We Treat Patients Like Family
At The Cardiac & Vascular Interventional Group, or CVIG, our medical staff wants patients to know that we are their partners and guide them towards a healthier lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is impossible without a healthy heart. In fact, a healthy heart is essential to your overall wellbeing. One of the problems that can arise is called an arrhythmia.
What Is an Arrhythmia?
Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms that prevent your heart from filling with enough blood because the heart beats either too quickly (tachycardia) or too slowly (bradycardia). To understand what an arrhythmia is, it helps to understand the electrical system of the heart. When this is a problem with the heart’s electrical system that controls a steady heartbeat, your heart may beat irregularly. The heart is supposed to contracts in a steady rhythm and pump oxygenated blood throughout the body. Your cardiologist can diagnose heart arrhythmias (heartbeat abnormalities) through an electrocardiogram (EKG). Without treatment, arrhythmias can become serious and lead to heart failure, stroke, or cardiac arrest.
Symptoms of arrhythmias include:
- Feeling heart palpitations (a sensation of fluttering within the chest)
- Low blood pressure
- Dizziness and difficulty balancing
- And more
How Are Arrhythmias Diagnosed & Treated?
Electrocardiograms, or EKGs, are highly advanced, non-invasive tests performed in our clinic. It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes. The test measures your heart’s electrical activity, which can help diagnose arrhythmias. If your cardiologist suspects you have heart rhythm abnormalities, you will be prescribed a Holter Monitoring to evaluate irregularities, medically known as arrhythmias. The Holter Monitor is a small, portable device attached to the chest via several electrodes and records activity for 24 hours. You will be asked to keep a log of your activities and any cardiac symptoms you experience while wearing the monitor. Once the Holter monitor is removed, a computer analyzes the data.
Your doctor will discuss the different treatment choices for you, and together you can choose the best treatment plan. The treatment options you have will vary depending on your problem and its severity, and if you have other overlapping conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or heart failure. Apart from making lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and stress, there are other medical interventions your doctor can use to get your heart to beat normally. Medical interventions may include medication, devices, cardiac ablation, and surgery.
When Should I See a Doctor?
Tell your primary care physician if you have symptoms of an arrhythmia, who may refer you to a cardiology specialist for further testing and treatment. While some arrhythmias cause few, if any, problems, others can lead to serious, life-threatening complications. There are many treatment options for arrhythmia so you can have a better quality of life. Make sure to ask questions if you need answers about what caused your arrhythmia and how you can change your lifestyle to manage your symptoms. For example, you may have questions about why a new medication or treatment is necessary and how it will help you. If you have future follow-up appointments, write down the date, time, and visit purpose.