Your heart functions at a wide range of speeds, slowly when you’re resting and faster during exercise or excitement. When your pulse quickens as you’re sitting still, though, it can be a strange experience. It’s called arrhythmia, and it can be fairly common. In many cases, it’s a harmless event. 

Some episodes of arrhythmia are not harmless, however. They may even be a sign of a serious heart condition or a life-threatening event. Even when your arrhythmia is benign, you may find the symptoms uncomfortable. Since it’s often a controllable condition, there’s no reason for you to let these episodes interrupt your day. 

South Shore Cardiovascular Associates specializes in treating arrhythmia. Our doctors have  the expertise you need to diagnose and treat your heart condition. Don’t dismiss the flutter. Make an appointment with us today. 

Understanding arrhythmia

Tiny, natural electrical signals trigger your heart, creating a pulsing beat that efficiently moves blood through your body, supplying the oxygen and nutrients necessary for life. You have a resting heart rate for basic metabolic needs that  increases as physical conditions demand an increase in blood supply. There’s also an upper limit, the fastest rate that your body can handle. 

While these numbers vary between people and situations, arrhythmias have two general types. Tachycardia occurs when your resting heart rate exceeds 100 beats per minute. Bradycardia shows a resting heart rate below 60 beats per minute, though it’s possible for some to have a base rate of less than 60, such as athletes who train at a high level. 

Both tachycardia and bradycardia have subtypes, including: 


  • Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) and atrial flutter affect the upper heart chambers.
  • Ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia originate in the lower heart chambers.
  • Supraventricular tachycardia encompasses any issue above the ventricles that produces a sudden, pounding heartbeat that lasts a short time. 


  • A conduction block occurs when heartbeat signals slow down or stop.
  • Sick sinus syndrome describes problems with the heart’s sinus node, its natural pacemaker, when it becomes scarred and disrupts the heartbeat.

Premature heartbeats are another type of arrhythmia. They create a sensation that’s best described as your heart skipping a beat. While not usually a problem on their own, premature heartbeats can trigger other arrhythmias. 

When does arrhythmia require treatment?

If you’ve never experienced arrhythmia before, visit one of our offices when you feel your heartbeat is fast, slow, or skipping. When your irregular heartbeat occurs with other symptoms, it may indicate a medical condition. Seek prompt care when you experience arrhythmia along with: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting 
  • Lightheadedness
  • General weakness

Untreated arrhythmias can cause a variety of complications, depending on their type. These complications include stroke, heart failure, and death. 

Once you’re diagnosed, you’ll only need treatment for your arrhythmia when it causes significant symptoms, though it’s common to start a routine of checkups to monitor your heart health. 

With offices in Brandon, Riverview, Tampa, and Sun City Center, Florida, South Shore Cardiovascular Associates has a convenient location for you. Schedule a consultation by phone or online with on of our offices today. 

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