What Is an Arrhythmia?

To fully appreciate cardiac arrhythmias, including slow heartbeats (bradycardia) and fast heartbeats (tachycardia), we must understand the normal function of the heart. The heart is a muscle that is triggered involuntarily – meaning we do not have to force ourselves to start a heartbeat. Rather it is done automatically by an electrical signal that begins in what is known as the Sinoatrial or SA node of the heart. Once the electrical signal fires, the Atria, or upper chambers of the heart contract. The signal then travels down to the lower chambers of the heart known as the ventricles which also contract in a coordinated fashion. This coordination allows for blood to enter and exit the heart efficiently.

Please reference the video below to see how the heart contracts and how the electrical signals of the heart move between the upper and lower chambers

Abnormal heart rhythm

Of course, due to a number of potential causes including disease, lifestyle choices, genetics and congenital factors, the heart may not beat rhythmically. This is known as a cardiac arrhythmia and represents one of the most common cardiovascular concerns in the United States and around the world. Of these arrhythmias, Afib or atrial fibrillation is the most common, affecting upwards of five million Americans.

Diagnostic Tools for Arrhythmias

Our Diagnostic Tools for arrhythmias include: