Premature Contractions

Extra, early, or “skipped” beats are the most frequent cause of irregular heart rhythms. These early, extra beats are weak and may not be felt in the chest or in the pulse at the wrist, which is why symptoms are frequently described as “skipped” beats. Extra beats can come from either the upper chambers (premature atrial complexes, PACs), or the lower chambers (premature ventricular complexes, PVCs) of the heart.

Long QT Syndrome (LQTS)

Long QT Syndrome is a disorder of the electrical system in which the heart cells take longer than normal to recover electrically after each heartbeat. It can be inherited, acquired after taking certain medications, or caused by a combination of heredity and medications. People with LQTS may be susceptible to ventricular fibrillation. 

Heart Block

When some or all of the electrical impulses from the upper chambers of the heart are not properly transmitted to the lower chambers, the condition is known as “Heart Block.” Different types of heart block may require different treatments, depending on exactly which part of the conduction system is faulty. If the bottom chambers beat too slowly, symptoms such as fatigue, lightheadedness, or fainting could develop. If the type of heart block is dangerous, or if symptoms result, a permanent pacemaker is the primary treatment.

Syncope (Fainting)

Fainting, or feeling as if one might faint, can be caused by different conditions, ranging from dehydration to serious heart rhythm disorders, so it needs to be evaluated carefully. Sometimes the cause is not heart-related but still can be dangerous, such as when low blood sugar is to blame. Other conditions can cause a drop in blood pressure and lead to syncope, including medications or certain nerve reflexes to the heart and blood vessels. No matter what the cause, fainting can be dangerous simply because of the potential for injuries from falling.