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Types of arrhythmia

Arrhythmias can be categorised in many different ways but it is common for all to be classified in two principal ways:

  1. Where in the heart the arrhythmia originates – in the upper chambers or the lower chambers
    • Lower chamber origin: ventricular arrhythmia
    • Upper chamber origin: surpraventricular origin
  1. Whether the arrhythmia increases or decreases the heart rate
    • Too fast: tachycardia
    • Too slow: bradycardia

 

Arrhythmias that occur in the atria (the top chambers of the heart) are supraventricular (above the ventricles) in origin, whereas ventricular arrhythmias start in the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart).


The ventricles are the heart’s main pumping chambers, and the majority of the potentially lethal arrhythmias are ventricular in origin.

Arrhythmias that occur in the atria (the top chambers of the heart) are supraventricular (above the ventricles) in origin. These arrhythmias are not responsible for dramatic events such as sudden cardiac death, but the most common arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, is supraventricular and can lead to fatal strokes.

A healthy heart will normally beat in a steady and coordinated way. It will slow down or speed up depending on the body’s needs. The rate at which your heart beats is important because it influences how much blood and oxygen circulates around the body.


When the heart rhythm is under normal control, it is referred to as sinus rhythm. When in sinus rhythm the heart’s natural pacemaker controls the rhythm. The hormones and nervous system of the body affect this pacemaker and help in determining the heart rate.


A heartbeat that is too fast is called tachycardia.  
 

A healthy heart will normally beat in a steady and coordinated way. It will slow down or speed up depending on the body’s needs. The rate at which your heart beats is important because it influences how much blood and oxygen circulates around the body.


When the heart rhythm is under normal control, it is referred to as sinus rhythm. When in sinus rhythm the heart’s natural pacemaker controls the rhythm. The hormones and nervous system of the body affect this pacemaker and help in determining the heart rate.


A heartbeat that is too slow is called bradycardia.