Cardiology

Computer program predicts risk of deadly irregular heart beats

Combining a wealth of information derived from previous studies with data from more than 500 patients, an international team led by researchers from Johns Hopkins has developed a computer-based set of rules that more accurately ...

Cardiology

How long do people need to be monitored after fainting?

For the first time, physicians in the Emergency Department (ED) have evidence-based recommendations on how best to catch the life-threatening conditions that make some people faint. New research published in Circulation suggests ...

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Cardiac arrhythmia

Cardiac arrhythmia (also dysrhythmia) is a term for 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 and sudden death. Others cause symptoms such as an abnormal awareness of heart beat (palpitations), and may be merely annoying. Still others may not be associated with any symptoms at all, but predispose toward potentially life-threatening stroke or embolus.

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

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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