What is an Arrhythmia?
Treatment in Milford and Franklin, NJ
An arrhythmia is defined in general terms as an irregular heart rhythm. There are two major types of arrhythmia, which are named by the chambers of the heart in which they occur. The two types of heart arrhythmia are:
Tachycardia, which is defined by a heart rate that’s more than 100 beats per minute, occurs when the electrical signals in the atria are released in an uncontrolled manner, causing a fast heart rhythm. Some symptoms of tachycardia include an uncomfortable heartbeat that causes shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating and chest pain. Tachycardia can be seen in three different forms:
- Atrial Tachycardia – starts in the atria
- Ventricular Tachycardia – starts in ventricles
- Supraventricular Tachycardia – begins above ventricles
Having bradycardia means that your heart beats very slowly, typically less than 60 beats per minute. While in many cases, a slow heart rate is healthy, it can also be a sign of a problem with the heart and its electrical system. Common symptoms of bradycardia are similar to tachycardia and include dizziness, shortness of breath, exhaustion and chest pain.
Treating Heart Arrhythmia
Heart arrhythmia can be treated by both a non-surgical and surgical ablation. The type of arrhythmia and overall heart health will determine how it’s treated.
During a non-surgical ablation, a catheter is inserted into the part of the heart being affected by the arrhythmia. A machine that is attached to the catheter directs energy to areas of the heart muscle, disconnecting the source of the abnormal heart rhythm.
Atrial fibrillation can be done both open and minimally invasively. Surgical ablation techniques include:
- The Maze Procedure – During this open procedure, various incisions are made in both the left and right atrium for form scar tissue. The scar tissue disrupts the path of abnormal electrical signals, limiting the effects of abnormal heart rates.
- Minimally Invasive Surgical Ablation – Minimally invasive surgical ablation is becoming a common alternative to the Maze procedure. Unlike open procedures, there are no large incisions. Minimally invasive ablation is done by using small incisions and small, lighted cameras to disrupt the path of abnormal electrical signals to normalize a patient’s heart rate.