Arrhythmia

Helping get you and your heart back in tune

Arrhythmias are abnormal heart beats. This could mean that your heart beats too fast, too slow or that it has an abnormal rhythm. This causes your heart to pump less effectively. Some arrhythmias do not cause any symptoms and are only detectable by a doctor during an exam. Some common symptoms of arrhythmias include:

  • Heart palpitations which could feel like skipped heartbeats or fluttering
  • Pounding in the chest
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Weakness or fatigue (feeling very tired)

At Novant Health UVA Health System we can help you determine what type of arrhythmia you have and assess the best treatment path.

Learn more about some of the common types of arrhythmias:

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Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia. With this type of heart rhythm disorder, the heart quivers instead of beating, disrupting the effectiveness of pumping blood to the ventricles.

Symptoms of Afib:

  • General fatigue
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Fluttering or “thumping” in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath and anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Faintness or confusion
  • Fatigue when exercising
  • Sweating
  • *Chest pain or pressure

*Chest pain or pressure is a medical emergency. You may be having a heart attack. Call 911 immediately.

Afib causes a fivefold increase in your risk for stroke and doubles your risk for a heart-related death. If you think you may have these symptoms or have been diagnosed with Afib, contact a Novant Health UVA Health System provider near you for more information on how to manage your condition and lead a long, healthy life.

To learn more, find a find a Novant Health UVA Health System provider close to you.

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Tachycardia

Tachycardia refers to a heart rate that is too fast, over 100 beats per minute when at rest. Atrial fibrillation is a type of tachycardia but there are many other types of tachycardia including atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and ventricular tachycardia.

Symptoms of a heart rate that is too fast are:

  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat or "palpitations" or fluttering feeling in chest or bunding pulse
  • Angina (chest pain), pressure or tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue/tiredness

Talk to a Novant Health UVA Health System provider to learn more about your risk for tachycardia or learn more about treatments for arrhythmias.

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Bradycardia

Bradycardia refers to a heart rate that is too slow, a resting heart rate below 60 beats per minute. However, sometimes, in physically fit people, your heart may just be efficient and capable of beating less than 60 beats per minute.

Symptoms of a heart rate that is too slow include:

  • Fatigue or feeling tired or weak
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting or near-fainting spells
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty exercising
  • In extreme cases, cardiac arrest

Talk to a Novant Health UVA Health System provider to learn more about your risk for bradycardia or learn more about treatments for arrhythmias.