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  • Bigeminy

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    Bigeminy is a heart rhythm problem in which there is a continuous alternation of long and short heart beats. Most often this is due to ectopic beats occurring so frequently that there is one after each sinus beat. The two beats are figuratively two twins (hence bi- + gemini). The ectopic beat is typically a premature ventricular contraction (PVC). For example, in ventricular bigeminy, a sinus beat is shortly followed by a PVC, a pause, another normal beat, and then another PVC. In atrial bigeminy, the other "twin" is a premature atrial contraction (PAC).

  • Ventricular tachycardia

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    Ventricular tachycardia (V-tach or VT) is a type of regular, fast heart rate that arises from improper electrical activity in the ventricles of the heart. Although a few seconds may not result in problems, longer periods are dangerous. Short periods may occur without symptoms, or present with lightheadedness, palpitations, or chest pain. Ventricular tachycardia may result in cardiac arrest and turn into ventricular fibrillation. It is found initially in about 7% of people in cardiac arrest. Ventricular tachycardia can occur due to coronary heart disease, aortic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, electrolyte problems, or a heart attack. Diagnosis is by an electrocardiogram (ECG) showing a rate of greater than 120 beats per minute and at least three wide QRS complexes in a row. It is classified as non-sustained versus sustained based on whether it lasts less than or more than 30 seconds. The term ventricular tachycardias refers to the group of irregular heartbeats that includes ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and torsades de pointes. In those who have a normal blood pressure and strong pulse, the antiarrhythmic medication procainamide may be used. Otherwise, immediate cardioversion is recommended. In those in cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation is recommended. Biphasic defibrillation may be better than monophasic. While waiting for a defibrillator, a precordial thump may be attempted in those on a heart monitor who are seen going into an unstable ventricular tachycardia. In those with cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia, survival is about 45%. An implantable cardiac defibrillator or medications such as calcium channel blockers or amiodarone may be used to prevent recurrence.

  • Ectopic beat

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    Ectopic beat (or cardiac ectopy) is a disturbance of the cardiac rhythm frequently related to the electrical conduction system of the heart, in which beats arise from fibers or group of fibers outside the region in the heart muscle ordinarily responsible for impulse formation (i.e., the sinoatrial node). An ectopic beat can be further classified as either a premature ventricular contraction, or a premature atrial contraction. Some patients describe this experience as a 'flip' or a 'jolt' in the chest, or a 'heart hiccups', while others report dropped or missed beats. Ectopic beats are more common during periods of stress, exercise or debility; they may also be triggered by consumption of some food like alcohol, strong cheese, or chocolate. It is a form of cardiac arrhythmia in which ectopic foci within either ventricular or atrial myocardium, or from finer branches of the electric transduction system, cause additional beats of the heart. Some medications may worsen the phenomenon. Ectopic beats are considered normal and are not indicative of cardiac pathology. Ectopic beats often remain undetected and occur as part of minor errors in the heart conduction system. They are rarely indicative of cardiac pathology, although may occur more frequently or be more noticeable in those with existing cardiac abnormalities. Ectopic beats are a type of cardiac arrhythmias, which is a variety of cardiac abnormalities relating to rate or rhythm of the cardiac cycle. Ectopic beats may become more frequent during anxiety, panic attack, and the fight-or-flight response due to the increase in sympathetic nervous activity, stimulating more frequent contractions and increasing stroke volume. The consumption of nicotine, alcohol, epinephrine and caffeine may also increase the incidences of ectopic beats, due to their influence on the action of cardiomyocytes.

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