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Arrhythmia

An arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rate, such as beating too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) or irregularly.

The heart has four chambers. Normally, they contract in a very specific, coordinated way, guided by electrical impulses that originate in the sinoatrial node – the heart's natural pacemaker. When a problem occurs along this electrical conduction system, various arrhythmias may occur.

Learn more about Arrhythmias

Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Fast or slow heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Light-headedness, dizziness
  • Paleness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skipping beats – changes in the pattern of the pulse
  • Sweating
  • Some people with arrhythmia may have no symptoms.

A health care provider should be consulted when there are symptoms of a possible arrhythmia. The risk of developing an arrhythmia varies greatly, depending on the condition of the heart, the blood chemistry, any endocrine abnormalities and a history of heart attack.

Arrhythmias can develop as a side effect of various substances or drugs, including caffeine, beta- blockers, amphetamines, cocaine and psychotropic drugs.

Severe arrhythmias can lead to angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke or even death.

At Texas Health, we have advanced diagnostics to help us understand individual conditions and plan a course of treatment.

Treatment

Serious arrhythmias may require urgent treatment to restore the heart to a normal rhythm. Treatment can include delivering an electrical shock to the heart with a defibrillator, implanting a temporary pacemaker or giving IV medications.

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.