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Conditions & Diseases: Cardiovascular System

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Arrhythmia

See Also:
Arrhythmia: Introduction & Pictures
Arrhythmia: Types
Arrhythmia: Causes & Risk Factors
Arrhythmia: Signs & Symptoms
Arrhythmia: Medical Tests & Diagnosis Methods
Arrhythmia: Treatment & Prevention Options

Medical Tests & Diagnosis Methods/Tools

Various diagnostic methods to detect arrhythmias include:

1. Blood Tests: Blood tests are carried out to check the sodium, potassium and thyroid hormone levels. (4)

2. Electrocardiographic techniques: An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) records the relative timing of atrial and ventricular electrical events that can be used to measure the traveling time of impulses through the atria, AV conduction system, and ventricles. Three major waves of electrical signals appear on the ECG:

  • The first wave records the electrical activity of the atria.
  • The second, largest wave records the electrical activity of the ventricles.
  • The third wave records the heart’s return to resting state.

Shapes and sizes of these waves are studied along with the time interval, rates and regularity of the waves.

3. Holter Monitor: This is a small, portable ECG recorder also called a continuous ambulatory electrocardigraphic monitor. A patient can perform normal activities while being tested and the rhythm disturbances are recorded and analyzed later.

4.Treadmill testing: This test may be carried out for suspected arrhythmias, which are exercise related. The heart rate and rhythm are monitored while the patient walks or runs on a treadmill or rides a bicycle.

5. Tilt table studies: This test is conducted to determine fainting spells and record the changes in the heart rate and blood pressure to the positional changes such as lying down and standing up. A small plastic tube or a catheter is inserted into a vein to monitor the blood pressure and the cause for fainting spells is diagnosed.

6. Transtelephonic monitor or transient event monitor: These small recorders can be attached with bracelets, finger clips or patches under the arms. The ECG recording is stored and transmitted by phone to the cardiologist for analysis.

 

7. Electrocardiogram: Electrocardiographic studies use sound waves to provide some valuable information about the heart and arrhythmias.

8. Esophageal electrophysiological procedure: In this procedure, a thin, soft, flexible plastic tube is inserted into the nostril and positioned in the esophagus (since the esophagus is closer to heart’s upper chambers i.e., atria) and an ECG is recorded. An electric stimulator could be used to make the heart beat faster and detect the signals of arrhythmia.

9. Intracardiac electrophysiologic procedure: In this procedure, one or more thin, long plastic tubes or catheters are introduced into the arteries/veins in the arms, legs or both and guided into the heart wherein the electrical signals are recorded, which provides a very precise information, more than a normal ECG.

10. Electrophysiologic testing: This procedure is carried out under local anesthesia and catheters are positioned through peripheral veins or peripheral arteries with the help of a fluoroscope in the atria, ventricles, or both and at strategic points along the conduction system. The cardiac electrical signals are recorded at various points simultaneously and the heart block is detected and shows the point of origin of tachycardia. (10).     

See Also:
Arrhythmia: Introduction & Pictures
Arrhythmia: Types
Arrhythmia: Causes & Risk Factors
Arrhythmia: Signs & Symptoms
Arrhythmia: Medical Tests & Diagnosis Methods
Arrhythmia: Treatment & Prevention Options

Article by Kona Vishnu, MS
Medical Writer,
OmniMedicalSearch.com

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Page Last Modified:
01/06/2011