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Rhythm and Conduction Disorders

An arrhythmia is any disorder of heart rate or rhythm. They are caused by a disruption of the normal electrical conduction system of the heart. Arrhythmias include tachycardias (the heartbeat is too fast), bradycardias (the heartbeat is too slow), and "true" arrhythmias (a disturbed rhythm). The heart may seem to skip a beat or beat irregularly or very fast or very slowly.

You should not panic if you experience a few flutters or your heart races occasionally. But if you have questions about your heart rhythm or symptoms, check with your doctor.
recommended reading
These articles provide in-depth information and are written to help you make the best healthcare decisions for you and your loved ones.
Atrial Fibrillation
Electrical Cardioversion for Atrial Fibrillation
Maze Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation
Pacemaker for Atrial Fibrillation
Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
Bradycardia
Pacemaker for Bradycardia
Pacemaker Placement
Tachycardia
Electrical Cardioversion (Defibrillation) for a Fast Heart Rate
Catheter Ablation for a Fast Heart Rate
Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome
Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator: Patient Perspective
decision points
When dealing with an illness or health problem, you have to make decisions—when to call a doctor, which test to have, and what treatment to use. Decision Points are designed to help you learn about your choices and options, and to prepare you to work with your healthcare provider to make the best decision for your care.
Should I take anticoagulants to prevent stroke?
Should I try cardioversion for atrial fibrillation?
action sets
Action Sets are designed to help you take an active role in managing a health condition. Action Sets provide the tools and information you can use in the day-to-day management of your health conditions.
Taking anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation
tests & procedures

You doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests to evaluate your condition.

Ambulatory Electrocardiography
Chemistry Screen
Electrocardiography (EKG, ECG)
Prothrombin Time
Thyroid Hormone Tests

For other tests and diagnostic procedures use the section of this site called Medical Tests A to Z.

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medication center
medication assistance

This section provides you with an alphabetical listing of more than 1,000 medications, including prescription drugs and those you can purchase over-the-counter. Just "click on" your medications to learn what they are used for, how to take them, special precautions, and some of the possible side effects. You can choose your medication by brand name or generic name.

Medications A-Z

If you are having difficulty paying for your medications you may qualify for financial assistance or free medications. Visit the Medication Assistance Center to learn about available medication and insurance programs.

Don't let financial problems stop you from getting the treatment you need; there are resources and organizations that may be able to help you.

additional resources

This listing provides you with Internet sites that are sponsored by government agencies or are well-known and credible national organizations.

MEDLINEplus—Arrhythmia Heart Rhythm Society—Patient Information Center
MEDLINEplus—Pacemakers and Implantable Defibrillators
Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation

Surfing the Internet
When looking at Internet sites, remember that the information can be sponsored by anyone. Take into account the sponsoring group or individual when gathering information or help. Be especially careful about giving out personal or financial information.

Learn more about surfing the web:

Last modified on: 30 June 2015