Saturday, January 31, 2009


Dysrhythmias are dangerous and can easily kill a person. There are different types of dysrhythmias and each of them should be treated differently since they occur for different reasons. The only way to know what kind of Dysrhythmia one has, is to look at electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG). By looking at the waves a specialist can see where the problem started. In addition to dysrhythmia there are also bradycardia and tachycardia. Bradycardia is a very slow heart beat, tachycardia is a very fast heart beat. Both of these can be dangerous in some cases and the cause needs to be investigated.

In order to understand these cardiac problems one must understand how heart works. So I will start by explaining exactly how electric impulses are making our hearts beat and send blood to the whole body. Our heart has two nodes, one of them (SA node) is sending an impulse to start a heart beat. AV node picks up this impulse and sends it to the rest of the heart. While impulse is moving through the heart, a heart muscle constricts forcing blood into the arteries. A heart then has a few milliseconds to rest and everything starts all over again. I was able to understand it better when I thought about nodes as if they were people. So here is how this story goes: SA node is trying to make AV node work, but AV node is lazy and needs a good kick in order to do the job. So SA kicks AV hard enough that AV gets up and takes a package to send it down to all the people (cells) that live in the heart.

Sometimes SA node doesn’t kick hard enough and AV is just sitting there without doing anything. Two small kicks however will add up and when SA kicks again AV starts working again. Well, this example right here is one type of Dysrhythmia.

Another type of Dysrhythmia is when SA can not kick at all, so some other cell from the top portion of the heart (atrium) kicks AV node. These kicks might not follow any pattern so the heart might beat irregularly. Kicks are also usually weaker and one kick might not be enough which also leads to dysrhythmias.

Cells in the ventricles (bottom of the heart) can send signals to AV node as well. When this happens AV node ends up being knocked of his feet because he simply doesn’t expect someone to kick him from that side. It takes AV node some time to get back up and figure out what just happened. If this happens only once in a while, it’s not that bad, but if it happens let’s say 10 times per minute, that will add up to a lot of missed heart beats. If your body needs heart to beat 60 times per minute and this guy from down south keeps on interrupting because he hates yankees so much and thinks he can run the whole heart, your actual heart beats can be reduced to only 40 beats. It is not enough for our body. In fact this many missed beats are medical emergency as it can cause death.

The most dangerous thing is flatter. This is simply when each part of the heart stop caring about the other part and they are all doing whatever they want to. Just like when husband and wife getting into a fight and they each do what they want to do. Husband buys a wide screen TV, wife buys a Gucci bag and Chanel glasses. Next thing you know they have no money to pay for their apartment and they get thrown out.

Flatters have to be dealt with ASAP! Flatters do not allow for any heart beat at all, so it is just as dangerous then having a heart stop completely.

People with dysrhythmias are often prescribed beta blockers; Toprol is one of the most common of them. CoQ10 is produced by our body and is vital for proper heart work. Beta blockers deplete the body of CoQ10.

Shock can also cause dysrhythmias. For example; people who were hit in the chest can develop dysrhythmias. Inappropriate use of electric shock can also be a cause of dysrhythmia. With certain types of dysrhythmias shock can turn the clock and fix dysrhythmias. Defibrillation can be used to treat certain types of dysrhythmias. In my future posts I will explain more about each type of dysrhythmia and how to treat them.

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