Arrhythmias refer to abnormal heart rhythms. They are caused by the disruption of the electrical pathways that control the rate and rhythm of the heart. Arrhythmias can be experienced as palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadness and a feeling of the heart skipping a beat.
They can be classified into two main categories: tachyarrhythmias, which are characterized by rapid heart rates, and bradyarrhythmias, which are associated with slow heart rates.
Arrhythmias are typically diagnosed during history taking and examination and often confirmed with an electrocardiogram (ECG) and Holter monitoring. Holter monitors allow for the more prolonged recording of the rate and rhythm of the heart and are particularly useful when arrhythmias are experienced intermittently.
Other tests used in the diagnosis of arrhythmias included exercise tests and a variety of blood tests that look, specifically, for hormonal imbalances.
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