cannot able to pump enough blood in the body during arrhythmia. This lack of the blood flow can damage the heart, brain and also other organ.

What is heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat?

Arrhythmia is irregular heartbeat and in this condition heart may beat firstly, too slowly, irregularly or too early. An arrhythmia is a heart-rhythm problem and they occur when electrical impulses to heart that the coordinate heartbeat are not work properly.

We all occasionally experience the irregular heartbeat that may feel like racing heart or fluttering. Some irregular heartbeats, however, especially if they are veer too far from normal heartbeat. As a result damage or weak heart may causes troublesome.

Risk factors of irregular heartbeat

Old age

The heart is predictably weakness as we get old and also lose some of its flexibility. It is one of the major risk factor of irregular heartbeat.

Inherited gene defect

Person who are born with a heart abnormality, have great chance to developing irregular heartbeat. It mainly depends on family history and defect gene.

Heart problems

People who have heart problems or narrowed arteries, those people who had a heart attack or the heart valve do no work properly, person had previous heart sugary are more likely to develop irregular heart beat.

Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism

People who have thyroid gland problem are great chance to develop arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.


Few prescriptions medication like OTC drugs, such as cold drug and cough drug containing pseudoephedrine that may help to develop irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia.


It is another major risk factor of irregular heartbeat. People who have high blood pressure have higher risk to develop coronary artery disease and also other heart disease that may result in the inappropriate conduction of the electrical impulses.


We know that obesity is linked with a huge number of heath disorders. Heart disease, irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, diabetes II, cardiovascular disease all are related with obesity.

Uncontrolled diabetes

Diabetes is one of the major risk factor of irregular heartbeat. Patient who have uncontrolled diabetes have more likely to develop irregular heartbeat.

Electrolyte imbalances

Electrolytes are so important for the proper conduction of the electricity between the cells and through cells. If the electrolytes levels are incorrect either too high or too low, then the electrical impulses into the heart may be affected and resulting irregular heartbeat.

Heavy alcohol consumption

People who regular consume elevated quantity of alcohol are more likely to develop irregular heartbeat of arrhythmia. Alcohol also effect on liver, kidney and heart. Normally inflamed liver is occur due to excessive consumption of alcohol.


To take excessive quantities of caffeine that can accelerate the heart rate and also causes irregular heartbeat.

Causes of irregular heartbeat

Some factors that may lead to causes irregular heartbeat including:

  1. Coronary heart disease.
  2. High blood pressure.
  3. Change into the heart muscle.
  4. Valve disorder.
  5. Electrolytes imbalance into blood.
  6. Heart attack and other condition that may cause electrical imbalance into heart.
  7. Healing process after the heart surgery.
  8. Smoking.
  9. High alcohol consumption.
  10. Some drug such as cocaine’s.
  11. Overdose of prescribed drug.
  12. Caffeine.
  13. Emotional stress.
  14. Strong anger.
  15. Heart failure.
  16. Overactive thyroid gland.
  17. Air pollution.
  18. Electrical shock.
  19. Dietary supplement.
  20. Medications.
  21. Diabetes.
  22. Drug abuse.

Sign and symptoms of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat

Patient may have no sign or symptoms at all but it can identify by regular doctor examination. Even if patient notice sign and symptoms then it does not means serious problems. Some sign and symptoms of irregular heartbeat including:

  1. Breathlessness.
  2. Dizziness.
  3. Syncope.
  4. Sudden weakness.
  5. Lightheadedness.
  6. Fluttering into the chest.
  7. Angina
  8. Chest pain.
  9. Concentration problems.
  10. Confusion.
  11. Weakness.
  12. Fatigue.
  13. Palpitation.
  14. Difficulties during exercise.
  15. Anxiety.
  16. Sweating.
  17. Fainting.
  18. Slow heartbeat.
  19. Irregular heartbeat.

Diagnosis of irregular heartbeat

Blood and urine test

Doctor checks the patient liver, blood count, kidney, thyroid and heart function. Doctor may also check the blood for the specific chemical marker of the heart failure like BNP. This hormone normally secreted in high level when the heart become injure. Serum electrolytes test also be done to calculate sodium and potassium levels.

Electrocardiogram or ECG

This device can record the rhythms and the electrical activity of the heart. The electrodes are attached into the patient skin and then impulses are recorded like wave and this are displayed into screen. These are very important diagnostic tools for irregular heartbeat.

A Holter monitor

The patient wears a transportable device that records all his/her heartbeats. it’s worn underneath the wear and records data regarding the electrical activity of the center whereas the patient goes regarding his/her traditional activities for one or 2 days.

Event recorder

This machine is comparable to a Holter monitor; however it doesn’t record all the heartbeats. There square measure 2 types: one. One uses a phone to transmit signals from the recorder whereas the patient is experiencing symptoms. 2. The opposite is worn all the time for an extended time; typically as long as a month (it should be embarked on once showering or having a bath). This device is nice for designation rhythm disturbances that happen haphazardly moments.

An sonogram

This can be associate degree ultrasound scan that checks the pumping action of the patient’s heart. This check additionally helps distinguish pulsation heart condition from pulsation heart condition (the heart is stiff and doesn’t fill properly). Sound waves square measure accustomed produce a video image of the patient’s heart, which helps the doctor see however well the center is pumping. The doctor measures the share of blood tense out of the patient’s heart ventricle (the main pumping chamber) with every heartbeat – this measuring is decision the ejection fraction.

An ejection fraction could be a crucial measuring that determines however well the center is pumping. A healthy heart radiates some hour of the blood that fills the ventricle with every beat – a healthy heart has associate degree ejection issue of hour.

Chest X-ray

The pictures facilitate the doctor check the state of the patient’s heart and lungs. A chest X-ray may additionally facilitate a doctor verify whether or not the patient has any no heritable heart defects. Alternative conditions which will make a case for the signs and symptoms may additionally be detected.

Tilt-table check

If the patient experiences fainting spells, vertigo or lightheadedness, and neither the ECG nor the Holter disclosed any arrhythmias, a tilt-table check is also performed. This monitors the patient’s pressure, rhythm associate degreed rate whereas he/she is rapt from a lying right down to an upright position. A healthy patient’s reflexes cause the center rate associate degreed pressure to vary once rapt to associate degree upright position – this can be to form positive the brain gets an adequate offer of blood. If the reflexes square measure inadequate, they may make a case for the fainting spells, etc.

Treatment of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat

Vagal maneuvers

Bound maneuvers the patient will do himself/herself could stop AN cardiopathy that starts higher than the lower 1/2 the center (SVY). This might involve the patient holding his/her breathe and straining, coughing, or submergence the face in cold water. The doctor, nurse or a specialized therapist could recommend alternative maneuvers. These maneuvers have an effect on the cranial nerve nerves and sometimes cause the center rate to hamper.


These won’t cure the patient, however area unit typically effective in reducing episodes of cardiac arrhythmia moreover as speed the center rate down once they occur. Anti-arrhythmic medications have to be compelled to be taken properly for best results and to avoid complications. In some cases, if the medications slow the center down an excessive amount of the patient might have to own a pacemaker.

Cardio version

If the cardiac arrhythmia starts within the atria (top 1/2 the heart) and includes fibrillation, the doctor could use an electrical shock to reset the center to its regular rhythm – this is often known as cardio version. It’s dispensed externally; the patient is typically given a drug to relax. The procedure is painless.

Ablation medical care

Ablation means that “taking the malady away”. One or a lot of catheters undergo blood vessels into the inner heart. Placed in areas of the center those are thought to be the sources of the cardiopathy. Electrodes at the ends of the tubing area unit heated. Generally the ideas area unit cooled down and also the downside tissue is frozen. alittle spot of heart tissue is destroyed (ablated), making AN electrical block on the pathway that’s inflicting the cardiopathy.


If the patient is at high risk of developing a really quick or quivering (fibrillating) heartbeat within the ventricles, AN ICD could also be established . There also are ICDs for fibrillation (quivering within the higher 1/2 the heart). The device is established close to the left os – electrode-tipped wires go from the ICD, through veins, to the center. The ICD monitors the center rhythm and paces the center, similar to a pacemaker as presently because it detects AN abnormally slow rhythm. specialists say that AN ICD is best at considerably reducing the danger of a fatal cardiopathy than medications.

Maze procedure

A series of surgical incisions area unit created within the atria (upper 1/2 the heart). They then heal into scars within the atria those type boundaries that create the electrical impulses travel properly in order that the center beats with efficiency. This is often heart surgery and is typically used for patients World Health Organization haven’t responded tolerably to alternative treatments. Maze procedures have an honest success rate.


If an aneurism (bulge) in a very vas that results in the center is inflicting the cardiopathy and alternative treatments didn’t work, a Dr. could take away the aneurism. This surgery features a sensible success rate – it’s generally used if the established ICD or tubing ablation didn’t work.

CABG surgery

A patient with frequent chamber cardiac arrhythmia World Health Organization additionally has severe arterial malady could also be suggested to bear CABG surgery. Arteries or veins from elsewhere within the patient’s body area unit grafted to the coronary arteries to bypass induration of the arteries narrowing’s and improve the blood provide to the coronary circulation supply the center muscle (myocardium).

All Comments

  • Very detailed post with exact diagram. Helpful for medical student and biochemist.

    Nick Allen January 3, 2017 3:38 pm Reply

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