Arrhythmia or dysrhythmia refers to any change from the normal sequence of electrical impulses that may cause ectopic heartbeats (premature atrial or atrioventricular or premature ventricular beats), bradycardia (sinus bradycardia, or sinoatrial or atrioventricular heart blocks), tachycardia (sinus, atrial, or ventricular tachycardia, (atrial fibrillation), or cardiac arrest (ventricular fibrillation or asystole).
⚠️Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency.
Common signs and symptoms associated with arrhythmias are fatigue, dizziness, syncope, chest pain, and heart palpitations.
Stress and anxiety are common stimuli for onset of arrhythmias.
Numerous conditions and diseases associated with arrhythmia include different heart conditions mitral valve prolapse, mitral stenosis, congestive heart failure, low ejection fraction, ischemic heart disease, atrial and ventricular defects; cardiac surgery and catheterization; hypertension; pulmonary disease; anaphylaxis; rheumatic heart disease; thyroid disorder; sarcoidosis; non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL); myeloma; anemia; drug-related effects; electrolyte imbalance; and advanced age.
Symptomatic arrhythmias are treated with antiarrhythmic medications, sometimes in combination with a pacemaker and/or an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
In refractory cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.
- Qin D, et al. Atrial Fibrillation–Mediated Cardiomyopathy Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2019;12:e007809
- Nelson AJ, et al. A Systematic Review of Anticoagulation Strategies for Patients With Atrial Fibrillation in Critical Care. Thromb Haemost. 2021; Apr. 8. Online ahead of print. doi: 10.1055/a-1477-3760