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What Are Heart Rhythm Disorders (Arrhythmias)?

Heart Rhythm Exams and Tests

When your doctor evaluates you for heart rhythm disorders, she will ask about your symptoms, give you a physical exam, and give you a few tests. 

The electrocardiogram (ECG) will track and record your heart’s rhythm to find out the type of disorder you have. It could take 24 hours or longer to find any problem. If the arrhythmia doesn’t happen often, your doctor will give you an "event recorder," which you can turn on when you feel the symptoms.

Your doctor might recommend an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. It gives a better picture of the structure and function of your heart. In more serious cases, you might be tested with electrodes placed inside the heart. This is called an electro--physiologic study.

Treatment for Heart Rhythm Disorders

If you need treatment, the kind you receive will depend on your case. You might need medication or surgery. For instance, you might have an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) placed in your chest or abdomen. It will track your heart and reset your heart rhythm if it has a problem. Often the ICD also functions as a pacemaker to prevent you from developing a slow heart rate and to help your heart beat properly. 

You’ll see your regular doctor, and probably a heart specialist to make sure your treatment is effective and to find out if the arrhythmia has returned.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on August 18, 2015
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