Certain factors may increase your risk of developing an arrhythmia. These include:
July 31, 2014
- Coronary artery disease, other heart problems and previous heart surgery. Narrowed heart arteries, a heart attack, abnormal heart valves, prior heart surgery, heart failure, cardiomyopathy and other heart damage are risk factors for almost any kind of arrhythmia.
- High blood pressure. This increases your risk of developing coronary artery disease. It may also cause the walls of your left ventricle to become stiff and thick, which can change how electrical impulses travel through your heart.
- Congenital heart disease. Being born with a heart abnormality may affect your heart's rhythm.
- Thyroid problems. Having an overactive or underactive thyroid gland can raise your risk for arrhythmias.
- Drugs and supplements. Certain over-the-counter cough and cold medicines and certain prescription drugs may contribute to arrhythmia development.
- Diabetes. Your risk of developing coronary artery disease and high blood pressure greatly increases with uncontrolled diabetes.
- Obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder, in which your breathing is interrupted during sleep, can increase your risk of bradycardia, atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias.
- Electrolyte imbalance. Substances in your blood called electrolytes — such as potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium — help trigger and conduct the electrical impulses in your heart. Electrolyte levels that are too high or too low can affect your heart's electrical impulses and contribute to arrhythmia development.
- Drinking too much alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can affect the electrical impulses in your heart and can increase the chance of developing atrial fibrillation.
- Caffeine or nicotine use. Caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants can cause your heart to beat faster and may contribute to the development of more-serious arrhythmias. Illegal drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine, may profoundly affect the heart and lead to many types of arrhythmias or to sudden death due to ventricular fibrillation.
- Overview of arrhythmias. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/arrhythmias_and_conduction_disorders/overview_of_arrhythmias.html?qt=arrhythmias&alt=sh. Accessed May 8, 2014.
- What is an arrhythmia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/arr/. Accessed May 8, 2014.
- Heart diseases and disorders. Heart Rhythm Society. http://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources/Heart-Diseases-Disorders#a. May 8, 2014.
- Hands-only CPR: Learn more. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/HandsOnlyCPR/LearnMore/Learn-More_UCM_440810_FAQ.jsp. Accessed May 8, 2014.
- Substances and heart rhythm disorders. Heart Rhythm Society. http://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources/Substances-Heart-Rhythm-Disorders#axzz32CJfvIYA. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Your heart's electrical system. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hhw/electrical.html. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 8, 2014.
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- Understand your risk for arrhythmia. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/UnderstandYourRiskforArrhythmia/Understand-Your-Risk-for-Arrhythmia_UCM_002024_Article.jsp. Accessed May 8, 2014.
- What is cardioversion? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/crv/. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- What is catheter ablation? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ablation/. Accessed May 8, 2014.
- What is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/icd/. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Prevention & treatment of arrhythmia. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/PreventionTreatmentofArrhythmia/Prevention-Treatment-of-Arrhythmia_UCM_002026_Article.jsp. Accessed May 19, 2014.
- Brenyo A, et al. Review of complementary and alternative medicine medical treatment of arrhythmias. The American Journal of Cardiology. 2014;113:897.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 1, 2014.
- Mankad R (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 6, 2014.