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Other Types Of Arrhythmias

There are different types of rhythm problems in the heart.

Arrhythmias, also known as dysrhythmias, are abnormal heart rhythms caused by faults in the heart’s electrical system, which can make the heart beat too fast, too slowly or in an irregular or uncoordinated way.  

Atrial Fibrillation, in which the heart beats with an irregular rhythm, is the most common of these disorders, but there are many others, some of which are harmless, and some that are dangerous and require treatment. 

It is helpful to think of arrhythmias in terms of which part of the heart they come from and also by what speed they make the heart go.   

Location of the Arrhythmia 

The top chambers are the atria and the lower chambers are the ventricles. 

Arrhythmias arising from the top chambers are sometimes called atrial arrhythmias and sometimes supraventricular arrhythmias. 

Arrhythmias arising from the lower chambers are called ventricular arrhythmias. 

 

Speed of the Arrhythmia 

Slow heart rates are called bradycardias. 

Fast heart rates are called tachycardias. 

 Arrhythmias can be short-duration beats occurring as single skips and thumps or short bursts. These are called ectopic beats. 

Heart Rhythm Terminology

Normal Heart Rhythm Terminology:

  • Sinus Rhythm: Normal heart rhythm and normal heart rate 
  • Sinus Tachycardia: Normal heart rhythm and high heart rate (such as with exercise) 
  • Sinus Bradycardia: Normal heart rhythm and low heart rate (such as during deep sleep) 

 

Atrial Arrhythmia Examples: 

  • Atrial ectopic beats – intermittent skips or thumps from the atria.
  • Atrial tachycardia – fast heart beat from the atria.
  • Atrial fibrillation – chaotic, irregular electrical currents at high heart rates, originating from the atria.
  • Atrial flutter – a regular, rapid electrical circuit flowing around the atria.
  • Supraventricular tachycardia – fast electrical circuit that conducts to the ventricles via abnormal extra pathways. 

 

Ventricular Arrhythmia Examples: 

  • Ventricular ectopic beats: intermittent skips or thumps from the ventricles. 
  • Ventricular tachycardia: fast heart beat from the ventricles.
  • Ventricular fibrillation: chaotic, irregular fast rhythm in the ventricles – this is the rhythm also called a Cardiac Arrest.

 

Slow Arrhythmia Examples (Bradycardias): 

  • Sinus node dysfunction: the natural ‘pacemaker’ of the heart is slow and unreliable
  • Heart block, also known as AV node Conduction Disease: the nerve bundle which conducts the electrical signals from the atria to the ventricles becomes slow and unreliable. 

Treatments for Other Arrhythmias

cardioversion treatment icon
Cardioversion
radiofrequency ablation
Radiofrequency Ablation
cryoablation
Cryoablation
implantable cardioverter defibrillator
Defibrillators
left atrial appendage closure
Left Atrial Appendage Closures