Professor holding up an anatomical heart model and teaching heart rhythm abnormalities.

Abnormal heart rhythm: All about arrhythmias


Here at Biotricity we are trying to raise awareness about heart rhythm abnormalities, also known as arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation. The human heart is a magnificent piece of natural engineering made up of an intricate plumbing system and a complex electrical system that work together to ensure your heart maintains a steady beat. Each day the average human heart beats 100,000 times, these beats are controlled by electrical impulses which pump around 7000 liters of blood through the arteries and veins of the body’s plumbing system. A problem with the heart’s electrical system can cause the heart to beat abnormally, giving rise to a heart rhythm abnormality.

There are a diverse range of heart rhythm abnormalities, and they all stem from an abnormal heartbeat, for instance: bradycardia is a slow heartbeat, tachycardia is a fast heartbeat, atrial fibrillation is an irregular or unpredictable heartbeat, ventricular fibrillation is when the heart is quivering instead of beating, and asystole is a pause in heartbeat. These are just to name a few. The important thing to note is that early detection of any heart rhythm abnormality is essential, if left untreated they can lead to further heart and health complications, the most serious of which could be stroke or sudden cardiac arrest.

How do I know if I have an arrhythmia?

Arrhythmias are very common, which is why it is so important to spread the word. Roughly 2.2 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation and a 2004 study suggests that 1 in 4 Adult Americans over the age of 40 could develop an irregular heartbeat. To know if you are one of the many living with an arrhythmia you need to undergo an ECG test via heart monitoring. An ECG will allow your physician to examine the heart’s electrical activity, and it will give concrete data about heart rhythm, whether a heart is overworked,  and may provide several other important pieces of information about your condition.

What are the causes and symptoms of arrhythmia?

Just as there are a variety of arrhythmias, there are a variety of causes for an arrhythmia, including:

  • Pre-existing cardiovascular conditions like coronary artery disease
  • Changes to the heart muscle, like injury from heart attack, or during post-heart surgery healing
  • Electrolyte imbalances in your blood (such as sodium or potassium)
  • Irregular heart rhythms can also occur in “normal, healthy” hearts

If you experience an irregular heart beat, or if you experience a general feeling of malaise that includes dizziness, faintness, or shortness of breath, you should see your doctor. Many people don’t have any symptoms of an arrhythmia at all, this in addition to the fact that an arrhythmia could occur in anyone at any time makes it a health concern.

Regular heart monitoring is essential for tracking your health and ensuring that any heart abnormalities are detected as soon as possible. Biotricity’s goal is to help people manage their health and improve health outcomes through medical grade devices that collect accurate real-time heart rhythm data while patients go about their daily lives. Biotricity’s first step towards this goal was the creation of Bioflux, a prescription-based device that can aid physicians in the diagnosis of arrhythmias by remotely monitoring patients.

Everyone has their own “normal” heart beat rhythm but usually a heart beats between 60 and 80 times per minute, speeding up with exercise and slowing down again with rest. Join us in raising awareness about normal and abnormal heart rhythms by sharing this information with your friends and loved ones.