Health

Air pollution linked to deadly heart rhythm disorder

Life-threatening arrhythmias are more common on days with highly polluted air, according to research presented May 21 at Heart Failure 2022, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The study was ...

Health

Take herbal supplements with a dose of caution

Herbal supplements may be natural, but that does not mean they are always safe. A new case report appearing in Heart Rhythm Case Reports, an official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, published by Elsevier, is a case in ...

Cardiology

Insights into the dynamic ultrastructure of the heart

What happens below the cellular level when the heart contracts and relaxes has long been unexplored. Thanks to new ultra-high-resolution electron microscopy techniques, scientists can now watch the heart beating at almost ...

Genetics

New genetic risk factors for arrhythmia discovered

A recent study published in Nature Genetics identified 10 new genetic regions associated with Brugada syndrome, a cardiac arrhythmia disorder associated with sudden death in young adults.

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Cardiac dysrhythmia (also known as arrhythmia and irregular heartbeat) is any of a large and heterogeneous group of conditions in which there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart. The heart beat may be too fast or too slow, and may be regular or irregular.

Some arrhythmias are life-threatening medical emergencies that can result in cardiac arrest. Others cause symptoms such as an abnormal awareness of heart beat (palpitations), and may be merely annoying. These palpitations have also been known to be caused by atrial/ventricular fibrillation, wire faults, and other technical or mechanical issues in cardiac pacemakers/defibrillators. Still others may not be associated with any symptoms at all, but may predispose the patient to potentially life threatening stroke or embolism.

Some arrhythmias are very minor and can be regarded as normal variants. In fact, most people will on occasion feel their heart skip a beat, or give an occasional extra strong beat; neither of these is usually a cause for alarm.

Proarrhythmia is a new or more frequent occurrence of pre-existing arrhythmias, paradoxically precipitated by antiarrhythmic therapy, which means it is a side effect associated with the administration of some existing antiarrhythmic drugs, as well as drugs for other indications. In other words, it is a tendency of antiarrhythmic drugs to facilitate emergence of new arrhythmias.

The term sinus arrhythmia refers to a normal phenomenon of mild acceleration and slowing of the heart rate that occurs with breathing in and out. It is usually quite pronounced in children, and steadily decreases with age. This can also be present during meditation breathing exercises that involve deep inhaling and breath holding patterns.

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