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Irregular Heart Rhythms

The electrical system in your heart controls your heart rate (how many times your heart beats in a minute) and your heart rhythm (how regularly your heart beats). Normally, all four chambers of your heart beat at the same rate and rhythm. A disturbance of the electrical system may cause premature (early) beats or unusual rhythms called "dysrhythmias." The heart's rate and rhythm may be disturbed after a heart attack or heart surgery, or may occur as a result of some other underlying disease. There are two common types of dysrhymthmais:

  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate): A heart rhythm with a heart rate below 60 beats per minute
  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate): A heart rhythm with a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute

Medical Management

  • Medications
  • Cardioversions


Catheter Ablation: During this procedure, electrical energy is delivered through a catheter to tiny areas of your heart muscle. This energy disrupts the abnormal pathways causing the abnormal rhythm. Ablation therapy is used to treat SVTs, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, AV nodal re-entrant tachycardia, and ventricular tachycardia.


Biventricular Pacing/Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)

A biventricular pacemaker may be included as part of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator or as a separate device. It is a small device similar to a regular pacemaker. It is implanted under the skin of your upper chest, and helps correct and restore your heart's rhythm.

Implantable defibrillator

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic, battery-powered device that is surgically placed beneath your skin. Wires are inserted through the veins, positioned in your heart, and then connected to the ICD. This allows information to travel between your heart and the ICD, and helps the ICD monitor your heart rhythm problem. If your heart beats too slowly, an electrical impulse stimulates your heartbeat. A specific type of ICD, known as CRT-D, may also be necessary to help coordinate the pumping action of the heart muscles. This treatment is called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).