First Aid, CPR

What is Cardiac Arrhythmia?

What is Cardiac Arrhythmia?

Cardiac arrhythmia is a medical condition that alters the rhythm of the heartbeat and causes an irregular heart rate. As a result of cardiac arrhythmia, the heart may beat abnormally, either too quickly or too slowly. Irregular heartbeat may lead to serious health issues, including heart failure and stroke.

In this post, we will explore the different types of cardiac arrhythmias, causes and risk factors, common symptoms, diagnosis, available treatments, and preventative measures. We also introduce CPRMETER made available by BEATLIFE, which is a CPR feedback device that can be highly beneficial for individuals with cardiac arrhythmia in case of emergencies.

What is Cardiac Arrhythmia?

Cardiac arrhythmia, which is often referred to as cardiac dysrhythmia, is an irregular heart rhythm that is due to the irregular heart’s electrical activity. This condition may impact the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively and may result in a number of symptoms and problems.

The natural pacemaker in the heart regulates the heartbeat by sending electrical signals. A synchronized electrical system is required for the heart to beat and circulate blood throughout the body. The heart heavily relies on this electrical system to provide the body with an oxygen supply.

Specialized cells in the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles) and upper chambers (atria) control this electrical system. In a normal heart rhythm, these cells produce electrical signals that move through the heart in a regular sequence, causing the heart to contract and relax.

On the other hand, electrical signals might become distorted or obstructed in cardiac arrhythmia cases, which can result in an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. Various factors can cause this disruption, including abnormalities in the levels of electrolytes, damage to the heart muscle, and issues with the electrical pathways of the heart.

What Are the Different Types of Cardiac Arrhythmias?
What Are the Different Types of Cardiac Arrhythmias?

What Are the Different Types of Cardiac Arrhythmias?

Cardiac arrhythmias include a wide range of irregular heart rhythms categorized as different types of cardiac arrhythmias that can impact people of any age group. There are several types of cardiac arrhythmia. Therefore, understanding different types of cardiac arrhythmias would be essential in recognizing the symptoms, preventing the probable risks, and seeking proper treatment.

1. Atrial Fibrillation (AFib):

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. An identifying characteristic is the rapid and irregular electrical impulses in the atria the upper chambers of the heart.

These rapid electrical impulses can cause a quick and irregular heart rate, which results in increasing the risk of stroke and blood clots. This type is more common in elderly adults and people with underlying heart conditions, such as heart failure, hypertension, or coronary artery disease.

2. Ventricular Fibrillation:

Ventricular fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that affects the ventricles the lower chambers of the heart. This condition occurs when the electrical signals in the heart become disorganized and chaotic, resulting in the ventricles quivering instead of contracting normally. Defibrillation is an urgent medical measure necessary for ventricular fibrillation since it can cause cardiac arrest.

3. Ventricular Tachycardia:

Ventricular tachycardia is considered a serious type of arrhythmia due to the fact that it can cause sudden cardiac arrest. People with a history of heart disease or heart attacks are more likely to experience this type of arrhythmia.

Ventricular tachycardia occurs when the ventricles produce rapid electrical signals. This condition may result in a rapid and regular heartbeat, which may induce fainting, dizziness, and chest pain. Ventricular tachycardia can be sustained or non-sustained. Sustained episodes last longer than 30 seconds.

4. Supraventricular Tachycardia:

Supraventricular tachycardia is a broad term typically referring to any arrhythmia that originates above the ventricles. There are various subtypes of supraventricular tachycardia, such as atrial and atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia.

People having this condition experience rapid heartbeat that can be triggered by factors such as stress, caffeine, alcohol, or certain medications. Supraventricular tachycardia is more common among women and young adults.

5. Bradycardia:

People with Bradycardia experience a slow heartbeat, which can be a result of aging, medications, or underlying medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or hypothyroidism.

Bradycardia occurs when a delay or blockage takes place in the heart’s electrical signals, which leads to a slow heart rate. Some symptoms of this condition are fatigue, dizziness, and fainting.

6. Congenital Heart Block:

Cardiac arrhythmias can also affect children; Congenital heart block would be one of the examples. This condition is caused by a disruption in the electrical signals that travel between the ventricles and atria, which results in an abnormally slow heart rate. Congenital heart block can occur at birth or develop later during infancy and early childhood.

What are the Symptoms of Cardiac Arrhythmia?

The type, degree, and severity of cardiac arrhythmia can affect the symptoms a person experiences. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Palpitations or fluttering sensations in the chest
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Dizziness or lightheadedness
  4. Chest pain or discomfort
  5. Fatigue or weakness
  6. Fainting or near-fainting

In case of identifying any of these symptoms, it is advised to seek medical attention immediately.

How to check for arrhythmia at home?

Monitoring heart rate is a critical step to ensure the general health and well-being of people with cardiac arrhythmia. Since this condition can result in serious health issues such as stroke, heart failure, or sudden cardiac arrest, monitoring heart rate can help to prevent any potential risk by identifying any abnormalities in patients’ heart rhythm and taking appropriate measures.

The most basic way to monitor heart rate is a simple pulse test with the use of index and middle fingers on your left wrist. Search for a pulse and check for a consistent rhythm.

Another way to monitor heart rate is by using a CPRMETER. It is a CPR feedback device made available by BEATLIFE. CPRMETER provides real-time feedback during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This device can be used to monitor the heart rate. It also can be beneficial during emergencies as it helps ensure that CPR is performed effectively, which is critical in saving lives when it comes to cardiac arrest.

What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Cardiac Arrhythmia?
What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Cardiac Arrhythmia?

What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Cardiac Arrhythmia?

There are a number of factors that can increase the chance of developing cardiac arrhythmia, such as:

  1. Age
  2. Family history
  3. Underlying heart conditions
  4. High blood pressure
  5. Diabetes
  6. Lifestyle

What Reduces or Prevents Cardiac Arrhythmias?

Lifestyle modifications can help in managing cardiac arrhythmia in addition to medicinal treatment. There are a number of strategies that can help in reducing or preventing the risks of cardiac arrhythmia, such as:

  1. Quit smoking
  2. Reduce alcohol consumption
  3. Manage stress
  4. Exercise regularly
  5. Maintain a healthy weight
  6. Follow a heart-healthy diet

Can you live a long, healthy life with arrhythmia?

Cardiac arrhythmia might result in serious health issues if left untreated. Some likely health complications may include heart failure, stroke, or sudden cardiac arrest.

However, most individuals with cardiac arrhythmia can enjoy normal lives with the proper medical care and management. Although living with cardiac arrhythmia can be rather challenging, there are resources available to help manage this condition. Some tips include:

  1. Educate yourself
  2. Seek healthcare and consult with medical personnel 
  3. Practice stress-management techniques
  4. Stay active in activities you enjoy


In conclusion, cardiac arrhythmia is a serious condition that requires proper diagnosis and medical treatment. It is advised to immediately seek medical attention and consult with a professional when experiencing any symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia. Most people with cardiac arrhythmia enjoy their normal lives if treated and managed properly.

Reviewed by Dr Jamshidi Mohammad Reza


About Payam Sahraro

Greetings! I am Payam, a committed and qualified rescuer connected to the prestigious Red Crescent Society. My enthusiasm for rescuing people has driven me into the exciting field of emergency response. I bring to you a wealth of first-hand knowledge and experience, along with a dedication to staying up to date on the latest advancements in CPR and related topics. As the brains behind the Beatlife blog, I want to impart not only academic knowledge but also real-world experience and practical wisdom from my time spent providing emergency medical care. Come along for the ride as I walk you through the nuances of CPR, how to save lives, and how pre-hospital care is always changing. Together, let's equip people with the abilities and information required to make a difference at critical times. Welcome to a place where knowledge and compassion meet, where each click advances our goal of creating a safer and healthier community.

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