Arrhythmias – An Introduction

What is an arrhythmia? Well that’s a very broad question. The definition is an abnormality of the heart rate what you can feel as your pulse. This can come in the form of beating to fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) or just irregularly.

Normally your heart is able to pump blood around your circulatory system in an efficient way without working any harder than is needed. For this to happen the electrical conduction system of the heart has to be in working order. The electrical system makes sure the heart contracts to pump the blood in an orderly way.

This electrical system has an order:

1) The electrical signal originates from the sinoatrial node (SA node) the hearts natural pacemaker.

2) The signal leaves the SA node and travels through the two upper chambers known as the atria. Pushing the remaining blood from these chambers into the two lower chambers known as the ventricles.

3) The signal travels through the specialized conduction system of the atrio-ventricular node (AV node) and passes through the lower chambers.

Arrhythmias arise when there are problems in the electrical conduction system. Other areas may send out signals or electrical signals may not be able to move easily or at all.

We will discuss different types of arrhythmia’s in later posts. – CT