Diagnosis of Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
Arrhythmias may be found during a routine exam. They may also be found while your heart is being tested for other reasons.
An EKG can show heart rhythms that aren’t normal. A healthy heart will show a certain pattern. Rhythms that aren't normal will make a different pattern.
Most arrhythmias come and go. They may not happen during testing. A device can be worn all day and night. It can be worn while someone goes about their normal day. This will increase the chance of catching the arrhythmia. This can be done with:
Some arrhythmias may only appear when the heart is working hard. An exercise stress test tracks how your heart reacts to activity. Some people may not be able to do the exercise. In this case, medicine may be given to mimic exercise stress on the heart.
Tests to Look for Causes
Other tests may need to be done to look for a cause. The heart may be checked with:
Other tests include:
Arrhythmia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/arrhythmia. Accessed January 2, 2019.
Atrial fibrillation screening. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated September 18, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019.
Common tests for arrhythmia. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia/symptoms-diagnosis--monitoring-of-arrhythmia/common-tests-for-arrhythmia#.WTAdiOvytQJ. Accessed January 2, 2019.
Electrocardiogram (ECG). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated November 7, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019.
Symptoms & diagnosis. Heart Rhythm Society website. Available at: https://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources/Symptoms-Diagnosis#axzz2wVpruTrZ. Accessed January 2, 2019.
Syncope—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated July 31, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019.
Wexler RK, Pleister A, Raman SV. Palpitations: evaluation in the primary care setting. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(12):784-789.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 1/2/2019
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