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When Does Irregular Heart Rhythm Require Treatment?

You may be surprised to learn that arrhythmias don’t always require treatment. Most people have a temporary arrhythmia during their lifetime, and they’re often harmless.

At the same time, some arrhythmias are life threatening and others need medical care to prevent heart damage. That’s why you should always protect your health by scheduling a heart exam when you notice symptoms of an arrhythmia.

At Corrielus Cardiology, Dr. Sanul Corrielus and the rest of our team have years of experience quickly evaluating your heart and determining the treatment you may need. We also do essential diagnostic testing in the office so you can get quick results.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call the office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the meantime, let’s explore the different types of arrhythmias and when they need treatment.

Arrhythmia basics

Heart arrhythmias occur when your heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular. You can have a healthy heart and still develop an arrhythmia. For example, extreme stress, too much caffeine or nicotine, and some medications can all trigger arrhythmias.

In most cases, however, arrhythmias occur due to a problem in your heart or an underlying health condition, such as:

Dehydration can also affect your heartbeat. Your blood thickens as you lose water and that can lead to a rapid heartbeat or palpitations.

Types of arrhythmias

The basic types of arrhythmias include:

There are at least 15 different types of arrhythmias that fall under these categories. Decisions about when you need treatment begin by diagnosing your type of arrhythmia with on-site testing such as an electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram.

Arrhythmia treatment decisions

Deciding when a heart arrhythmia needs treatment depends on the type of arrhythmia and the frequency and severity of your symptoms.

We quickly assess your risk for serious complications and determine if you’re on the edge or in the process of having a heart attack. Then we immediately take steps to prevent a serious cardiac event and to alleviate your uncomfortable symptoms.

Some types of arrhythmias seldom require treatment. Others require immediate treatment because they can cause a heart attack or blood clots. 

Here are a few examples:

Premature ventricular contraction (PVC)

PVC is a common type of arrhythmia that often occurs in response to caffeine. This arrhythmia only needs treatment if you have frequent or ongoing episodes or you have a history of heart disease.

Ventricular fibrillation

Ventricular fibrillation causes a chaotic and very rapid heartbeat that begins in the lower chambers. As the most frequent cause of heart attacks, this type of arrhythmia is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, a common type of irregular heartbeat, occurs when the heart’s upper chambers beat irregularly. As a result, the upper chambers are out of sync with muscle contractions in the lower chambers, and blood doesn’t flow through your heart normally. 

Atrial fibrillation also demands treatment because it can lead to heart failure and often causes blood clots. If a blood clot leaves your heart, it goes to your brain and causes a stroke.

If you experience arrhythmia symptoms such as fluttering in your chest or a pounding or racing heart, don’t hesitate to call us at Corrielus Cardiology for a comprehensive heart evaluation.  

At Corrielus Cardiology we are committed to your overall heart health and well-being.  Call us to schedule your heart evaluation today at (215) 383-5900 or visit our website at www.corrieluscardiology.com

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