Your Heart Rhythm

A Primer On Cardiac Arrhythmias

Fainting girl illustration

This article was adapted from a patient information booklet I published in 1991 that was entitled, "Your Heart Rhythm." I have expanded most topics to include technical aspects normally reserved for students of cardiology (to satisfy those cyberphiliacs who enjoy intellectually challenging their health care providers). This basic discussion will explain how the heart functions, where the normal heart rhythm comes from, how it is regulated by the body, and the various ways it can become disturbed. Detailed information on specific arrhythmias is also provided, so you can read about whatever pertains to your particular situation. It is best to start at the Introduction and click "next" at the bottom of each page. If you only need information about a specific arrhythmia, click on one of the topics below. For a more advanced discussion, see my article on Advanced Topics In Arrhythmias.

Table of Contents

Basic Physiology
The Cardiac Cycle
What Is Electrophysiology?
Arrhythmias 101
The Electrocardiogram
Arrhythmia Terminology
Sinus Bradycardia
"Sick Sinus Syndrome"
Sinus Tachycardia
AV Block
Atrial Premature Beats
Supraventricular Tachycardia
Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial Flutter
Ventricular Premature Beats
Ventricular Tachycardia
Ventricular Fibrillation