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What does having a problem with "heart rhythm" mean?

Your heart normally beats regularly at 50-150 beats per minute. This rate will vary depending on your age, sex, and degree of fitness. The medical term for an abnormality of heart rhythm is arrhythmia or dysrhythmia.

One type of abnormal rhythm is a very fast heart rate (tachycardia). It reduces the heart's ability to pump. A very fast heart rate is sometimes related to a congenital heart defect, but it occurs in normal, healthy hearts too. If necessary, medication can be used to slow the heart rate to normal.
A very slow heart rate (bradycardia) can reduce the heart's pumping ability. Some forms of this condition arise as a result of congenital heart defects. It can also occur after surgery. If your heart rhythm remains abnormally slow, you may need an artificial pacemaker.

There are many other types of arrhythmias. Most are temporary and have little effect on the health of your heart. Examples of these are irregular heart-beats and skipped or missed beats. Sometimes an arrhythmia occurs after surgery. If the condition continues or if it affects the function of the heart in a serious way, your doctor may wish to regulate it with medical treatment.

Read more in our article ‘Know your heart beat’.

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