Heart Rhythm Disorders

What Is Heart Rhythm Disorder?

An arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rhythm, beating too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly. The heart muscles pumping action of contraction and relaxation is regulated by a unique system called the heart’s electrical system.  Arrhythmias are caused when the electrical system of the heart isn't working properly. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation also known as AFIB, where the heart rhythm is too fast, too slow or skips a beat.  Left untreated, AFIB can lead to serious illness and is the leading cause of stroke.

Some common causes of abnormal heartbeats are:

  • Abnormal levels of potassium or other substances
  • Heart attack, or a damaged heart muscle from a past heart attack
  • Heart disease that is present at birth (congenital)
  • Heart failure, enlarged heart or overactive thyroid gland

In some cases, arrhythmias may also be caused by some substances or drugs.


What Are the Symptoms of an Arrhythmia?

Symptoms of an arrhythmia include a heartbeat that may be too slow (bradycardia), too quick (tachycardia), regular, uneven, or skipping beats. An arrhythmia may be present all of the time or it may come and go.  You may or may not feel symptoms when the arrhythmia is present or you may only notice symptoms when you are more active.  Symptoms can be very mild, or they may be severe or even life-threatening.

Common symptoms that may occur when the arrhythmia is present include:

  • Chest pain
  • Paleness
  • Sweating
  • Fainting, light-headedness, or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath


Treatment Options

When medication is not enough or when an arrhythmia is serious, you may need urgent treatment to restore a normal rhythm. The following are some treatments options available at Bartow Regional Medical Center.

  • An implantable cardiac defibrillator is a device implanted near your heart to prevent heart attacks placed in people who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death
  • Pacemaker, (including conventional single chamber device as well as the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System), a device that senses when your heart is beating irregularly, too slowly, or too fast. It sends a signal to your heart that makes your heart beat at the correct pace.

For more information or a physician referral, call (863) 280-6077 or visit find a Doctor.

Learn more about heart and vascular services at BayCare.