A normal heart beats in a steady, even rhythm, about 60 to 100 times each minute (that’s about 100,000 times each day). Cardiac arrhythmias are disturbances in the normal rhythm of the heartbeat. Heart rate abnormalities can be the result of arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation (a type of cardiac arrhythmia) and can result in sudden cardiac death.
There are many different types of cardiac arrhythmias. The heart may beat too rapidly (tachycardia) or too slowly (bradycardia), or it may beat irregularly. An occasional palpitation or fluttering is usually not serious, but a persistent arrhythmia may be life threatening.
When to Call an Ambulance
- If you experience severe chest pain, shortness of breath or prolonged palpitations.
- If someone loses consciousness; if heartbeat or breathing has stopped, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).