This is some basic information concerning Abnormal EKG.
The heart normally beats about 60 to 80 times each minute.
The pattern is regular, and increases or decreases in response to activity
levels. Special heart cells send electrical signals throughout the heart. These signals cause the heart muscle to
contract, which squeezes blood from the heart to the body and the lungs.
If a heart attack, infection, medication, or a disease
damages the heart, those special cells may not work properly. If the signals
are not sent often enough, other parts of the heart will react, causing a
slower, irregular, or faster heart rate. A slower heart rate may not pump
enough blood for the body's needs. This may result in feeling lightheaded,
tired, or faint. With an irregular or rapid heart rate, a person may feel that
his heart is racing or skipping beats. When the heart beats too fast, it can
fail to pump enough blood.
Some abnormal heartbeats are little more than an annoyance,
while others can be life-threatening. If the part of the heart that pumps the
blood beats too rapidly, too irregularly, or stops beating, the person could
faint or even die.
The diagnosis of abnormal heartbeats is usually made with an
electrocardiogram, also called an EKG. If the irregular heart rate happens
frequently, it may be seen on a routine EKG in the doctor's office. Sometimes a
device called a Holter monitor will be worn for 24 to 48 hours to record a
longer EKG so that the abnormal beats can be seen.
There are many causes for an abnormal heartbeat. Besides
heart attacks, infections, and diseases, some drugs can also cause abnormal
heartbeats. So can stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine. A person may also
be born with an abnormal heartbeat.
The treatment of abnormal heartbeats depends on the cause.
Stopping stimulants, such as tea, coffee, and cigarettes, may help. Medications
may be needed to stabilize the heart rate. If the heart is too slow, a
pacemaker can be used to control the heart rate. If the heart beats too irregularly or too fast, surgery or a
special device to shock the heart may be needed.
For more information, contact your local chapter of the
American Heart Association or call (800) 242-8721.
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new
health information becomes available.
The information provided is intended to be informative and educational
and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis
or treatment by a healthcare professional.
CMX File CARD4291.RF2 VMX# 6101
Data Version 5.0
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