A harmless rhythm, sinus tachycardia is a normal increase in heart rate
that happens with fever, excitement and exercise. It does not require
treatment except in rare cases when an underlying problem, such as
anemia or hyperthyroidism, should be treated.
that originate in the heart's lower chambers, the ventricles
Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)
Characterized by a very fast heart rate,VT usually is seen in the
setting of other serious heart disease. Occasionally, it occurs in
people with normal hearts. It usually requires prompt treatment,
sometimes with medication. Sometimes it is treated with radiofrequency
ablation or surgery.Often people with VT are protected by implantation
of a defibrillator. Because VT can lead to ventricular fibrillation
(next item) it is considered a serious condition that warrants
aggressive monitoring and treatment.
(VF) Sudden cardiac death, caused by ventricular
fibrillation, poses the greatest threat and accounts for half of all
cardiac deaths. In VF, the heartbeat is rapid and chaotic,which causes
the lower heart chambers, or ventricles, to go into a spasm. Sometimes,
however, a heart attack can lead to VF. VF is abrupt and happens
without any warning and it halts all heart functioning.The lack of
oxygen throughout the body, and especially to the brain, is deadly.Also
known as cardiac arrest, sudden cardiac death is due to an electrical
circuitry problem. It is not a the same as a heart attack, or
myocardial infarction,which is a circulatory problem caused by clogged
blood vessels that cut off the supply of blood to the heart.
Although CPR can provide some
benefit, the only truly effective VF treatment is defibrillation, which
relies on paddles or electrodes to "shock" the heart back to normal
rhythm. Without treatment, loss of consciousness comes in seconds, and
death is inevitable.
Extra, early or "skipped" beats are the most frequent cause of
irregular heart rhythms.These can start in the upper or lower chambers
of the heart
Long QT Syndrome (LQTS)
Long QT Syndrome is a disorder of the electrical system. It can be
inherited, acquired after taking certain medications, or caused by a
combination of heredity and medications. People with LQTS are
susceptible to ventricular fibrillation.
When electrical impulses generated in the upper chambers of the heart
are not properly transmitted to the lower chambers,Heart Block
happens.The heart then beats too slowly,reducing the oxygen that gets
to the body and brain.
Fainting, or feeling as if one might faint, can be caused by serious
heart rhythm disorders and needs to be evaluated carefully. Sometimes
the cause is not heart related, for instance when low blood sugar is to
blame, but still can be dangerous.No matter what the cause, fainting
can be dangerous simply because of the potential for injuries from
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
When arteries are clogged to the point of decreasing or stopping the
flow of blood to the heart muscle, a lack of oxygen damages or kills
heart muscle causing a heart attack. Recognizing symptoms and getting
prompt emergency treatment can eliminate, prevent or limit the amount
of heart muscle damage.
Although not true "heart" disorders, strokes are a related condition.
While some strokes occur when a blood vessel bursts, most strokes
happen for the same reasons as a heart attack, clogged or blocked
vessels.All strokes pose serious health threats.
Heart Failure When the heart
muscle is too weak to effectively pump blood through the body, heart
failure, or cardiomyopathy, sets in. Early diagnosis and treatment can
stop or slow progression of heart failure..
Heart Valve Problems
Heart valve problems can be inherited or can develop and can wreak
havoc on the heart's ability to push blood from chamber to
chamber.Medication and surgery are treatment options.