Arrhythmia Testing in Manhattan
What is an arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia is defined as an abnormal heartbeat. It may be a heartbeat that is faster than average, slower than average or simply irregular. Arrhythmias cause your heart to work harder than normal to maintain a constant supply of blood to the body.
How is an arrhythmia diagnosed?
There are several arrthythmia tests that can be used to diagnose a heart arrhythmia. These include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – This test gives an overall idea of how the heart beats.
- Event Monitors/Devices – Because arrhythmias can occur at any time, it can make them difficult to chart with a one-time ECG. In some cases, it’s necessary to monitor your heart over a longer period of time. There are three different types of these recording devices:
- Holter Monitor – A Holter monitor records your heart’s activity for 24-48 hours. It works by attaching electrodes to areas on your body while the monitor records your heart’s rhythm.
- Event Monitor – These devices are used only when you feel symptomatic. When you feel an irregular heartbeat, you hold the device to your chest and push a button that records the event. The information is stored in the recorder to be analyzed.
- Implantable Loop Recorders – This device is implanted under your skin and is programmed to record an arrhythmia when it occurs. You can also trigger the device to record via a remote.
- Stress Test – Also known as an exercise stress test, this test evaluates how much stress your heart can manage before developing either an abnormal rhythm or evidence of ischemia (not enough blood flow to the heart muscle).
- Tilt-table Test – This test is used for people who have problems fainting. During the test, your heart rate and blood pressure are recorded while lying on a flat table that changes its positions.
- Electrophysiology Study – This is a more involved procedure used to diagnose arrhythmias for people who have had heart attacks or fast heart rates. During the test, cardiac catheters and computers are used to create electrocardiogram (EKG) tracings and electrical measurements from inside your heart.
- Esophageal Electrophysiologic Procedure – This procedure uses a soft, thin tube placed up the nostril and down the esophagus. This can be more precise than an ECG as the esophagus is close to the heart’s upper chambers.
- Transthoracic Echocardiography (TTE) – This test takes pictures of the heart using sound waves (ultrasound technology).
What are the signs and symptoms of an arrhythmia?
If you have a heart arrhythmia, you may experience:
- Racing heartbeats (tachycardia)
- Slow heartbeats (bradycardia)
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Excessive sweating
What causes an arrhythmia?
Many factors can lead to or cause an arrhythmia to develop. These include:
- A heart attack
- Scarring of heart tissue from a prior heart attack
- Changes to your heart’s structure
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Age-related degeneration
- Overuse of alcohol or caffeine
- Drug abuse
- Certain medications and supplements
- Sleep apnea
- Complications of a heart condition
- Genetics and family history
Although an arrhythmia can be harmless, others can be serious and may even be fatal. If you have any symptoms that may warrant arrhythmia testing, the first step is to schedule a consultation with an experienced cardiologist at Park Avenue Medical Professionals. We are known for our compassionate care and personalized approach. Schedule an appointment today by contacting our office at 212.427.2000. You can also make an appointment by filling out this form.