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Arrhythmias Specialist

Heart Rhythm Associates, LLC

Van H. De Bruyn, MD, FACC, FHRS

General Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology located in Little Rock, AR

If you’re experiencing a heartbeat that seems too slow, too fast, or irregular, you could be having an arrhythmia. Van H. De Bruyn, MD, offers personalized and expert cardiology care for men and women in Little Rock and the surrounding areas at Heart Rhythm Associates LLC. For expert diagnosis and treatment for an heart arrhythmia in Central Arkansas, call Heart Rhythm Associates or schedule an appointment online today.

Arrhythmia Q & A

What is an heart arrhythmia?

Heart arrhythmia is an rhythm problem with your heart. These changes in your heartbeat occur when the electrical impulses controlling your heartbeat malfunction.

There several types including:

  • Tachycardia: a heart rhythm faster than 100 beats a minute
  • Bradycardia: heart rhythm slower than 60 beats a minute
  • Supraventricular arrhythmias: irregular rhythms starting in the upper heart chambers
  • Ventricular arrhythmia: irregularities beginning in the lower heart chambers

One of the most common type of an heart arrhythmia is an atrial fibrillation. This condition causes an irregular and rapid heartbeat that can increase your risk of serious health complications like heart failure and stroke.

What are the symptoms of an heart arrhythmia?

A heart arrhythmia doesn't always cause symptoms. When they’re present, they can include:

  • Racing heartbeat
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Fluttering sensations in your chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Chest pain

Sudden or frequent changes in your heartbeat can indicate a serious condition, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What causes an heart arrhythmia?

You might experience arrhythmias for several reasons, including:

  • A high-stress lifestyle
  • Smoking, excessive drinking, drug abuse, or too much caffeine
  • An overactive or underactive thyroid gland
  • Certain conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or sleep apnea
  • Blocked heart arteries due to coronary artery disease
  • Changes in your heart structure

You can also have an arrhythmia if you’re having a heart attack or from scar tissue caused by a previous heart attack.

How is an arrhythmia diagnosed and treated?

Dr. De Bruyn is an expert cardiologist with extensive training in heart rhythm disorders. To diagnose your arrhythmia, he usually performs a comprehensive physical examination, discusses your symptoms, and reviews your medical history. He might also recommend:

  • Lab tests to rule out underlying conditions like thyroid disorders or heart disease
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure electrical activity in your heart
  • Echocardiogram to create images of your heart to look for changes in its size or structure
  • Portable cardiac monitors to evaluate your heart activity outside of your office visits

Treating an arrhythmia varies depending on your diagnosis. For some heart arrhythmia, Dr. De Bruyn can suggest medications like blood thinners to reduce your risk of stroke and blood clots. Other heart arrhythmia require surgical techniques like ablation, using radiofrequency energy to block the cause of your arrhythmia.

In some cases, treating an heart arrhythmia involves implantable devices like pacemakers that use electrical impulses to correct an abnormal heartbeat.

Call Heart Rhythm Associates or schedule an appointment online today.