Can arrhythmias go undiagnosed?

Will I know if I have arrhythmia?
Many people who suffer from arrhythmia do not show any symptoms or signs. Most of them are considered harmless and are, therefore, left untreated. However, arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation, gets diagnosed when a patient develops complications.

Arrhythmia can pose serious threats to health in some serious cases. It is very well possible that arrhythmias are not diagnosed for a long time. This is because arrhythmia can remain undetected as they do not show any symptoms or signs in most cases. These generally get detected when any complication arises. In this article, we have discussed about arrhythmia and its diagnosis.

What are arrhythmias?

Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats. According to the American Heart Association, arrhythmia is any problem in the rate and/or rhythm of a person’s heartbeat. They occur when the electrical signals that coordinate the heart’s beats don’t work properly, and there is an abnormal sequence of these signals or impulses. Because of the faulty electrical signal, the heart might beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or erratically. 

How are arrhythmias diagnosed?

There are various ways to detect arrhythmias. However, the most effective way can be to conduct an RCG or electrocardiogram. It will electrically record your heart rhythm and detect any abnormalities. However, if the ECG is unable to detect it, you will need further heart monitoring. It can be done through a Holter monitor or ambulatory ECG monitoring. A Holter monitor involves wearing a small portable ECG recording device for 24 hours or longer. In some cases, doctor may advise to wear it for a few days.

 Other than these, the tests used in diagnosing arrhythmias include a cardiac event recorder, an electrophysiological (EP) study and an electrocardiogram (ECHO).  A cardiac event recorder is a portable device that records the heart’s electrical activities over a period of time. These record how fast your heart is beating and how it changes its rhythm.  

electrophysiological (EP) study is a test that evaluates the problems with the electrical signals in your heart. This test is done by passing thin wire electrodes up a vein and into your heart while you are sedated. 

Lastly, an ultrasound or Echo (Electrocardiogram) is taken to anatomically analyse your heart.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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