Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias are irregular heart rhythms related to disturbances in the heart's electrical conduction system that can occur in individuals with structurally normal hearts (DeMaso 2004). Bradyarrhythmias (slow heart rate) and tachyarrhythmias (fast heart rates) are the primary rhythms of concern (DeMaso 2004; O'Connor et al. 2008). Although arrhythmias are more likely to occur with serious pediatric heart disease, only in rare cases does an irregular heartbeat indicate serious heart disease (DeMaso 2004). Treatments for cardiac arrhythmias include pharmacological agents, pacemaker and cardioverter-defibrillator implantation, radiofrequency catheter ablation of ectopic heart muscle foci and pathways during cardiac catheterization, and heart transplantation in cases of life-threatening disease (DeMaso 2004; Epstein et al. 2008).

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