Login - or - Learn
Contact Us     Maps & Directions     About Us
Find a Provider
Your Medical Home
Find a Facility
Plan Your Visit
Find a Provider
Giving
Mother Frances Hospital
Heart Hospital
Neuroscience Institute
Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Search Health Information    Abnormal Heartbeat (Arrhythmia)

Abnormal Heartbeat (Arrhythmia)

An abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia) is any variation in the normal heartbeat. Abnormal heartbeats occur when the heart has an irregular heart rhythm, beats too fast (tachycardia), or beats too slow (bradycardia).

The electrical system of the heart creates signals that trigger the heart to pump. These electrical signals control the heart rate and rhythm. Normally, the heart beats in a regular rhythm and at a rate that is appropriate for the work the body is doing. An arrhythmia results from a problem in the electrical system of the heart. Things that can cause the heart to beat abnormally include heavy smoking, alcohol use, excess caffeine or other stimulants, stress, thyroid disease, and fever.

Many arrhythmias are minor, causing only occasional abnormal heartbeats and requiring no treatment. Others, such as atrial fibrillation, can be life-threatening because they increase the risk of blood clots and strokes. Arrhythmias are of special concern in people who also have heart disease or heart failure. Some arrhythmias can be treated with medicine. Others may require an electrical shock (cardioversion), surgery, or a pacemaker.

Last Revised: June 2, 2011

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

 
Trinity Clinic

Trinity Clinic is the area's preferred multispecialty medical group, with over 350 physicians and mid-level providers representing 40 specialties in 36 clinic locations serving East Texas.

Find a Trinity Clinic ProviderMedical Providers Directory  About Trinity Clinic MyChart

TMFHC app on iTunes

TMFHC app on Android Market