What Is an Arrhythmia?

An irregular heartbeat is known as an arrhythmia. It indicates that your heart's rhythm is abnormal. Your heart can seem as though it is "fluttering," skipped a beat, or added a beat. It could appear to be beating too slowly (bradycardia) or too quickly (tachycardia). 1

What are the symptoms of arrhythmia? 3

Cardiac arrhythmias may cause a wide variety of symptoms, such as:

> Palpitations: a sensation of your heartbeat quickens, skips or flutters.

> Feeling lightheaded or faint

> Low blood pressure

> Chest pain

> Shortness of breath

> Fatigue

> Heart failure: When the heart cannot pump enough blood with oxygen throughout the body.

> Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating.

> Trouble feeding (in infants)

Arrhythmias can occasionally be undetected, meaning they don't produce any noticeable symptoms. During a physical examination, a doctor can find an irregular heartbeat by checking your pulse, listening to your heart, or doing diagnostic tests.

What Causes Arrhythmia? 1

Even if your heart is healthy, you could still experience an arrhythmia. Or it might occur as a result of:

> Heart disease

> An unbalanced level of electrolytes in your blood, such as sodium or potassium

> Changes or injuries to the heart, such as decreased blood flow or stiff heart tissue

> Healing process after heart surgery

> Infection or fever

> Certain medications

> A heart condition that affects electrical signals

> Powerful feelings, stress, or surprise

> Habits behaviors including drinking, smoking, consuming caffeine, or exercising

When to see a doctor? 2

Make an appointment to visit a doctor if you feel like your heart is beating too quickly, too slowly, or skipping a beat. If you have chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, weakness, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting or near-fainting, get emergency medical attention.2


1. Beckerman James. WebMD. Updated on October 21, 2021. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atrial-fibrillation/heart-disease-abnormal-heart-rhythm

2. Mayo clinic. Heart arrhythmia. Mayo clinic. Updated on April 30, 2022. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20350668

3. The John Hopkins. Arrhythmias. The John Hopkins. Acessed on August 22, 2022. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/arrhythmias