Arrhythmia refers to an abnormal heartbeat. An arrhythmia is a faster than normal heartbeat, slower than average or irregular. Arrhythmias can cause your heartbeat to be faster than normal in order to maintain blood supply. They can cause dizziness, fainting, and lightheadedness in people who are affected. While some arrhythmias are harmless, others can cause serious problems or even death. An arrhythmia can lead to cardiac arrest in severe cases. Arrhythmias can be diagnosed by physicians using a variety of tests.
This test gives your doctor a general idea of your heart rate. The test is typically done in the doctor’s chair. Electrodes or patches are attached at various points on your chest, arms and legs. The patches record the activity of your heart and show you a picture of your heartbeat. This pattern will be examined by your doctor to determine if you have any heart problems. It is quick and painless.
Event monitors and devices
Arrhythmias can occur at any time. It is difficult to chart irregular heartbeats using an ECG. Sometimes, monitoring your heart for a prolonged period of time is necessary in some cases. These monitors are available at home and can be used to record your heartbeat.
The Holter monitor tracks your heart activity for 24 to 48 hours. Similar to the ECG, the Holter monitor tracks your heart rhythm and attaches electrodes or patches. This gives your doctor an overall view of your heart activity.
Event monitors can be used by people who experience less severe symptoms but can’t reach a doctor on time. There are two types of event monitors: looping memory and symptom monitors. Both can be taken with you and are lightweight. The symptom event monitors can be worn on bracelets or as handheld devices. They have small metal discs that act as electrodes. To record an event, hold the device close to your chest. The looping memory monitor measures approximately the same size as a pager. The monitor connects to your body via electrodes that are always attached to it. Once activated, it can be set up to record your ECG for a predetermined amount of time. Your doctor can access the information stored in the recorder to help them analyze it later.
Implantable loop recorders
The device is implanted beneath your skin and records your heart activity. It’s similar to an event monitor. Your doctor or you can program the device to record arrhythmias when they occur. You can also trigger it with a remote.
Your doctor may recommend additional tests to determine the cause or type of arrhythmia.
A stress test for exercise is a test that measures how your heart responds to stress and exercise. It can also be used to determine if the arrhythmia may be related to exertion. As with an ECG, your doctor will attach electrodes and ask you to pedal a stationary bike or run on a treadmill for a while to monitor your heart.
You can also have a stress test done with medication. You will be monitored using an ECG and Echocardiogram.
People who are frequently fainting can use this test. Your doctor will take your heart rate, blood pressure, and position on the table. Repeat this process several times if the table moves. To assess how your heart reacts to certain conditions, your doctor may give you medication via IV. It takes approximately 60 minutes.
Studies in electrical physiological research
This procedure can be used to diagnose arrhythmias in patients who have had heart attacks or have tachycardia. To study the rhythm of your heart, your doctor will insert thin wire electrodes into one of your veins.