Understanding the Electrical System of the Heart

Understanding the Electrical System of the Heart

dr vanita blog date March 29, 2023 | 3 minutes read time

If your heart is not beating in the right rhythm you will be recommended to consult a cardiac electrophysiologist, also known as an “EP”. Your heart is a muscle that functions similarly to a pump. Your heart's primary function is to circulate blood throughout your body. The heart is split into two sides: right and left. Each side of the heart has an upper chamber (atrium) that gathers blood returning to the heart and a muscular lower chamber (ventricle) that pumps blood away from the heart.

Your heart's pumping is controlled by an electrical current or impulse, similar to a spark plug in an automobile. The electrical impulse begins in the sinoatrial (SA) node, also known as the body's natural pacemaker, and spreads like ripples in a pond throughout both atria. This causes both atria to contract, causing blood to flow into the ventricles.

The impulse then descends to the atrioventricular (AV) node, which functions as a wire connecting the ventricles. The AV node divides into two branches, allowing the electrical signal to propagate equally to both ventricles simultaneously. This is what keeps your heart pumping efficiently.

Arrhythmias of the heart

Any disturbance in your heart's regular electrical pathways might result in an abnormal heart rhythm. This is known as an arrhythmia. In such cases you will need to visit an electrophysiologists to diagnose and treat your heart condition.

Arrhythmias of the Supraventricular Node

Irregular cardiac rhythms that start in the upper chambers of the heart are often fast. Individuals who encounter supraventricular arrhythmias may feel dizzy or light-headed, or have chest tightness or palpitations. Some folks have no symptoms at all.

Supraventricular arrhythmias can continue for a few seconds or for several minutes. In most cases, they are not life threatening. These can, however, alter the natural flow of blood throughout your body, making you feel ill or causing other, more serious symptoms.

Supraventricular Arrhythmia Types ATRIAL FIBRILLATION & ATRIAL FLUTTER

Atrial fibrillation and flutter is an abnormal heart rhythm caused by the SA node failing to produce normal electrical impulses. Instead, the atria begin to send out fast and chaotic electrical signals, causing the atria to quiver instead of constrict regularly. These aberrant impulses flow through the ventricles at random, causing an erratic and inefficient heartbeat.

Atrial tachycardia occurs when the electrical impulse begins someplace other than the SA node in the atria. This results in an excessively fast heart rate.

AV Node Re-entrant Tachycardia: This condition develops when an electrical impulse becomes entangled in extra fibres surrounding the AV node and begins to quickly circle the AV node. This results in a fast heart rate.

AV Re-entrant Tachycardia (AVRT)/Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome Individuals born with an additional electrical route in their heart that connects the atria and ventricles but entirely skips the usual AV node circuit. When the electrical impulse flows through the additional channel, it can induce periods of highly fast heartbeats.

Ventricular Arrhythmias

Ventricular arrhythmias are more harmful since they occur in the lower region of the heart. The heart beats so quickly during ventricular tachycardia that it cannot efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body. This can result in acute dizziness, fainting, or even a full collapse.

Speak to Dr Vanita today to know more about the heart's electrical system, including arrhythmias like AFib, and how to enhance your heart health. Dr. Vanita Arora is a leader in providing world-class medical treatment to her patients and is widely considered as one of the best electrophysiologists in South Delhi. Dr. Vanita has always advocated for newer technical advances in the field of cardiac electrophysiology, in which she received training in Germany and the United States.

OPD details

    Dr. Vanita Arora is Senior Consultant Cardiac Electrophysiologist & Interventional Cardiologist at Apollo Hospital, Delhi. She has been a successful Cardiologist in India for the last 28 years. She is a DNB Cardiology, MD - Medicine, M.B.B.S . You can visit her at Apollo Hospital, Delhi. To book an appointment online with Dr. Vanita Arora - the best cardiologist in India, please contact us.

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