An irregular or abnormal heartbeat is medically referred to as arrhythmia. Arrhythmias are characterized by abnormal cardiac rhythms, which may range from a rapid heart rate to a sluggish heart rate or perhaps no discernible rhythm at all. Arrhythmia, if left untreated, may cause potentially fatal consequences such as heart failure, stroke, and cardiac arrest.
This article will talk about what type of arrhythmia is most life threatening, can arrhythmia kill you, and other important queries about this illness.
How Do You Determine an Arrhythmia?
The most common way to determine whether an individual has an arrhythmia is to perform an electrocardiogram. This type of test is also known as an Holter monitor or ambulatory ECG monitoring and requires some people to wear a device for a set amount of time. Electrocardiograms, or ECGs, are the gold standard for diagnosing irregular heartbeats (ECG). Your heart health may require additional monitoring if the ECG turns up negative for any abnormalities, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) device may require you to wear it for a day or more.
Type of Life-threatening Arrhythmia
The question; ‘can arrhythmia kill you?’ depends on the type of arrhythmia you may have. Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats, and certain of them may lead to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), which is potentially fatal. SCA is an uneven heartbeat caused by a problem with the heart’s functioning and accounts for 50% of cardiovascular deaths. Some of the symptoms of a cardiac arrest include:
- A condition characterized by the inability to react even to taps on the shoulder
- Irregular respiratory patterns
- Absence of heartbeat
There are quite a few answers to the query; what type of arrhythmia is most life threatening; the various arrhythmias that may result in SCA are listed below.
Trial flutter is a dangerous form of arrhythmia. The top chambers of the heart (the atria) beat too fast and flutter instead of completely squeezing, and this is what causes atrial fibrillation. The symptoms of atrial flutter are concerning, but more so is the fact that the condition may lead to a stroke, which can lead to lifelong disability or death. So, in light of the question can arrhythmia kill you, this one can.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a common test to diagnose atrial flutter. An ECG will show the abnormal heart rhythm and determine whether any treatment is necessary. Holter monitoring, another diagnostic tool, can record heart rhythm data for 24 hours or more, depending on the circumstances.
Treatment for atrial flutter involves slowing the heart rate and converting it to a normal sinus rhythm. There are several methods for slowing the heart rate, for instance, calcium-channel blockers, digoxin, beta-blockers, antiarrhythmic drugs, and electrical cardioversion. These techniques are effective for many people, but they can pose certain risks, including an increased risk of stroke.
Cardioversion is a common procedure for converting atrial flutter to a normal heart rhythm. This treatment is divided into two main types; electrical and pharmacological cardioversion.
In electric cardioversion, a machine with electrodes is used to provide brief, low-energy shocks to the heart. A medical professional can immediately tell whether an irregular heartbeat has been normalized after an electric cardioversion.
Medications are used in chemical (pharmacological) cardioversion to normalize the heart’s rhythm. The results are slower than electric cardioversions. Your doctor could suggest cardioversion using drugs instead of electric shocks to the heart, to restore heart rhythm.
Patients with heart disease are more prone to contracting atrial flutter than people without it. But people with heart disease are at risk for atrial flutter. If left untreated, atrial flutter can lead to more serious complications, including stroke and heart failure. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider, you can get an answer to what type of arrhythmia is most life threatening, and whether you are suffering from one.
Abnormal cardiac rhythms (arrhythmia) include ventricular fibrillation. The lower heart chambers (ventricles) twitch ineffectively due to a lack of coordinated cardiac impulses in a condition known as ventricular fibrillation. This causes the heart to stop working and no longer provide the body with blood.
The heart rhythm disorder ventricular fibrillation is considered a medical emergency and needs rapid medical intervention. If left untreated, ventricular fibrillation can result in cardiac arrest and death. It most commonly occurs after a heart attack, when the muscle within the heart is left without adequate blood flow. Many different things may set off V-fib, and some of them are:
- Weak cardiac muscle due to inadequate blood supply
- Cardiac muscle injury
- Problems with the aorta
- Drug-induced toxicity
The main symptoms of ventricular fibrillation are palpitations, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. Some people have warning signals, such as a rapid or irregular heart rate, before an episode of ventricular fibrillation. Some of these potential signs include:
- Chest pain
- Problems with breathing
In emergencies, a doctor can diagnose ventricular fibrillation with a heart monitor, usually after the patient has passed out or is unconscious. The ECG reads the electrical impulses in the heart’s muscle cells. An ECHO can also reveal pericardial fluid. In some patients, an induced monomorphic ventricular arrhythmia is a candidate for an ICD.
Torsade De Pointes
Torsade de pointes is a life-threatening form of ventricular tachycardia. This arrhythmia is related to a prolonged QT interval, which can be either congenital or acquired. As an answer to the question: can arrhythmia kill you, if Torsades de Pointes does not stop, the heart can degenerate into ventricular fibrillation, causing cardiac arrest as a result.
This severe form of ventricular tachycardia presents with irregular and rapid QRS complexes. It may stop or degenerate into ventricular fibrillation, which is lethal. The clinical diagnosis of this condition is confirmed by the presence of a prolonged QT interval, and unstable sequences of ventricular depolarization.
Treatment includes an implantable automatic cardioverter-defibrillator, especially for patients who have survived a cardiac arrest. The device is inserted into the chest through wires and measures the heart rhythm. When a Torsade de Pointes episode occurs, the device automatically detects the condition and shocks the heart to restore normal heart rhythm.
Third-degree AV block
As a result of the SA node’s inability to regulate heart rate in the absence of normal AV conduction, cardiac output may be reduced due to improper atrioventricular coordination. The atria contract when the signal should reach the ventricles, instead of the other way around. The result is a decreased cardiac output.
The clinical presentation of third-degree AV block is variable and may include generalized fatigue, chest pain, dyspnea, presyncope, and significant hemodynamic instability. The symptoms are often worse than the severity of the block, and the patient may require a permanent pacemaker. The diagnosis of third-degree AV block is critical and requires immediate intervention.
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