Heart arrhythmia is a condition in which heart rhythm tends to be irregular in pace. It occurs when the electrical signals in the heart (responsible for its beating) do not fire properly. This malfunctioning of the signals can cause the heartbeat to be either too fast, beat irregularly, or too slow.
Heart arrhythmia can be classified into 2 main categories, namely, tachycardia (fast rhythm) and bradycardia (slow rhythm). Each category can be further branched out into various different types. Specific symptoms related to each would be unique, however, general symptoms of arrhythmia can include:
- Fluttering heartbeat
- Fast or slow heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness and/or dizziness
- Sweating and/or anxiety
- Feeling of fainting
Heart arrhythmia, if not treated early on, could lead to further complications. Hence, it is advisable to seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are several treatments that can be availed to help with this condition, including medications, surgical treatments, etc. Two innovative procedures, known as Electrophysiological Study and Ablation, can also be used to effectively treat arrhythmia.
An Electrophysiological Study is a type of test done to evaluate heart health and its electrical systems, while also looking out for discrepancies in heart rhythm. The procedure involves inserting thin wire electrodes into the veins of the neck or groin, after which they are thread through into the heart. Once positioned in the heart, these electrodes measure the heart’s electrical impulses which are then interpreted by the specialist to identify heart arrhythmia or check for the effectiveness of heart medications.
Ablation for heart arrhythmia is a procedure done to help treat irregular heartbeat at its roots. The process involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel, through which it is thread into the heart. The catheter is then used to scar a small region of the heart by burning or freezing it. Radiofrequency is often used to burn off the regions, while cryoablation is used to freeze it. The scars made are done so in such a way that the root cause of the abnormal electrical signals, causing the arrhythmia, are broken down to prevent any relapse.