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Your heart has its own intricate electrical system for keeping your heartbeat constant and regular, like the timing belt in your car keeps the engine's pistons firing in a certain rhythm. When the heart's electrical system "misfires," you may feel the heart flutter or perhaps skip a beat. This sensation is known as arrhythmia, or simply an irregular heartbeat.

Many arrhythmias are harmless, but some can interfere with the heart's ability to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

An arrhythmia can be caused by a defect in the nerves that produce the electrical signals that control the heartbeat, or anything that prevents these signals from being carried through the heart.

Not all arrhythmias cause symptoms. If your doctor suspects an arrhythmia, he or she will work to diagnose you by first ask some detailed questions about your symptoms, your medical history, any medications you are taking, and any health-related habits such as smoking.

The most common types of arrhythmia are supraventricular arrhythmias, which begin above the ventricles; ventricular arrhythmias, which begin in the lower chambers of the heart; and bradyarrhythmias, which may arise from disease.

Our cardiologists create customized treatment plans for each patient, which may involve treatments or procedures including medication, ablation, pacemakers or other procedures.


Houston Methodist treats all types of arrhythmias at our convenient treatment locations across the city.