Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Abnormal Heartbeat (Arrhythmia)
An abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia) is any variation in the normal
heartbeat. Abnormal heartbeats occur when the heart has an irregular heart
rhythm, beats too fast (tachycardia), or beats too slow (bradycardia).
The electrical system of the heart creates signals that trigger the
heart to pump. These electrical signals control the heart rate and rhythm.
Normally, the heart beats in a regular rhythm and at a rate that is appropriate
for the work the body is doing. An arrhythmia results from a problem in the
electrical system of the heart.
Many arrhythmias are minor, causing only occasional abnormal
heartbeats and requiring no treatment. If an arrhythmia needs treatment, options may include medicines, an electrical shock (cardioversion), a cardiac device such as a pacemaker, or ablation.
Current as of:
February 20, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.