The human heart is a muscle that facilitates the continuous supply of blood throughout the body and assimilation of cellular waste for oxygenation. This important function is the result of a rhythmic beating of the heart muscle. A disorder of this rhythmic pulsation of the heart is referred to as an arrhythmia. The following article provides information about the various types of arrhythmia and how they affect the body.
The human anatomy comprises a myriad of internal systems that function in-sync, to promote longevity. However, the most vital of all the internal systems is that controlled by the heart. This chambered organ is primarily divided into atrium and ventricle. The atrium refers to the upper segment or chamber, while the ventricle is the lower chamber. The function of each heart chamber is facilitated by blood vessels and valves.
This intricate system not only receives oxygenated blood from the lungs, but also assimilates and rejuvenates cellular waste and deoxygenated blood from different parts of the body. The blood vessels and valves control the flow of oxygenated blood to different organs of the body and redirect the deoxygenated blood towards the lungs. The heart muscle constantly builds up blood pressure by pulsating. The contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle pumps blood throughout the body.
Arrhythmia: A Brief Explanation
Arrhythmia refers to a disorder of the rhythmic pulsation of the heart. The clinical term refers to a heterogeneous group of heart conditions that result from abnormal electrical activity in the heart muscle. The irregularity or disorder manifests in the form of increased or decreased heart beats. Arrhythmias also occur in a healthy heart, but depending on heart health, they can either lead to a serious health problem or be of minimal consequence. It may cause heart diseases, paralytic strokes, and even cardiac death.
Some arrhythmias are life-threatening, while some result in completely controllable palpitations and weakness. However, if not addressed in time, arrhythmias may result in cardiac arrest and death. There are different types of arrhythmias categorized according to the location of occurrence. Atrial arrhythmias include PACs or premature atrial contractions, multifocal atrial tachycardia, and atrial fibrillation. The junctional arrhythmia category includes supraventricular and AV nodal reentrant tachycardia, while the atrioventricular category comprises AV reentrant tachycardia and the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Arrhythmias are broadly categorized into asymptomatic and symptomatic.
Asymptomatic Arrhythmia: Sinus arrhythmia refers to the acceleration or slowing of heart rate. The condition is experienced during inhalation and exhalation of oxygen. These breathing abnormalities are commonly experienced during breathing exercises and breath-holding patterns that are introduced as a part of weight loss techniques. Palpitations are another type of arrhythmia that involve infrequent heartbeats. This condition is not necessarily harmless and can result in an increased risk of blood clotting within the heart muscle and/or the transportation of insufficient blood vital organs.
Symptomatic Arrhythmia: An irregularity in the electrical impulse within the sinoatrial node nay cause synchronized contraction of the heart muscle. Bradycardias or periods of transient loss of heart beats, tachycardias or the addition of abnormal impulses to the normal cardiac cycle, and automaticity or an automatic impulse triggered by the cardiac muscle could result in irreversible damage to the heart muscle. Re-entry arrhythmias are the result of concentrated electrical impulse. Symptomatic arrhythmias may result in cardiac arrest and even death.
Atrial fibrillation refers to the atrium or upper chamber of the heart being exposed to multiple micro-reentry circuits and erratic electrical impulses. The condition is imminently life-threatening and could culminate in a medical emergency if not addressed in time. The abnormal electrical impulses in the atrium of the heart are treated via CPR, to prolong the survival of the brain during a lapse in normal heart pulse. Defibrillation may also be used to restore the normal heart rhythm. The latter is a treatment option that involves application of an electric shock to reset cells and trigger a normal beating pattern.
Arrhythmia is a critical condition, and must be taken seriously when the symptoms are diagnosed. Apart from this one should consult his/her medical health practitioner to avoid further complications.