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- The heart's natural pacemaker (sinoatrial node [SA node]) developing an abnormal rate or rhythm
- The normal conduction path being interrupted
- Another part of the heart taking over as pacemaker
|Conduction Pathways of the Heart|
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- Lifestyle factors, such as excess caffeine, stress, smoking , alcohol abuse , or cocaine abuse
- Certain medications, such as diet pills, decongestants, and antidepressants
- Heart-related conditions, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), problems with heart valves, heart muscle damage after heart attack , rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy
- Other conditions, such as anemia , high blood pressure , diabetes , liver disease, endocrine disorders (thyroid or adrenal gland problems), typhoid fever , hypothermia , electric shock or lightening strike, near-drowning
- Sensation of your heart fluttering (palpitations)
- Sensation of a missed or extra heart beat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Ablation —An area of the heart that is responsible for an abnormal rhythm may be surgically removed or altered (ablated) with different techniques.
- Maze procedure and mini-maze procedure —The Maze procedure creates a pattern of scar tissue in the upper chambers of the heart. This makes a pathway for electrical impulses to travel through the heart. It also blocks the pathway for fast or irregular impulses. The Maze procedure may also be done as minimally invasive surgery (called mini-Maze).
- Automatic implantable defibrillator —A tiny defibrillator can be surgically implanted in your chest to monitor your heart rhythm. The device will automatically shock the heart if a dangerous arrhythmia happens. This may help return the heart rhythm to normal.
- Artificial pacemaker —The pacemaker is surgically implanted in your chest. It takes over the job of providing the electrical impulses needed to have a good heart rhythm.
- Treat underlying conditions that might lead to arrhythmias.
- Avoid substances that trigger arrhythmia or make it worse, such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and certain medications.
- Follow general advice to prevent heart disease:
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2015
- Update Date: 12/20/2014