Arrhythmias, sometimes referred to as heart palpitations, are abnormal beats of the heart. You may notice your heart beating too slow (bradycardia), or maybe too fast (tachycardia), extra beats or skipping a beat.
Types of arrhythmia are named for the area of the heart they affect, and include:
- Sinus arrhythmia
- Sinus tachycardia
- Sick sinus syndrome
- Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
- Atrial flutter
- Atrial fibrillation
- Premature ventricular complexes (PVC)
- Ventricular tachycardia (VT)
- Ventricular fibrillation
Arrhythmias are most commonly seen in middle-aged adults, however they may occur in patients of any age. In some cases an arrhythmia poses no danger to your health; in others it could be a sign of heart disease. Also, the heart can begin to beat irregularly if blood vessels and arteries are blocked, which can lead to a heart attack. In any case, if you feel like your heart is beating irregularly, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.
When patients experience these irregular heart rhythms they are sometimes referred to a cardiac electrophysiologist. This is a cardiologist specializing in the study of electrical pulses in the heart.
The Electrophysiology Lab, or EP Lab for short, is designed to treat patients who suffer from heart arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation with a treatment called ablation. This is a procedure in which an energy source like heat is guided to the inside of the heart using catheters. The heat is used to ablate or remove specific heart cells triggering the irregular electrical impulses.