If you have a heart arrhythmia, you may have concerns about how to
manage and treat your condition. At the Wake Forest Heart & Vascular Center,
our doctors help
you understand arrhythmias and develop the right treatment plan for you.
New patients may request an appointment online to discuss arrhythmia treatment.
What is Arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia is any change in the normal functioning of the
heart’s electrical system, which causes a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow,
or irregular. The most common types of arrhythmia are:
- Tachycardia: heartbeat that is too fast
- Bradycardia: heartbeat that is too slow
Arrhythmias can cause sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when the
heart’s electrical system stops working properly. Cardiac arrest causes sudden
cardiac death when:
- The heart beats very fast
- The heart’s lower chambers (ventricles)
flutter (do not contract properly)
- Blood stops flowing to the body
- The lungs, brain and all other organs stop
working properly and may shut down or be damaged
Sudden cardiac death can occur within minutes without emergency
treatment, such as CPR and/or defibrillation. Emergency medical services (911)
should be called immediately.
Symptoms of Arrhythmia
People with arrhythmia may not feel any symptoms. If you do
experience symptoms, they may include:
- Fast or slow heartbeat
- Heart palpitations
- Pounding in your chest
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness or fatigue
You may also experience the above signs or symptoms before a
sudden cardiac arrest. However, when a sudden cardiac arrest happens, its
symptoms are severe:
- Sudden collapse
- No pulse
- No breathing
- Loss of consciousness
At the Wake Forest Heart & Vascular Center, our specialists take
a comprehensive approach to detecting and diagnosing all types of arrhythmias.
We begin with a physical exam and medical and family history of heart disease.
To confirm an arrhythmia, your physician may recommend further tests,
- Blood and stress tests
echocardiogram and cardiac MRI
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Event and Holter monitor to record your
heart’s electrical activity over 24 to 48 hours
Learn more about heart and
at Wake Forest.
Arrhythmia Treatment at Wake Forest Baptist
Your treatment will depend on which of the three types of heart
arrhythmia you have. In some cases, treatment may not be necessary. We will
develop a personalized treatment plan for you, which may include one or more of
and your doctor can decide which treatment is right for you. All of our
patients receive pre-operative counseling to help them understand the risks and
benefits of procedures.
an arrhythmia evaluation or treatment appointment online. Or, for more information,
- 336-716-WAKE or