Heart Arrhythmia

Definition of Heart Arrhythmia

Heart arrhythmia describes an abnormally beating heart. The abnormal condition may be a heart rate that is too slow or too fast, or the rhythm may be irregular.

Diagnosis of Heart Arrhythmia

While there are several types of tests for heart arrhythmia, we are focused on electrocardiogram (EKG) studies. In the paragraphs below we summarize the arrhythmia training tools offered on this website:

  • Heart Arrhythmia - EKG Basics
  • Graded Quiz

Heart Arrhythmia - EKG Basics

This short course present lessons on calculating heart rate from an EKG tracing, assessing cardiac rhythm, observing P-wave forms, and measurement of intervals and segments. Quizzes are available to allow users to practice each teaching point.

Heart Arrhythmia Training

Heart Arrhythmia Drills

Try our heart arrhythmia practice strips to gain confidence and speed in arrhythmia interpretation. After each answer, scoring and detailed coaching is provided. With 100+ EKG strips, this drill can be repeated many times.

Heart Arrhythmia Drills

Arrhythmia Quiz

The heart arrhythmia quiz consists twenty EKGs that require assessment. With each answer, feedback is given. A report with all twenty questions and correct answers is provided at the completion of the quiz.

ECG Quiz

Patient ECG Monitor Challenge

Practice reading EKG's from a moving waveform using this quiz.

Patient ECG Monitor Challenge

Types of Heart Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias can be classified by their origin (atria or ventricles) and by heart rate.

  • Tachycardia

    A fast (over 100 beats per minute) heart rate is called tachycardia. Tachycardias can originate in the atria or ventricles.

    • Supraventricular (atrial) arrhythmias include:
      • Atrial fibrillation, which is a chaotic, fast heart rhythm. Fairly common. Risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age.
      • Atrial flutter, a rapid heart beat, but not as chaotic as atrial fibrillation.
      • Supraventricular tachycardia, originating above the ventricles, it can last for seconds to hours. Several types of supraventricular tachycardia can be diagnosed.
      • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, is a second electrical pathway between atria and ventricles that bypasses the atrioventricular node. It can cause supraventricular tachycardia.
    • Ventricular arrhythmias include:
      • Long QT syndrome
      • Premature ventricular contractions
      • Ventricular fibrillation

  • Bradycardia

    Bradycardia describes slow heart rates (under 60 beats per minute). A slow heart rate may be normal, for example in athletes. In other patients, it may be a sign of an abnormal heart condition.

    • Problems in the heart's electrical conduction system cause bradyarrhythmias such as:
      • Heart Block, which is an interruption of the heart's electrical signals moving to the ventricles. Heart blocks may be congenital or caused by heart disease or due to aging.
      • Sick Sinus Syndrome, which is due to a failure of the sinus node to generate reliable electrical impulses.

  • Premature Beat

    Premature Beat is a term that describes an extra beat, occurring earlier than normal.

External References

Kids Health
EKG Academy