Common Heart Rhythms

Common Heart Rhythms

Heart rhythms, also known as cardiac rhythms, refer to the patterns and regularity of the heartbeat generated by the heart’s electrical system. There are several common heart rhythms, each with distinct characteristics and implications for cardiovascular health. Here are some of the most common heart rhythms:

  1. Normal Sinus Rhythm (NSR):
  • This is the normal and healthy heart rhythm.
  • The heart’s electrical signals follow the correct sequence and timing, resulting in a regular heartbeat.
  • The rate is typically between 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm) in adults at rest.
  1. Atrial Fibrillation (AFib):
  • AFib is a common arrhythmia characterized by irregular and rapid electrical impulses in the atria (upper chambers of the heart).
  • The irregular heartbeats can lead to inefficient pumping of blood and an increased risk of blood clots and stroke.
  • AFib may present with symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest discomfort.
  1. Atrial Flutter:
  • Atrial flutter is characterized by a rapid but regular beating of the atria, often at a rate of around 250-350 bpm.
  • The heart’s electrical signals circulate in a loop in the atria, causing the characteristic sawtooth pattern on an ECG.
  • It can lead to symptoms similar to AFib and carries a risk of stroke.
  1. Ventricular Tachycardia (VT):
  • VT is a fast, regular beating of the heart’s ventricles (lower chambers).
  • It can be life-threatening if sustained, leading to decreased cardiac output and potentially causing loss of consciousness or cardiac arrest.
  • Emergency treatment is often required to stabilize the heart rhythm.
  1. Ventricular Fibrillation (VFib):
  • VFib is a chaotic and rapid electrical activity in the ventricles.
  • It is a medical emergency and is life-threatening without immediate intervention (e.g., defibrillation) to restore a normal rhythm.
  • VFib leads to a loss of effective pumping action of the heart and can cause sudden cardiac arrest.
  1. Bradycardia:
  • Bradycardia is a slow heart rate, typically less than 60 bpm in adults.
  • It can result from aging, certain medications, heart diseases, or problems with the heart’s electrical system.
  • Bradycardia may cause symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.

Understanding and diagnosing heart rhythms is essential for appropriate medical management and treatment. If you suspect any irregularities in your heartbeat or experience concerning symptoms related to your heart rhythm, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation and further testing.