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Causes of Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)
- The heart's natural pacemaker developing an abnormal rate or rhythm
- The normal electrical conduction pathway being interrupted by injury, illness, or electricity
- Another part of the heart (other than the sinus node) taking over as pacemaker
- Coronary artery disease (eg, heart attacks)
- Diseased myocardium (heart muscle)
- Abnormal heart valves
- Electrolyte abnormalities
- Birth defects
- Illegal stimulants, such as cocaine and methedrine
- Diet pills
- Some over-the-counter medications, such as cough and cold medicines
Various prescription medications, for example:
- Heart medicines
- Asthma medicines
- Psychoactive medicines, such as antidepressants
- Thyroid hormone replacement medicines
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine . 14th edition. McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Mayo Clinic and Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: http://www.mayo.edu/ .
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/ .
National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nih.gov/ .
Snow, V, Weiss, KB, LeFevre, M, et al. Management of newly detected atrial fibrillation: a clinical practice guideline from the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:1009
Weber, BE, Kapoor, WN. Evaluation and outcomes of patients with palpitations. Am J Med. 1996;100:138.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 01/14/2014