An arrhythmia is an electrical malfunction that causes the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. An irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmia. When a person suffers from AF, cardiac signals are erratic, which contributes to the decline in cardiac pump efficiency, and thereby, increase the formation of blood clots that can lead to a stroke. An arrhythmia can also force the heart to overwork to the point heart failure.
While some people do not have any symptoms, others may feel palpitations - heart fluttering, fainting, and chest pain. AF is often described as having difficulty breathing, even at rest.
Our cardiologists begin by taking a complete medical history and conducting a thorough examination. From there, an electrocardiogram (EKG) may be recommended. If AF is noticed to be intermittent, then this condition is most likely not seen on a typical EKG recording. In this event, you may be advised to wear a small portable ECG instrument, known as a holter monitor, which records EKGs for 12-48 hours.
Early detection and prompt treatment can significantly reduce the risk of a stroke. With appropriate treatment, AF can be corrected. Options include: