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Types of cardiac arrhythmias, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The heart is one of the essential organs in the human body, since it is responsible for pumping blood to the rest of the body. The way the heart pushes blood to the body is by rhythmically contracting and relaxing itself, giving rise to what we know as the heart rate. The heart rate is the number of contractions per minute that the heart has and, in a normal adult, when it is at rest it is usually 60 to 100 beats.

The heart, in turn, is an organ that suffers from many alterations and requires care. Sometimes people report having a very fast, slow or irregular heartbeat. Many of those times we do not know what may be causing this cardiac arrhythmia. It is because of this ignorance that at FastlyHealwe want to explain in detail the types of cardiac arrhythmias, symptoms and treatment so that you know how to differentiate it through its symptoms and learn how to treat this problem.

Types of cardiac arrhythmias

An arrhythmia is a disorder that occurs in the heart rate or pulse , which is caused by an alteration in the electrical conduction of the same, whether the signals are blocked or delayed, this conduction helps the heart to contract.

Consequently, the heartbeat can become faster than normal ( tachycardia ) or slower ( bradycardia ), and depending on where they occur they can be divided into supraventicular and ventricular. Supraventricular are those that occur above the ventricles (atria) and ventricular occur in the lower chambers. Next we will talk to you and explain what are the types of cardiac arrhythmias that can occur:


  • Atrial fibrillation : it is a type of fast and irregular frequency, it is serious and it occurs because the impulse is not generated in the sinus node, but is generated in another part of the atria, reaching up to 300 beats per minute.
  • Supraventricular tachycardia : it produces around 150-200 beats per minute, being a high but regular rate.
  • Fluter or atrial flutter : its symptoms are similar to atrial fibrillation but its intensity is less frequently.
  • Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome : its main symptom is tachycardia and it is due to the fact that its electrical signal is conducted through an accessory pathway from the atria to the ventricles, this means that the signal reaches the ventricles earlier and returns to the atria , producing elevation of the heart rate.


  • Ventricular tachycardia : means it is a fast beat (about 120 beats per minute). They usually appear after a heart attack or from diseases that affect the heart. It occurs because some areas in the electrical conduction pathway assume the role of the sinus node in controlling the heartbeat.
  • Ventricular fibrillation : it produces an incompetent and fast rate and it is due to the heart not pumping properly. It is associated with coronary artery disease and can appear after a heart attack. It is a very serious form producing up to 300 beats per minute, generating several impulses at the same time, which causes the heart to pump very little blood to the brain.
  • Ventricular extrasystoles : means that the ventricles contract earlier than they should but is a less serious form of arrhythmia, in general, extrasystoles are not dangerous . It is present during the consumption of caffeine, tobacco, tea or chocolate. In addition, other factors that can cause arrhythmias are drug use, alcohol, antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, and stress.

Symptoms of cardiac arrhythmias

The symptoms of cardiac arrhythmias are similar in almost all their types, below we will mention the most common:

  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue.
  • Chest pain.
  • Confusion.
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Soft spot.
  • Dizziness or fainting: usually present in people with Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome.
  • Stroke: in cases of atrial fibrillation the person is more prone to suffer from this.

Treatment for cardiac arrhythmias

There are different drugs and medicines that can be given to lower the heart rate. These drugs, known as antiarrhythmics, should always be prescribed and controlled by a doctor and, among them, the following stand out:

  • Beta-blocker drugs : such as metoprorol and atenolol.
  • Calcium channel blockers : Such as diltiazem and verapamil.
  • Other medicines : they are sotalol, flecainide, propafenon, dofetilide, ibutilide, procainamide and disopyramide, among others, however these can cause side effects.

In addition to the medicinal treatment prescribed by the cardiologist, there are other procedures such as surgery to treat some arrhythmias. When the arrhythmia causes a slow heart rate, there is no specific medicine for its treatment, in these cases, the most common is that pacemakers are used .

Another treatment is vagal stimulation , consisting of affecting the vagus nerve by performing exercises to stop or reduce supraventricular arrhythmias. Examples of these types of exercises are:

  • The Vasalva maneuver: the person covers his nose and mouth, blowing through the nose without letting air escape.
  • Dip your face in cold water.
  • Cough.

In the following FastlyHealarticle we explain how to stimulate the vagus nerve naturally .

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Types of cardiac arrhythmias, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation 

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