There are many different types of an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Your cardiologist must first diagnose what the irregular rhythm is, usually through an electrocardiogram (EKG) or by having you wear a heart monitor for 2 to 30 days. There are also implantable monitors that last 3 years.
Many things can cause an irregular heartbeat, and each person is different. Some people are prone to an irregular heartbeat based on the development of their heart. Others are caused by health and environmental factors, such as atrial fibrillation (AFib), a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other complications. Patients who have had a heart attack or heart failure often develop scarring in their ventricles that can lead to arrhythmia.
If you have an irregular heartbeat, your cardiac electrophysiologist (heart rhythm specialist) will prescribe either medication or a procedure. For example, if you have AFib, your doctor may prescribe blood-thinning medications to help keep blood clots from forming. If your doctor can locate where the abnormal heart rhythm is, they can perform a procedure called ablation. During the procedure, your doctor will cauterize tissue over the affected part of the heart, breaking the arrhythmia and preventing it from happening again.
Our community is fortunate, as Cone Health is one of America’s 100 best hospitals for cardiac care, according to Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about hospitals. The Healthgrades designation includes Annie Penn Hospital, Moses Cone Hospital and Wesley Long Hospital, collectively listed as Cone Health. Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary care physicians, and heart and vascular specialists dedicated to helping patients maintain wellness and lower their risk of developing conditions such as heart disease.
Will Camnitz, MD, is a cardiologist at Cone Health Medical Group HeartCare. He completed medical school at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Camnitz completed his internal medicine residency and his cardiovascular disease fellowship at the University of Virginia Health System.