What is arrhythmia?

There are several abnormal heart rhythm conditions that need medical attention. An irregular heartbeat is an arrhythmia (also called dysrhythmia).

A heart arrhythmia causes your heart to beat too slow, too fast or irregularly. Some arrhythmias may be harmless, while others may be more serious and require lifestyle changes and medical intervention.

Atrial fibrillation (commonly called Afib or AF) is one of the most common types of abnormal heart rhythms. Afib occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat chaotically and irregularly out of coordination with the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). Common symptoms of Afib are heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. Atrial fibrillation can increase your risk for heart failure, stroke and other heart conditions.

Common arrhythmias of the heart we treat

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Atrial flutter
  • Atrioventricular block
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Multifocal atrial tachycardia
  • Premature atrial contraction
  • Premature ventricular beats
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Sinus tachycardia
  • Sinus bradycardia
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

Heart arrhythmia treatment

Some arrhythmias may cause few, if any, problems. In this case, you may not need treatment; however, when the abnormal heart rhythm causes symptoms, your Baylor Scott & White Health team will give you options for arrhythmia treatment. Baylor Scott & White has electrophysiologists on the medical staff who specialize in heart rate and rhythm problems.

Treatment plans for patients will be determined by their care team based on age, medical history, type and stage of abnormal heart rhythms and personal preferences. Heart arrhythmia treatment options may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medicine
  • Cardioversion
  • Ablation
  • Cryoablation
  • Pacemaker
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • Surgery
  • Pain management
  • Clinical trials (when appropriate)

Specialized heart and vascular centers