Board Certified Cardiovascular Specialist & Board Certified Cardiologist located in Frisco, Allen, Plano, McKinney, Frisco, TX

Feeling your heart beating irregularly or having a heart rate that’s too fast or slow can be a worrying experience. If you have arrhythmia symptoms, visit board-certified cardiovascular specialist Shahnaz Begum, MD, FACC, at Heart Care in Frisco, Texas. Dr. Begum is a cardiology specialist offering patients a fast and accurate diagnosis and effective arrhythmia treatments. Call Heart Care to schedule an arrhythmia evaluation or book an appointment online today.

Arrhythmia Q & A

What is an arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia, or cardiac arrhythmia, is an abnormal heart rhythm. They can present as an irregular heartbeat, bradycardia (slow heartbeat), tachycardia (fast heartbeat), or any combination of these issues. Arrhythmia interferes with blood flow, depriving your organs of oxygen.

At Heart Care, Dr. Begum sees many types of arrhythmia, including:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Premature atrial contraction
  • Premature ventricular contraction
  • Atrial flutter
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • Ventricular tachycardia (VT)
  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Low heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Heart block/heart pause

Some arrhythmias aren’t harmful, but others could be life-threatening.


What causes arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia results from disruption to the electrical signals originating in the heart’s sinus node, which regulates your heartbeat. It may be caused by an abnormality that developed before birth (congenital heart defect) or a condition, such as:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Heart tissue scarring

Your risk of arrhythmia increases if you smoke, drink heavily, experience chronic stress, or take certain medications.


What symptoms does arrhythmia cause?

In addition to the slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat, arrhythmia symptoms also include:

  • Palpitations (pounding or racing heartbeat)
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

Some arrhythmias cause syncope (fainting).


How is an arrhythmia diagnosed?

Following a physical exam, medical history check, and symptom review, Dr. Begum might recommend tests to learn more about your arrhythmia.

An electrocardiogram (EKG) records the heart’s electrical activity, and an echocardiogram provides moving images of the heart to see how well it functions. Some people need to wear a Holter or event monitor — a portable device that records their heart’s activity over several days or weeks.

In some cases, more advanced tests, like tilt-table testing or electrophysiology studies, might be necessary. Or Dr. Begum, or another provider may recommend a cardiac workup after you have a stroke. 


What treatment would I need for an arrhythmia?

Lifestyle modifications often help manage arrhythmia, so Dr. Begum might advise you to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, and change your diet. You may need to take antiarrhythmics or other medications. Dr. Begum and the team can asses your need for blood thinners if it’s determined that you have heart disease.

Some people benefit from cardiac ablation, which destroys abnormal heart cells. Dr. Begum can also assess you for a pacemaker or a defibrillator implant that detects arrhythmia and corrects it with electrical impulses.

Call Heart Care or book an appointment online today for prompt, expert arrhythmia diagnosis and treatment.