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Cardiac arrhythmias 

Cardiac arrhythmias
Chapter:
Cardiac arrhythmias
Author(s):

Matthew R. Ginks

, D.A. Lane

, A.D. McGavigan

, and Gregory Y.H. Lip

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0346
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date: 02 March 2021

The term cardiac arrhythmia (or dysrhythmia) is used to describe any abnormality of cardiac rhythm. The spectrum of cardiac arrhythmias ranges from innocent extrasystoles to immediately life-threatening conditions such as asystole or ventricular fibrillation.

The key to the successful diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias is the systematic analysis of an ECG of optimal quality obtained during the arrhythmia.

Continuous monitoring is necessary for identification when arrhythmias are intermittent. Ambulatory ECG recordings are of most value when they provide correlation between the patient’s symptoms and the cardiac rhythm at that moment. Alternative strategies for the detection of infrequent arrhythmias include the use of a patient-activated recorder, which is applied and activated during symptoms, or an external or implanted loop recorder.

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