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Arrhythmia

Also called: Irregular heartbeat

Summary

An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. It means that your heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular pattern. When the heart beats faster than normal, it is called tachycardia. When the heart beats too slowly, it is called bradycardia. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, which causes an irregular and fast heart beat.

Many factors can affect your heart's rhythm, such as having had a heart attack, smoking, congenital heart defects, and stress. Some substances or medicines may also cause arrhythmias.

Symptoms of arrhythmias include

  • Fast or slow heart beat
  • Skipping beats
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

Your doctor can run tests to find out if you have an arrhythmia. Treatment to restore a normal heart rhythm may include medicines, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker, or sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

  • (American Heart Association)
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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in
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Symptoms

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Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • Heart Health Tests: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (Heart Rhythm Society)
  • (Heart Rhythm Society)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (Heart Rhythm Society)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Treatments and Therapies

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • Pacemakers and Implantable Defibrillators: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (American Heart Association)

Living With

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Related Issues

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Heart Rhythm Society)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (American Heart Association)

Specifics

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  • (Heart Rhythm Society)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • Cardiac Arrest: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (Heart Rhythm Society)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (American Heart Association)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Health Check Tools

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  • (Heart Rhythm Society)

Videos and Tutorials

Clinical Trials

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

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  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Find an Expert

  • (Heart Rhythm Society)
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

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  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)

Teenagers

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Patient Handouts

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