Palpitations (a perception of abnormal heartbeats) are a common complaint associated with abnormal heart rhythms. Fatigue, fainting, decreased stamina, shortness of breath and chest pain can also be associated with arrhythmias. Many young patients with arrhythmia have been misdiagnosed with “anxiety” or “panic attacks” for years.
How are arrhythmias diagnosed? How are they treated?
An arrhythmia is diagnosed by recording an abnormal heart rhythm with an electrocardiogram (EKG) or another form of heart monitor. Long-term or even implantable monitors are sometimes needed to “catch” infrequent arrhythmias. Treatment options can vary from lifestyle changes all the way up to heart surgery and other procedures. Many medications can also be used. Rhythm drugs- “antiarrhythmics,” should be used only under the supervision of a cardiologist because of their potential harm if improperly prescribed.