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Heart Arrhythmia 

What is Heart Arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia is a heart rhythm abnormality that may indicate a serious problem and can lead to heart disease, stroke or even death. An arrhythmia may be suspected when a physician hears a fast or irregular heartbeat while listening to the heart with a stethoscope.

Types of Heart Arrhythmia

Common types of heart arrhythmia include:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Atrial flutter
  • Atrial tachycardia
  • Supraventricular tachycardia
  • Heart block
  • Sick Sinus Syndrome
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome
  • Ectopic heartbeat
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular fibrillation

Causes and Risk Factors of Heart Arrhythmia

Causes and risk factors of heart arrhythmia include:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Medications and supplements
  • Obesity
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • Pericarditis
  • Smoking
  • Valvular heart disease

Symptoms of Heart Arrhythmia

An arrhythmia can be "silent" and may not cause any symptoms, but among individuals who experience heart arrhythmia symptoms, common complaints include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Fast or slow heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Light-headedness, dizziness
  • Paleness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skipping beats - changes in the pattern of the pulse
  • Sweating

Diagnosing Heart Arrhythmia

Tests to find underlying heart diseases may include:

Heart Arrhythmia Treatment

At Memorial Hermann, affiliated physicians provide a broad range of heart arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation treatment options, from noninvasive interventions to device therapy to minimally invasive surgery. These include:


Many medications are available to treat a fast or irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia. Medications are given to prevent arrhythmias and slow the heart rate. In most cases, the drugs have to be taken for the rest of the patient's life.

Research & Clinical Trials

Through participation in clinical research trials, our patients also have access to leading-edge treatments unavailable at other medical centers. Visit research and clinical trials to learn about current research studies related to arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation (AFib), or to enroll as a study participant.

Find a Specialist

Consult with your cardiologist to learn more about heart arrhythmia symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Don't have a cardiologist? Use physician search to find a heart specialist affiliated with Memorial Hermann or schedule an appointment with a cardiologist online 24/7 with ScheduleNow.

To learn more about heart arrhythmia, our cardiologists, or treatment facilities please use our contact form here or call us at (713) 222-2273.