Heart rhythm disorders such as heart stumbling: How are they becoming life-threatening?

In her current guide to heart arrhythmia, the German Heart Foundation provides detailed information on the different forms of rhythm disorders, available treatment options and ways of prevention.

What is the most effective treatment for cardiac arrhythmias, why potassium and magnesium are so important to those affected, how to protect themselves against the prevalence of people's disease, and many other questions are discussed in detail in the German Heart Foundation's Guidebook. Even if the person concerned often thinks directly of the worst, a heart attack, during cardiac arrhythmias, many forms are now well-treatable and the patients are often hardly restricted in their everyday life. To assess the risk, however, a specialist examination is urgently required by the cardiologist.

Cardiac arrhythmias need not necessarily be dangerous, but they should be examined urgently.(Picture: psdesign1 / fotolia.com) Cardiac arrhythmias need not necessarily be dangerous, but they should be examined urgently.(Picture: psdesign1 / fotolia.com)

Slight deviations of the heart rate are normal
In cases of slight cardiac arrhythmias, there are often no accompanying symptoms and the affected persons are not aware of their deviant heart rate. The body is, however, in principle dependent on a regular, powerful heart beat. Professor Thomas Meinertz, chairman of the Deutsche Herzstiftung in Frankfurt am Main, was quoted by the news agency "dpa" as the normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. All deviations, such as too slow, too fast or even irregular heartbeats, are referred to as cardiac arrhythmia, according to the expert. However, irregularities of the heart beat, for example, additional strokes in the course of heartstorms, are to a certain extent normal.

Impactful change in the heart rate of concern
In the case of pathological cardiac arrhythmias, the expert is typically diagnosed with a sudden change of the heart rate to a very high or very low heart rate. This is usually the result of heart disease such as a heart muscle inflammation or narrowing of the coronary vessels, quotes the "dpa" Professor Meinertz. Risk factors for the occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias are, for example, particularly high mental and physical stresses, overweight, magnesium deficiency and potassium deficiency. But also lack of sleep as well as the excessive consumption of coffee, alcohol and nicotine can according to the expert play a role.

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Two million Germans affected by atrial fibrillation
As a possible indication of cardiac arrhythmia, the German Heart Foundation mentions symptoms such as dyspnoea, a feeling of tightness in the chest and dizziness. Also, some sufferers are impotent for a short time. However, the extent of the symptoms is not a measure of the risk of cardiac arrhythmia. Thus, even threatening cardiac arrhythmias could remain unaffected by the affected persons for a long time, explains Meinertz.

The most frequent form of cardiac arrhythmia is the Vorofflimmern, according to the German Heart Foundation. In Germany, about two million people are affected. The impulse in the heart is disturbed in this complaint. Thus, the electrical impulses from the right ventricle of the heart are not properly passed on, but instead "other electrical impulses are circulating in the atria," says Felix Gramley from the Heidelberg private clinic for cardiology. This results in uncoordinated excitements of the atrial musculature."As a result, the atria no longer contract regularly and do not actively carry blood into the heart chambers," Gramley continues. Pre-fibrillation also encourages the formation of blood clots, which leads to increased stroke risk for those affected.

Treatment for atrial fibrillation
Preventive treatment is also used to reduce the risk of stroke, as well as prescribing blood thinning drugs and so-called beta-blockers. In particular, the "dpa" Felix Gramley quotes these patients to help control their cardiac rhythm and avoid high and low heart rates. In this treatment, however, pre-fibrillation as such persists.

In the case of pronounced complaints, the so-called electrical cardioversion can be used, in which two electrodes on the thoracic cavity deliver a targeted current impact to the heart under a brief anesthesia, which restores the pre-stimulus and restores normal heart rhythm, the expert reports. If this does not lead to the desired success in the long term, there is also the option of a so-called catheter ablation, which provides for an obliteration of certain sites in the heart tissue which are responsible for the pre-fibrillation by means of high-frequency current or cold, The resulting scars prevent the glitches from being transmitted.
Cardiac arrest system is virtually silent
As a dangerous cardiac arrhythmia, the ventricular fibrillation is to be evaluated as "the heart muscle can pump blood and oxygen through the body with more than 300 beats per minute," says Philipp Sommer from the heart centerLeipzig. Heart and circulation would actually stop at this moment. A sudden loss of the pulse and impotence were the consequences."The survival probability drops by more than 50 percent within just ten minutes, and the risk of brain damage increases dramatically because of the lack of oxygen," says Sommer from the "dpa".In this case the affected persons are dependent on immediate assistance. Passers-by should react immediately, check the breathing and, if necessary, begin a heart pressure massage, the expert warns. These help keep the blood flow a little upright.

In the end, however, the ventricular fibrillation can only be interrupted by a defibrillator. The current pulse briefly halts the heart, "so that it can regain its normal rhythm," says Sommer. Automated external defibrillators( AEDs) are found in many public facilities today and can save lives in such a case. They are also easily applicable by laymen.

Show the first aid measures Success and the patients survive the acute ventricular fibrillation, according to data from the German Heart Foundation, following a follow-up treatment in which a small defibrillator is usually implanted. This automatically analyzes each heart beat and, in the event of a renewed ventricular fibrillation, will emit electrical shocks within a few seconds."When the patients are awake, they feel it as painful, but it saves their lives";emphasized Philipp Sommer.(fp)

The form of cardiac arrhythmia determines the risk
A regular, powerful heart beat is the basis of a healthy cardiovascular system. In heart rhythm disturbances, the frequency of the heartbeat gets out of rhythm, and there may be symptoms which, depending on the extent of the cardiac arrhythmia, can reach to fainting, or even to the death of the persons concerned.

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