Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center
Cardiovascular Disease Specialists & Interventional Cardiologists located in North Houston, Tomball, TX
While everyone might occasionally have a racing heartbeat, a frequent or persistent abnormal heartbeat could be a sign of a heart rhythm disorder. At Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center in Tomball, Texas, Waqar Khan, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI, Alexander Trujillo, MD, and Steven Napierkowski, MD, use state-of-the-art diagnostics to identify heart rhythm disorders and offer personalized treatment to improve and protect your heart health. Call the office or schedule a consultation online today if you’re concerned about a heart rhythm disorder.
Heart Rhythm Disorders Q & A
What are heart rhythm disorders?
Heart rhythm disorders, known clinically as arrhythmias, are irregular heartbeats — too fast, too slow, or uneven. There are several different types of arrhythmias, caused by abnormal electrical activity in the separate chambers of your heart, including:
- Premature (extra) beats
- Supraventricular arrhythmias
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial flutter
- Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular arrhythmia
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular fibrillation
Your risk of developing a heart rhythm disorder increases with age. Smoking, stress, heavy alcohol use, and drug abuse can also increase your chances of having an arrhythmia. A heart attack that damages your heart’s electrical system can also cause arrhythmia.
In some cases, you might experience a temporary irregular heartbeat if you consume too much caffeine or nicotine.
When should I talk to a doctor about an irregular heartbeat?
You should always talk to a doctor about abnormal heart symptoms. When left untreated, arrhythmias can increase your risk of heart attack or heart failure. Some of the signs of a heart rhythm disorder include:
- A fluttering feeling in your chest
- A racing heartbeat
- A slow heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
You might also have other symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, dizziness, abnormal sweating, or fainting.
How do you diagnose heart rhythm disorders?
A physician at Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center begins your diagnosis by reviewing your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle factors.
They provide a physical exam, checking your blood pressure and blood oxygenation, and listening to your heart and lungs. They also check your pulse at several points in your body and look for swelling in your feet and legs.
Your physician also orders several tests, including blood work, to rule out other conditions like thyroid disease, which can affect your heart rate.
They also use electrocardiograms to evaluate the electrical activity in your heart and echocardiograms to see how your heart is working. They perform both tests at the office for your convenience. Your doctor might use other tests, including:
- Chest X-rays
- Transesophageal echocardiography
- Stress tests
- Nuclear heart scanning
- Electrophysiologic study
- Tilt table testing
- Coronary angiography
In addition to in-office testing, your physician might provide a Holter or event monitor to record your heart activity at home over a longer period of time. A Holter monitor records your heart activity for 24-48 hours, while you use an event monitor to manually track your heart activity when you experience symptoms.
How are heart rhythm disorders treated?
Treatment for a heart rhythm disorder depends on the severity of your condition. Your physician might recommend monitoring your heart activity or prescribe medication. In some cases, they might also recommend using a vagal maneuver.
They might also recommend a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator to regulate your heartbeat. In some cases, your doctor may use radiofrequency ablation to stop the flow of irregular electrical activity in your heart. In rare cases, surgery is necessary.
If you’re concerned about an irregular heartbeat or signs of a cardiovascular health problem, call Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center, or make an appointment online today.
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