Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
Symptoms » Cardiac arrhythmia

Cardiac arrhythmia

Cardiac arrhythmia: Introduction

A cardiac arrhythmia is a condition in which the heart is not beating in a normal rhythm. A cardiac arrhythmia is often a symptom of a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that cause the heart to beat in way that is irregular, too rapid (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) and/or not at all (asystole). There are many types of cardiac arrhythmias, which can be mild to severe to life-threatening.

The rhythm of the heartbeat is controlled by the electrical conduction system of the heart. A healthy electrical conduction system causes the chambers of the heart to contract and pump blood in a steady efficient manner that maintains a normal blood pressure and good blood circulation. A cardiac arrhythmia can result when the electrical conduction system is damaged or stimulated abnormally due to certain diseases and disorders, such as heart disease or hyperthyroidism. Some athletes can develop a cardiac arrhythmia called athletic bradycardia, which is generally benign and a sign of athletic training.

A cardiac arrhythmia can occur in any age group or population, but people at risk include those who have a history of heart valve disorders, cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure and hyperthyroidism. Other conditions that can result in a cardiac arrhythmia include electrolyte imbalance, smoking, excessive exercise, alcoholism and drinking too much caffeine. Cardiac arrhythmias can also be a side effect of stimulant drugs, such as certain diet drugs, and some street drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

A cardiac arrhythmia can be acute and appear relatively suddenly, such as the rapid cardiac arrhythmia that occurs with paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia (PSVT). Cardiac arrhythmia can also be ongoing and chronic, such as when an elderly person develops chronic atrial fibrillation.

Other potentially serious types of cardiac arrhythmias include paroxysmal atrial tachycardia, atrial flutter and second degree heart block. Quickly life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias include ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, which can rapidly lead to cardiac arrest. In cardiac arrest the heart has stopped beating or is beating too inefficiently to sustain life.

Symptoms of a cardiac arrhythmia can include chest pain and palpitations. Complications of a cardiac arrhythmia can be life-threatening. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia.

Diagnosing a cardiac arrhythmia and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. Diagnostic testing includes an EKG, which creates a picture of the heart's electrical activity and rhythm. A longer-term portable telemetry EKG device may also be worn. Other tests may include a chest X-ray, echocardiogram, and blood cardiac assay tests, which can help identify damage to the heart.

A diagnosis of a cardiac arrhythmia and its underlying cause can easily be delayed or missed because some people may be unaware that they have a cardiac arrhythmia. In addition, symptoms of a cardiac arrhythmia can be similar to symptoms of other disorders and conditions. For information about misdiagnosis and other disorders and conditions that can mimic a cardiac arrhythmia, refer to misdiagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia.

Treatment of a cardiac arrhythmia varies depending on the specific type of cardiac arrhythmia, the underlying cause, coexisting diseases, and other factors. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of cardiac arrhythmia....more »

Cardiac arrhythmia: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing a cardiac arrhythmia and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases the symptoms may not be severe or bothersome enough for a person to seek medical care. Some people may be unaware that they are experiencing symptoms of a cardiac arrhythmia. In addition, some symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia, such as palpitations and feeling ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Cardiac arrhythmia:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Cardiac arrhythmia. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Cardiac arrhythmia: Causes

Home Diagnostic Testing and Cardiac arrhythmia

Home medical tests possibly related to Cardiac arrhythmia:

Cardiac arrhythmia Treatments

The first step in treating a cardiac arrhythmia is prevention. This includes not smoking, not using illegal drugs or abusing prescription stimulant medications, and moderating caffeine and alcohol intake.

Once a cardiac arrhythmia develops, a treatment plan is individualized to the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and general ...Cardiac arrhythmia Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Cardiac arrhythmia may include:

Review further information on Cardiac arrhythmia Treatments.

Cardiac arrhythmia: Animations

Drug interactions causing Cardiac arrhythmia:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Cardiac arrhythmia as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Furazolidone (Furoxone) and amphetamines interaction
  • Furazolidone (Furoxone) and Benzphetamine (Didrex) interaction
  • Furazolidone (Furoxone) and Cocaine interaction
  • Furazolidone (Furoxone) and Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) interaction
  • Furazolidone (Furoxone) and Diethylpropion (Tenuate) interaction
  • more interactions...»

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Cardiac arrhythmia

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Cardiac arrhythmia:

Cardiac arrhythmia: Deaths

Read more about causes and Cardiac arrhythmia deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Cardiac arrhythmia

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart attack, or more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have something milder. Some of the more »

Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be more »

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become concerned that a condition is a heart attack, whereas there more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure more »

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis more »

Cardiac arrhythmia: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Cardiac arrhythmia

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Cardiac arrhythmia:

Cardiac arrhythmia: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Cardiac arrhythmia: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Cardiac arrhythmia listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Cardiac arrhythmia as a symptom include:

Definitions of Cardiac arrhythmia:

An abnormal rate of muscle contractions in the heart.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Detailed list of causes of Cardiac arrhythmia

The list below shows some of the causes of Cardiac arrhythmia mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Cardiac arrhythmia?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Cardiac arrhythmia. Of the 64 causes of Cardiac arrhythmia that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 3 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 2 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 60 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Cardiac arrhythmia:

The following list of conditions have 'Cardiac arrhythmia' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Cardiac arrhythmia or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T V Z











Conditions listing medical complications: Cardiac arrhythmia:

The following list of medical conditions have Cardiac arrhythmia or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.


Join in at the forums

Ask or answer a question about symptoms or diseases at one of our free interactive user forums.

Medical story forums: If you have a medical story then we want to hear it.

See a list of all the medical forums

Causes of Cardiac arrhythmia Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Cardiac arrhythmia based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    What are the alternative names for Cardiac arrhythmia:

    Abnormal heart rhythm, Arrhythmias, Dysrhythmias, Irregular heart beat
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Cardiac arrhythmia:

    Medical Conditions associated with Cardiac arrhythmia:

    Heart rhythm symptoms (1589 causes), Heart symptoms (2927 causes), Cardiovascular symptoms (3192 causes)

    Symptoms related to Cardiac arrhythmia:

    Fast pulse (865 causes), Slow pulse (49 causes), Arrhythmias (172 causes), Palpitations (566 causes), Heart rhythm symptoms (1589 causes), Heart symptoms (2927 causes), Tachycardia (194 causes), Bradycardia (111 causes), Atrial flutter, Atrial fibrillation (77 causes), Supraventricular tachycardia, Ventricular tachycardia, Wolf Parkinson White syndrome, Long QT syndrome, Myocardial infarction (38 causes), Infections (1293 causes), Conduction defects, Ventricular tachyaarthytmias

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Cardiac arrhythmia

    Medical research papers related to Cardiac arrhythmia include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Tachycardia:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


    By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

    Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise