Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists
Cardiovascular Specialists located in Mountain View, CA
When your heartbeat starts to race or you can feel a flutter in your chest, chances are you have an arrhythmia. As highly respected cardiovascular specialist, the physician team at Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists has years of experience treating all types of arrhythmias. If you have symptoms of an arrhythmia, or you need help for a problem detected during an annual exam, call the office in Mountain View, California, or schedule an appointment online.
Arrhythmia Q & A
What is an arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia occurs when your heartbeat changes, either beating irregularly or going faster or slower than normal. This problem develops when something goes wrong with the heart’s electrical system.
Your heart has its own pacemaker called the sinoatrial node, which initiates the electrical impulses that make your heart muscles contract.
Every time the node fires, the electrical signals follow a specific path through your heart, making the muscles contract in the order needed to circulate your blood. You can develop an arrhythmia when:
- The sinoatrial node doesn’t fire at a regular pace
- Electrical signals traveling through your heart are blocked or delayed
- Some other area of your heart initiates an electrical impulse
You can develop an arrhythmia from stress, drinking too much alcohol, and certain medications. Numerous health conditions also lead to arrhythmias, including high blood pressure, thyroid disease, coronary artery disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, and heart failure.
What symptoms develop due to an arrhythmia?
In many cases, patients don’t have symptoms when they have an arrhythmia. If you experience symptoms, you may have one or more of the following, depending on the type of arrhythmia:
- Fluttering sensation
- Racing heartbeat
- Slow heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or pressure
- Blurry vision
- You may also feel dizzy or like you’re going to faint.
How are arrhythmias diagnosed?
Based on your medical history and symptoms, chooses from among the many possible diagnostic tests used to evaluate your heart’s electrical activity and blood flow, including:
- Vascular ultrasound
- Electrophysiologic study
- Holter monitor
- Magnetic resonance angiography
- Nuclear cardiography
- Coronary and peripheral CT angiography
- You may also need to undergo a stress test to determine how well your heart responds when it’s required to pump more blood than normal.
How is an arrhythmia treated?
Whenever possible, the providers start your treatment with conservative options such as blood thinners, lifestyle changes, and medications to stabilize your heartbeat.
You can help reduce your risk of arrhythmia complications, such as a heart attack or stroke, by eating a healthy diet and losing weight.
If conservative therapy doesn’t help, the team may recommend more advanced procedures. Two procedures frequently performed are:
The team uses radiofrequency energy to destroy the small area of the heart that’s causing the arrhythmia.
Implantable devices include a pacemaker to regulate a slow heartbeat, and a cardioverter defibrillator to regulate a fast heartbeat.
To receive expert care for an arrhythmia, call Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists or schedule an appointment online.