Care for Irregular Heartbeats or Rhythms
Your heart is a powerful muscle that pumps a continuous supply of blood, oxygen and other nutrients through the body. To accomplish this task, your heart needs to regulate the timing of its beats, or rhythm. The Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute provides heart rhythm services that are dedicated to raising public awareness of arrhythmia management, fostering excellence in arrhythmia care and promoting advanced and compassionate care of heart rhythm abnormalities.
What is arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia—also called abnormal heart rhythm or heart rhythm disorder—is irregular heartbeats, heart rates or rhythms. Your heart’s electrical system controls the rhythm.
Abnormal heart rhythms fall into two general types: extremely slow heart rates—called bradyarrhythmias or bradycardias—and extremely rapid heart rates—called tachyarrhythmias or tachycardias.
At some time in life, most adults experience a racing heart, an extra heartbeat, or a skipped beat. Many of these rhythm changes are passing and harmless. Certain arrhythmias, however—especially those that last long enough to affect the function of the heart—are serious and can be fatal. A serious arrhythmia may be a sign of coronary artery disease, heart muscle disease, heart valve disease, or other heart problems.
The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation was once thought to be a minor heart rhythm disorder. Research in recent years has shown, however, that the problem can be quite serious and lead to such complication as stroke and heart failure.