Cardiology

Radiation therapy effective against deadly heart rhythm

A single high dose of radiation aimed at the heart significantly reduces episodes of a potentially deadly rapid heart rhythm, according to results of a phase one/two study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. ...

Cardiology

Patients with cardiac devices do not adhere to driving ban

Nearly one-third of patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) resume driving despite it being medically contraindicated—a practice that is dangerous for themselves and others, and is illegal in some ...

Cardiology

Guidelines on management of fast heartbeat published today

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Guidelines on supraventricular tachycardia are published online today in European Heart Journal. The document highlights how catheter ablation is revolutionising care for this group ...

Cardiology

Who benefits from a defibrillator?

Implantable defibrillators can save lives, but also harbor risks. A major European study headed by three researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), LMU München and University Medical Center Göttingen has ...

Health

Drink coffee, avoid gallstones?

(HealthDay)—To the many ways in which coffee seems to confer unexpected health benefits, add a lowered risk of painful gallstones.

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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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