Arrhythmia Basics Presentation by Mary Burns Prine, MA
Normal Heart Behavior• Heart Rate between 60 – 80• Begins with electrical signal in upper right part of heart (sinus node)• Sinus node is heart’s pacemaker
Heart’s electrical systemElectrical impulse begins at sinus node. Impulse stimulates theheartbeat through the heart.
Two features of arrhythmias• Site of origin – Atria – Atrioventricular node (AV node) – Ventricles• Affect on heart rate – Too slow heart rate (bradycardia) – Too fast heart rate (tachycardia)
Common types of Arrhythmia• Atrial Fibrillation• Ventricular tachycardia• Ventricular Fibrillation
Atrial Fibrillation• Common! About 1 in 4 over 40 years old• Atria quiver (fibrillate) chaotically instead of rhythmically• Blood not circulated efficiently• Symptoms: weakness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, palpitations & chest pain• CAN LEAD TO BLOOD CLOTS!
Ventricular Tachycardia & Ventricular Fibrillation • More serious • Caused by abnormal electrical signals from ventricles • Can develop during heart attack or months after from damaged heart
Ventricular TachycardiaTachycardia: Heart rate over 100 bpm. Can cause palpitations, light headedness, dizziness, weakness, fainting and drop in blood pressure. Can survive for hours without treatment BUT can progress to Ventricular fibrillation which is fatal.
Ventricular Fibrillation• Ventricles twitch rapidly & chaotically, unable to pump blood• Can lead to death if not treated within a few moments
Symptoms of Ventricular FibrillationLoss of consciousness or fainting is the most common sign of ventricular fibrillation.Early ventricular fibrillation symptoms (may start up to an hour before ventricular fibrillation & fainting): – Chest pain – Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) – Dizziness – Nausea – Shortness of breath
Treating Fibrillation• CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!• Use Automated External Defibrillator if available (AED) OR• Begin chest compressions (100/minute)