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glossary:arrhythmia

Arrhythmia: An abnormal heart rhythm.

In an arrhythmia the heartbeats may be too slow, too rapid, too irregular, or too early. Rapid arrhythmias (greater than 100 beats per minute) are called tachycardias. Slow arrhythmias (slower than 60 beats per minute) are called bradycardias. Irregular heart rhythms are called fibrillations (as in atrial fibrillation and ventricular fibrillation). When a single heartbeat occurs earlier than normal, it is called a premature contraction.

The term arrhythmia comes from the Greek a-, loss + rhythmos, rhythm = loss of rhythm.

Common Misspellings: erythremia, arythmia

(2) An arrhythmia is an abnormality in the heart's rhythm, or heartbeat pattern. The heartbeat can be too slow, too fast, have extra beats, skip a beat, or otherwise beat irregularly.

Arrhythmias are deviations from the normal cadence of the heartbeat, which cause the heart to pump improperly. The normal heartbeat starts in the right atrium, where the heart's natural pacemaker (the sinus node) sends an electrical signal to the center of the heart to the atrioventricular node. The atrioventricular node then sends signals into the main pumping chamber to make the ventricle contract. Arrhythmias occur when the heartbeat starts in a part of the heart other than the sinus node, an abnormal rate or rhythm develops in the sinus node, or a heart conduction “block” prevents the electrical signal from traveling down the normal pathway.

(3) Sinus arrhythmia: The normal increase in heart rate that occurs during inspiration (when you breathe in). This is a natural response and is more accentuated in children than adults.

The “sinus” refers to the natural pacemaker of the heart which is called the sinoatrial (or sinus) node. It is located in the wall of the right atrium (the right upper chamber of the heart). Normal cardiac impulses start there and are transmitted to the atria and down to the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart).

Sinus tachycardia refers to a fast heartbeat (tachycardia) because of rapid firing of the sinoatrial (sinus) node. This occurs in response to exercise, exertion, excitement, pain, fever, excessive thyroid hormone, low blood oxygen (hypoxia), stimulant drugs (such as caffeine), etc.

The lack of normal sinus rhythm is an arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm.

Common Misspellings: sinus erythremia, sinus arythmia, sinius arrhythmia, sinius erythremia, sinius arythmia

glossary/arrhythmia.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/16 14:40 (external edit)