Arrhythmia Definition, Diagnosis, Signs and symptoms, Reason, Treatment

What is Arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a general term for conditions of heart rhythm disturbances. Read the meaning, causes, symptoms, and ways to treat arrhythmias here.

Arrhythmia is a general term for conditions of heart rhythm disturbances. Read the meaning, causes, symptoms, and ways to treat arrhythmias here.


Medical specialist Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels.
Symptoms Heart palpitations, fatigue or weakness easily, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, shortness of breath, and sudden cardiac arrest.
Risk factors Hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, stress, lack of sleep, smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug abuse.
Cara diagnosis The complete interview, physical examination, and examination of heart records.
Treatment Prevent the formation of blood clots in the heart, regulate the heart rate to be normal, and control risk factors.
Drug Blood thinning drugs, heart rhythm control drugs, heart ablation, and pacemaker installation.
Complications Dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s, sudden cardiac arrest.
When should you go to the doctor? Experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, and palpitations.

Arrhythmia Definition

Arrhythmia is a general term for conditions that affect the rhythm of the heart.

Under normal conditions, the heart will beat regularly with the amount of 60-80 times per minute.

However, in an arrhythmic condition, the heart beats irregularly, beats faster, or beats slower than normal.

Arrhythmia Type

There are several types of arrhythmias, including:

  • atrial fibrillation, which is an arrhythmia due to the heart’s chambers only vibrating, but not contracting regularly;
  • bradycardia, that is, the heart beats slower than it should;
  • tachycardia, which is the heart beating faster than it should; as well as
  • heart conduction disorders, namely arrhythmias caused by the electrical flow in the heart organ does not work properly;
  • Ventricular fibrillation, which is an arrhythmia that occurs when the chambers of the heart only vibrate and do not contract regularly.

Arrhythmia is a serious condition because it can cause sufferers to experience repeated strokes and sudden cardiac arrest.

Arrhythmia Reason

Under normal conditions, the heart can beat regularly and at a normal rate.

This activity can occur due to electrical signals originating from the sinoatrial (SA) node, which is located in the right atrium of the heart.

The electrical signal will be transmitted to the left atrium, the two heart chambers, and the heart muscle until finally the heart beats regularly. However, things are different for people with arrhythmias.

In an arrhythmic condition, there is a disturbance in the SA node, interference with the flow of electricity from the SA node to other parts of the heart, or because of a power source other than the SA node that is also trying to make the heartbeat.

These things can be found in the following conditions:

  • coronary heart disease
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • congenital heart defects
  • elderly
  • electrolyte disturbances such as potassium, magnesium, or calcium
  • consumption of narcotics such as cocaine, amphetamines, or alcohol
  • certain drug side effects
  • thyroid hormone disorders
  • sleep apnea
  • cardiomyopathy
  • heart valve abnormalities

Arrhythmia Risk Factor

In addition to the medical conditions above, this heart rhythm disorder can also be triggered by an unhealthy lifestyle, such as:

  • lack of sleep
  • smoking
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks
  • can’t manage stress well
  • drug abuse

Arrhythmia Symptoms

Symptoms of arrhythmias vary widely. Some people with arrhythmias don’t have any symptoms.

In fact, this disease can be discovered accidentally when examined by a doctor.

There are also arrhythmia sufferers who complain of heart palpitations. Other complaints that can be experienced by patients with arrhythmic heart disease are:

  • heart beating faster than normal (tachycardia)
  • heart beats slower than normal (bradycardia)
  • feeling tired or weak
  • dizzy like flying
  • fainting, sometimes fainting occurs repeatedly
  • chest pain
  • hard to breathe
  • sudden cardiac arrest

Arrhythmia Diagnosis

To determine the diagnosis of arrhythmia, at an early stage the doctor will collect information related to the complaints experienced by the patient, as well as perform a thorough physical examination.

After that, the doctor will perform an examination of the heart record (electrocardiography / EKG).

In this examination, the patient is at rest lying down. The medical team will install 12 electrical leads to assess the electrical flow of the heart.

However, if the arrhythmia occurs intermittently, the ECG examination cannot always detect the abnormality that occurs.

In general, other tests will be required, such as:

1. Monitor holter

ECG examination performed for 24-72 hours. In this examination, a portable ECG device will be attached to the patient’s body.

Then the doctor will study the picture of the patient’s heart rhythm during the period of time the Holter monitor is installed.

2. Treadmill test

ECG examination conducted on patients who do activities walking or running on a treadmill.

This examination is generally necessary in cases of arrhythmias triggered by strenuous physical activity.

3. Electrophysiology test

Examination to determine the course of the heart’s electrical flow.

This examination can also find out which parts of the heart are experiencing electrical signal disturbances.

This examination is done by laying the patient down, giving local anesthesia, then the doctor will insert a kind of catheter tube into the heart.

Arrhythmia Treatment

Arrhythmias are treated by a cardiologist. The goals of treatment include:

  1. prevent the formation of blood clots in the heart due to irregular heartbeat. This is important because if there is a blood clot in the heart that escapes to the brain, a stroke can occur at any time
  2. regulate the heart rate as close to normal as possible
  3. treat heart disease that causes arrhythmias
  4. control the patient’s risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes

Arrhythmia drugs that can be used include:

  • Blood-thinning medications to prevent clotting, such as warfarin
  • Antiarrhythmic drugs that help control heart rhythm which consist of 5 drug classes, namely:
  • antiarrhythmic golongan I: Lidocaine, Propafenone
  • class II antiarrhythmics: Propranolol and esmolol
  • class III anti-arrhythmic: Amiodarone
  • class IV antiarrhythmics: Diltiazem, Verapamil
  • class V antiarrhythmics: Digoxin

In addition to drugs that also do not help, some actions can be taken by doctors in certain conditions, namely:

  • Ablation

If the arrhythmia is not controlled despite various drugs, sometimes ablation is necessary. This action aims to “turn off” abnormal electrical signals in the heart.

  • Pacemaker

If the arrhythmia is accompanied by severe symptoms, such as loss of consciousness, shock, shortness of breath, or severe chest pain, immediate cardioversion is necessary.

Cardioversion is performed by giving an electric shock to the heart with a DC shock device.

  • Pacemaker

If the arrhythmia is a very slow heart rate and does not improve after the medication is given, a pacemaker may be needed.

  • ICD

An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a tool to detect signs of cardiac arrest. This device automatically conducts electricity when the heart beats too slow or too fast.

This tool works to prevent heart failure conditions and heart attacks.


To reduce the risk of arrhythmia, there are several things that should be considered, such as:

  • control blood pressure and cholesterol to stay within normal ranges
  • maintain an ideal weight
  • avoid exposure to cigarette smoke
  • do exercise regularly at least 4 times every week


Arrhythmia conditions can worsen and lead to a variety of serious complications, including:

When to go to the doctor?

Immediately see a doctor if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and sudden heart palpitations.

After people complain of the above symptoms and then suddenly faint, immediately take them to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

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