Irregular Heartbeat

Most people don’t notice their heartbeat but occasionally we can note a little jump or skip in the beat. If that occurs on a frequent basis, then your heartbeat may be irregular. An electrocardiogram views the electric pattern of the heart and can be used to detect an irregular heartbeat. Sometimes, a longer evaluation, called a Holter monitor study, is used to record your heartbeat for one to two days at a time. Your cardiologist can assess the problem of irregular heartbeat and make appropriate recommendations.

Causes

Coronary artery disease, electrolyte imbalances, heart muscle weakness, and injury from heart attack can all cause an irregular heartbeat. Thyroid disease has also been associated with an irregular heartbeat especially if the thyroid gland is overactive. Sometimes, despite investigation, no clear cause is identified for the irregularity. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

An electrocardiogram views the electric pattern of the heart and can be used to detect an irregular heartbeat. Sometimes a longer study, called a Holter monitor study, is used to record your heartbeat for longer time periods. The longer a tracing can be studied, the more likely the recording device will pick up an abnormal rhythm.  

Your cardiologist can assess the problem of irregular heartbeat and make further testing recommendations. Special studies of the electrical system of the heart can trace your heart’s electricity and identify the area of short circuiting. Surgeries can sometimes be performed to fix the heart's conducting system and return the heart to normal rhythm.