Heart Rhythm Problems can be worrying so understanding the condition can help establish an effective treatment plan. Appropriate management can be put in place to help ease the symptoms through the use of management, medication or surgery.
What are Heart Rhythm Problems?
Most people with an abnormal heart rhythm can lead a normal life if it is properly diagnosed. According to the NHS, the symptoms are experienced by more than 2 million people a year in the UK.
Our Heart Rhythm Abnormalities blog goes into more details about the different types of arrhythmias.
Arrhythmias can affect all age groups, but atrial fibrillation is more common in older people. Drinking alcohol in excess or being overweight increases your likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation.
You may also be at risk of developing an arrhythmia if your heart tissue is damaged because of an illness – for example, if you have had a heart attack or have heart failure.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Heart Rhythm Problems
How you describe your symptoms will often help narrow down the possibilities. However, correlation of your symptoms with an electrocardiogram (ECG) recording is essential to an accurate diagnosis.
A resting ECG can often provide a clue to the diagnosis even when recorded in the absence of any symptoms. Patients with a normal resting ECG are unlikely to have a dangerous rhythm abnormality. The likelihood of this is even less if the heart is normal. A simple ultrasound scan of the heart (echocardiogram) can detect many structural abnormalities.
Continuous or intermittent ambulatory ECG monitoring can help capture symptoms that are intermittent. If that is unsuccessful, insertion of an implantable loop recorder under the skin can help with symptoms that only occur occasionally. If symptom-rhythm correlation still remains elusive a diagnostic electrophysiology study can be performed.
Treatment for Heart Rhythm Problems
Depending on the results of the assessment, treatment options will range from management with medicines, catheter ablation or insertion of a cardiovascular implantable electronic device such as a pacemaker or cardioverter-defibrillator.
This can be carried out at the same time as the diagnostic electrophysiology study or at a later stage. Energy is delivered through one of the wires in your heart to damage the abnormal electrical circuits responsible for your symptoms.
If you have experienced symptoms, you might think are related to heart rhythm disturbance or have been diagnosed with an arrhythmia, please discuss with your general practitioner whether referral is appropriate.
Make An Appointment
To make an appointment please contact Dr David Begley’s Private Secretary:
Lynn Thomas, Tel: 01223 850 423