Keeping your heart in a natural rhythm

Understanding Arrhythmias

What is it?

Your heart has a natural rhythm when it is functioning properly. When you have an arrhythmia, or heart rhythm disorder, it means there is something wrong with your heart's natural rhythm.

There are many varieties of heart rhythm disorders. Your heart may go too fast or too slow, or there may be some other irregularity in the pattern of your heartbeats.

Heart rhythm disorders are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the heart.

What are the symptoms?

There are different symptoms associated with the various kinds of heart rhythm disorders. You may experience some of these symptoms, or none of them. Not all arrhythmias are accompanied by symptoms.

Most common symptoms of arrhythmias are:

  • Palpitations
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling that your heart skips beats
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in your chest
  • Fatigue or weakness

How is it treated?

  • Remote monitoring. Advanced technologies help us to monitor your heart's activity while you go about your daily activities.
  • Medication. For many patients, medications may be all that is required to control a heart rhythm disorder.
  • Atrial fibrillation ablation. In an ablation, a thin catheter is threaded through a blood vessel in the thigh and up to the heart. Abnormal electrical activity in the heart is blocked, or "ablated" with high-frequency electrical energy. After ablation, many patients never experience arrhythmia symptoms again.
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillators. Certain heart rhythm disorders put patients at risk of their hearts suddenly stopping. An implantable defibrillator can reset the heart's rhythm should this happen.
  • Ventricular tachycardia ablation. Patients who suffer from fast heartbeats that cannot be managed with medication can often be helped through VT ablation.
  • Pacemakers. If you suffer from bradycardia, or a heartbeat that is too slow, a pacemaker may be used to help your heart maintain a normal heart rate.

What is Lee Health's approach?

Lee Health offers the most advanced and effective heart rhythm treatments to our patients. We perform more treatments for heart rhythm disorders than any other hospital in the area. In many cases, the treatments we provide are not available anywhere else in the region.

Lee Health has two fully equipped labs for ablation and device implants. These labs are staffed by nurses and technicians who work exclusively on heart rhythm disorders.

Who should I contact?

If you have symptoms of an arrhythmia or believe you may have a heart rhythm disorder, call us at 239-343-6350.

Learn more about electrophysiology studies.

View this topic in our Health Encyclopedia.

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