An abnormal heart rhythm is called an arrhythmia.
Sometimes palpitations are symptoms of arrhythmias. You might feel like your heart is racing, thumping or skipping beats. You might notice them during exercise, when you’re stressed or after having caffeine or nicotine.
If you have palpitations or feel you have an irregular heart beat, it’s important to see your doctor or health practitioner to find out the cause. All arrhythmias require treatment.
There are 4 different kinds of arrhythmias:
Arrhythmias are caused by problems in your heart’s electrical system. They can happen because of heart disease, or other things like:
Sometimes there’s no known cause.
To see if you have an arrhythmia, your doctor may use tests like:
There are different treatments for arrhythmias. The best one for you depends on the cause and how much the arrhythmia affects you.
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to treat some arrhythmias. They may restore or maintain a normal heart beat in the short or long term.
It’s important to take them as prescribed. Read more about medicines.
Implantable medical devices can be used to treat some types of arrhythmias, like:
Your doctor may recommend procedures like electrical cardioversion or catheter ablation.
Sometimes surgeons can operate to remove the sections of the heart muscle that aren’t working properly. Surgery isn’t common, but can be very effective in treating some arrhythmias.
Arrhythmias are often associated with other forms of heart disease. It’s important to manage the risk factors for heart disease to avoid more heart problems. Find out about the risk factors and what you can do about them.