|CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368|
Risk Factors for Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)
by Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop arrhythmias with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing arrhythmias. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk of arrhythmias.
The normal aging process makes the heart more susceptible to arrhythmias. As a result, arrhythmias are more common in people who are aged 60 years or older, but they can occur at any age, even in children. Risk can be compounded by other health conditions or treatments that can affect the heart's rhythm.
Chronic cardiovascular conditions prevent the heart and blood vessels from functioning normally. These conditions reduce the body's blood supply while increasing the heart's workload. Over time, the extra strain can damage the heart muscle and/or blood vessels, increasing the risk of arrhythmias. Cardiovascular conditions include:
Medications and Other Substances TOP
Certain medications and everyday substances may interfere with your heart's electrical circuit, increasing your risk of arrhythmias. These include:
Other Risk Factors TOP
Other factors that are associated with arrhythmias include:
Barsky AJ, Cleary PD, Coeytaux RR, Ruskin JN. The clinical course of palpitations in medical outpatients. Arch Intern Med.. 1995;155(16):1782-1788.
Lok NS, Lau CP. Prevalence of palpitations, cardiac arrhythmias and their associated risk factors in ambulant elderly. Int J Cardiol 1996;54(3):231-236.
Mostofsky E, Penner EA, Mittleman MA. Outbursts of anger as a trigger of acute cardiovascular events: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Heart J. 2015;35(21):1404-1410.
Murray-Thomas T, Jones ME, Patel D, et al. Risk of mortality (including sudden cardiac death) and major cardiovascular events in atypical and typical antipsychotic users: a study with the general practice research database. Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. [Epub 2013 Dec].
Peretto G, Durante A, Limite LR, Cianflone D. Postoperative arrhythmias after cardiac surgery: incidence, risk factors, and therapeutic management. Cardiol Res Pract. [Epub 2014 Jan].
Sarter BH, Finkle JK, Gerszten RE, Buxton AE. What is the risk of sudden cardiac death in patients presenting with hemodynamically stable sustained ventricular tachycardia after myocardial infarction? J Am Coll Cardiol. 1996;28(1):122-129.
Understanding your risk for arrhythmia. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated December 21, 2016. Accessed March 19, 2014.
Who is at risk for an arrhythmia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/arr/atrisk. Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed March 19, 2014.
7/1/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115288/Atrial-fibrillation: Qureshi WT, O'Neal WT, Khodneva Y, et al. Association between opioid use and atrial fibrillation: The Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(6):1058-1060.
Last reviewed June 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 7/1/2015
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.