Arrhythmias are very common, both the harmless type and the dangerous type. An arrhythmia can be caused by:
The most common cause of dangerous arrhythmias is a heart attack. When the heart is deprived of adequate blood supply during a heart attack, its electrical activity can become erratic. Diseased heart valves and diseased heart muscle, direct injury to the heart, diseases that alter the body's chemical balance, and several kinds of medication can also upset the heart's circuitry.
The most common causes of arrhythmia include:
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Mayo Clinic and Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: http://www.mayo.edu/ .
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/ .
National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nih.gov/ .
Snow, V, Weiss, KB, LeFevre, M, et al. Management of newly detected atrial fibrillation: a clinical practice guideline from the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:1009
Weber, BE, Kapoor, WN. Evaluation and outcomes of patients with palpitations. Am J Med. 1996;100:138.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 09/11/2012