By Hannah Sims

What is it?

Also called: irregular heartbeat

Improper beating of the heart, whether irregular, too fast, or too slow.

Cardiac arrhythmia occurs when electrical impulses in the heart don't work properly.


There may be no symptoms. Or, symptoms may include a fluttering in the chest, chest pain, fainting, dizziness, or even shortness of breath.


Treatments can include anti-arrhythmic drugs, medical procedures, implantable devices, and surgery.

  • Potassium by mouth (Klor-Con)
  • Channel blockers: Diltiazem, Verapamil by injection or by mouth
  • Heart medications (Sotalol, Dofetilide, etc.)
  • Devices: Cardiac pacemaker, Implantablie cardioverter-defribillator, Cardiac monitoring
  • Procedures: Cardioversion, and Radiofrequency ablation
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How can you get it?

  • A heart attack that's occurring right now
  • Scarring of heart tissue from a prior heart attack
  • Changes to your heart's structure, such as from cardiomyopathy
  • Blocked arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease)
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • Underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
  • Drug abuse
  • Stress
  • Certain prescription medications
  • Certain dietary supplements and herbal treatments
  • Electrical shock
  • Air pollution