What Are The Tools and Techniques for Diagnosing Arrhythmia?

Because cardiac arrhythmias do not always cause noticeable or frequent symptoms, they can sometimes be challenging to diagnose. Heart arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat, can be a serious condition and, if suspected, should be diagnosed and evaluated. Medical specialists such as those at Atrial Fibrillation Center Of America are both trained and have the tools and techniques available to accurately diagnose cardiac arrhythmias and to develop appropriate treatment plans.

If you suspect you may have an arrhythmia, such as afib, or if you feel your heart racing, quivering, or ‘flipping over,’ you should make an appointment with the physicians at Atrial Fibrillation Center Of America for an evaluation. Although the sensations listed are not all-inclusive, these feelings are common symptoms of arrhythmias and should be evaluated by a physician. At HHR, our doctors will first gather your personal medical history and carry out a comprehensive physical exam. The information collected includes any family history of heart attacks, arrhythmias, heart disease, or sudden death from heart attacks.

Next, based on the information gathered, a wide range of tools and techniques can be used for further evaluating heart problems and conditions. Some of the primary tools that might be employed include:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): A test which records electrical activity in the heart.
  • Echocardiogram: A procedure to create a visual image of the functioning heart.
  • Holter Monitor: This is a device worn by the patient to record heart activity for from 24 hours to 30 days. This test records any irregularities in heart function.
  • Event Monitor: This is a device similar to a Holter Monitor but worn for an indefinite period and which only records irregular heart activity or symptoms when these are either identified by the patient or by the device itself recognizing that the patient is experiencing irregular heart functions.
  • Stress Test: This procedure involves elevating the heart rate for recording heart activity and blood flow during strenuous physical activity.
  • Tilt-Table Test: The Tilt-Table Test is a test during which the patient is moved from a horizontal to a vertical position while lying on a movable table. Heart activity, including any arrhythmias, is recorded during the procedure.
  • Electrophysiology Studies (EPS): This is a procedure during which a surgeon inserts a special, thin wire into the patient’s heart through the veins to record the heart’s electrical signals and to stimulate the heart. The data gathered is used to analyze the extent and severity of any arrhythmias.
  • Implantable Loop Recorders: The Loop Recorder is a small device implanted under the skin and used to record heart activity over an extended period of time. The data output is then downloaded to a remote monitoring station and analyzed. Data can be collected for a patient from anywhere in the world.

Based on the initial medical examination, one or more of these tests may be recommended. Also, other more specialized procedures may be carried out. Finally, based on all exam and test results, the physician will make a diagnosis and, if appropriate, develop a treatment plan designed specifically for each patient.

Arrhythmias such as afib can be serious. If you feel your heart racing, have palpitations, experience your heart ‘flopping,’ or believe you have an irregular heartbeat of any kind,  please make an appointment with a physician at Atrial Fibrillation Center Of America for a consultation and exam. Should you have an arrhythmia, your doctor will be happy to explain your condition as well as discuss any treatment options that may be warranted. You can make certain your heart is as healthy as possible by calling today and scheduling a visit with one of our specialists. You’ll be glad you got started, 832-478-5067.

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