Excitement, anticipation, nervousness, and even fear can cause our hearts to skip a beat or pound like a hammer sometimes. Arrhythmias can be frightening when they occur, but in many cases they are not life threatening and can be effectively treated with medications. Heart palpitations, pounding in your chest, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort are can be indications of a serious heart condition. Arrhythmias can also be silent. Untangling the reasons behind your irregular heart rhythm requires some investigation, blood tests, heart monitors, stress tests and echocardiograms are often helpful. Four forms of ECG testing assess the heart’s electrical activity under different circumstances:
- Resting Electrocardiogram
- Stress treadmill test
- Holter or event recorders (take home monitors worn all of the time)
- Implantable monitors
Resting ECG, ECG stress treadmill tests, and EP studies typically are used for arrhythmias that occur frequently. Event recorders or implantable loop recorders are used for infrequent arrhythmias.
Diagnostic test and treatment depends on the type and seriousness of your condition. Some arrhythmias do not require treatment at all. Medication, lifestyle changes, and surgical procedures might be recommended in certain situations.