An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. It can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly. If the heartbeat is too fast, it is called tachycardia; if it is too slow, it is called bradycardia. There are many types of arrhythmias, and most are harmless. However, some can be very serious or even life-threatening if the arrhythmia prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the body, thereby damaging the heart, brain or other organs. Arrhythmias may be caused by coronary artery disease, heart muscle changes, electrolyte imbalances in the blood, or injury from a heart attack. But arrhythmias also can occur in normal, healthy hearts.
UAB Cardiovascular Institute delivers optimal patient care for heart rhythm disorders. You will be cared for by regional and world leaders in the treatment of heart arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, ventricular tachycardia, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, atrioventricular re-entrant tachycardia, and other heart rhythm abnormalities.
Our physicians evaluate the newest treatments and technologies and author professional publications that advance the field of arrhythmia treatment. Their extensive experience and academic backgrounds ensure that they are familiar with all types of heart rhythm disorders. Our academic medical center performs more than 600 heart rhythm-related procedures each year, and our success in treating all types of complex arrhythmias is well-documented. Our electrophysiologists have access to the UAB Cardiovascular Institute, one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast. It features the most advanced technology available, including four procedural suites dedicated to electrophysiology (the electrical signals in the heart). At UAB Medicine you are part of a program that carries out pioneering work in atrial fibrillation and advanced pacemaker and cardioverter defibrillator design.
Understand the risk factors and symptoms of heart arrhythmias, and when it is important for you to see a doctor.
Arrhythmia Risk Factors, Symptoms, & Treatments
If you've ever felt your heart skip a beat, you may have an arrhythmia. Tom McElderry, MD, an arrhythmia specialist at UAB, talks to Daytime Alabama on WVTM-TV, Channel 13, in Birmingham, Ala., about the symptoms and risk factors of arrhythmia, and what to do if you or a loved one experiences this condition.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
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