Arrhythmia, Permanent Pacemaker

There is a wide range of arrhythmias that a patient can experience. Some palpitations may not be an arrhythmia, but there are tests that can determine what the patient may be experiencing.FDR

  • Symptoms: Palpitations are the most common symptom patients feel when they have an arrhythmia. Others include chest pain, shortness of breath, syncope (passing out), dizziness, sweating and fatigue.
  • Event Monitors/Holter Monitors can be placed on the patient’s chest from 48 hours to 30 days. This test records any symptoms the patient may feel and if there are any arrhythmias that correspond with their symptoms. Below is the list of common diagnoses/arrhythmias:
    • Sinus tachycardia: The heart rate is high and above 100 beats per minute.
    • Sinus bradycardia: The heart rate is low and below 60 beats per minute.
    • Atrial Fibrillation: The electrical signals cause the upper chambers of the heart to contracting too fast. These signals are not consistent and weak.
    • Atrial Flutter: Similar to atrial fibrillation, except that they are more consistent and rhythmic.
    • Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs): Also known as extra beats of the lower chambers.
    • Premature Atrial Contractions (PACs): Also known as extra beats of the upper chambers.
    • Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT): The hearts electrical signals to the upper chamber are contracting too fast and can slow down abruptly.
  • Treatment:
    • Medications: Patients may need a blood thinner or a beta-blocker to decrease the risk of stroke and control the heart rate/rate of having an arrhythmia.
    • Cardioversion: This can be achieved through electrical shocking of the heart to return it to normal rhythm.
    • Ablations: A catheter is placed and guided to the area of the heart that is conducting the incorrect electrical impulses and destroys the tissue.
    • Permanent Pacemaker: This device is implanted near the heart and sends electrical impulses to the heart to maintain a proper rhythm.
    • Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD): This device is also implanted near the heart to monitor any electrical abnormalities and if that occurs, it can stimulate the heart to return back to normal rhythm.