About this disease
What it is about
Cardiac rhythm disorders include both harmless and life-threatening abnormalities of heartbeat initiation. The heartbeat pumps blood to the circulatory system of the body and lungs. The command that initiates and coordinates the heartbeat is transmitted electrically from cell to cell, but also specifically through the electrical cable-like conduction system. Rhythm disturbances can result in a slowed heartbeat or one that is too fast, be regular or irregular, affect only individual beats, or be persistent.
Badycardic arrhythmias refer to a too slow heart action up to a cessation of the heartbeat. Either the sinus node, the heart's natural pulse generator, is diseased or the signal transmission from the atrium to the ventricle is interrupted. Tachycardic arrhythmias lead to a too fast heartbeat, which can be regular or irregular. Rarely, the pumping action fails, as in ventricular fibrillation. We then speak of a cardiac arrest. Extrasystoles are additional heartbeats that interrupt the normal heart rhythm.
Symptoms and consequences
Arrhythmias can occur without symptoms or can be perceived as palpitations, heart palpitations or heart palpitations. Dangerous forms can cause unconsciousness or even cardiac arrest. Atrial fibrillation is a common rhythm disorder that usually leads to a fast and irregular heartbeat and occurs more frequently in old age. On the one hand, this can lead to cardiac insufficiency, and on the other hand, it can promote the formation of blood clots in the heart, which subsequently lead to a stroke.
What we do for you
Examination and diagnosis
We clarify whether and which arrhythmia underlies the complaints. Sometimes the diagnosis can already be made with a resting ECG. Small recording devices are often used, which record every heartbeat over one to seven days. In certain cases, a type of electrode can be implanted under the skin that records the heartbeat even over years. Heart ultrasound, called echocardiography, and stress tests are used to look at the structure and function of the heart. This can provide information about the danger of arrhythmias.
Often, the knowledge that an arrhythmia is not dangerous makes treatment unnecessary. In some cases, drug treatment is necessary to slow down or suppress rapid arrhythmias. Sometimes, however, it is medications that may promote or cause the arrhythmias. In other cases, a pacemaker must be implanted or the arrhythmia treated by cardiac catheterization.