Arrhythmias are classified into two main categories: arrhythmias that begin in the atria and arrhythmias that begin in the ventricles. The types are determined by where they originate and the speed of the heart rate they cause. The two most common types of arrhythmias are tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and bradycardia (slow heartbeat). Let’s take a closer look at some of the common types of arrhythmias.
Atrial Fibrillation - You may have heard this condition referred to as “A-fib.” It’s a common heart rhythm disorder that affects about 2.5 million Americans. Individuals with A-fib have multiple electrical signals occurring from the atria that cause an irregular heartbeat, which causes the heart to beat to fast or too slow.
Atrial Flutter (AF) – Similar to A-fib, atrial flutter is characterized by a rapid heartbeat. However, unlike A-fib, this condition is caused by a single electrical wave that circulates very rapidly in the atrium, which leads to a very fast, steady heartbeat.
Sick Sinus Syndrome (SSS) – This is a condition in which the sinus node, your heart’s natural electrical pacemaker, is not working properly. With Sick Sinus Syndrome, the heart may send out electrical signals either too slowly or too fast.
Sinus Tachycardia - Sinus tachycardia is a normal increase in heart rate that happens with fever, excitement and exercise. This condition rarely requires treatment.
Supraventricular Arrhythmias – This type of arrhythmia begins in the atria or the upper chambers of the heart.
Ventricular Arrhythmias – This type begins in the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart.
Ventricular Fibrillation - A condition in which many electrical signals are sent from the ventricles at a very fast and erratic rate. As a result, the ventricles are unable to fill with blood and pump.
Ventricular Tachycardia - A life-threatening condition in which an electrical signal is sent from the ventricles at a very fast but often regular rate. If the heart rate is sustained at a high rate for more than 30 seconds, symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, dizziness, fainting, or palpitations may be experienced.
Long QT Syndrome – This condition is an electric system disorder in which the heart cells take longer than normal to recover electrically after each heartbeat. Individuals with this condition may be at high risk of ventricular fibrillation.
Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome–Often shorted to WPW, this is a type of abnormal heartbeat. If you have WPW, you may have episodes of tachycardia, when your heart beats very rapidly.
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