Patient Symptoms and Education

If you are having any of the following symptoms, Dr. Duong may be able to help. The sources of these symptoms may be complex but often times they have a cardiac electrical cause that can be cured.

Palpitations or Skipped Beats
Patients often feel their abnormal heart rhythms and in many cases this may be an uncomfortable feeling. They use words such as FLIP FLOP beats, SKIPPED beats, IRREGULAR beating along with PALPITATIONS. Any of these could indicate a range of arrhythmias and would need further tests to diagnose.

Rapid Heartbeats - Tachycardia
Some patients feel RAPID or RACING heartbeats. This could indicate some sort of tachycardia, especially if you are having trouble catching your breath, getting dizzy or even passing out during these events.

Fainting or Dizziness- Syncope
Getting very DIZZY, LIGHTHEADEDNESS or actually FAINTING can be serious symptoms especially if there is no clear explanation why this may be happening. With the combination of medical history along with some testing, we can help diagnose and treat such symptoms.

Fluttering or Atrial Fibrillation
Patients with various arrhythmias may describe a feeling of FLUTTERING or PALPITATIONS. Atrial fibrillation is a very common cardiac arrhythmia and there are a number of symptoms and treatments that can need addressing if you have this abnormal rhythm.

Slow Heartbeats - Bradycardia
Patients may feel DIZZY, extremely LETHARGIC, or LISTLESS with slow heart rhythms. During activity it is possible they get very short of breath and do not seem to be able to have the energy needed to match their activity level.

Heart Failure
As the heart enlarges and loses its effectiveness at pumping blood, heart failure can develop. It is a sign of the heart becoming more ineffective and can carry with it extreme shortness of breath, fatigue, inability to do activity, risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest and hospitalization.
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What are arrhythmias?
Many of the symptoms described above are heart rhythm disorders which a Cardiac Electrophysiologist specializes in. These are heart rate disorders, which is what a Cardiac Electrophysiologist specializes in. There are rhythms where the heart may beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. The cause of these rhythms varies. Some patients are born with these rhythms while others can develop them over time.
– A fast heart rhythm is called tachycardia
– A slow heart rhythm is called bradycardia

Types of arrhythmias:
Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial Flutter
Ventricular Tachycardia
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Am I at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is one of the most common causes of death in the United States. SCA is different than a “heart attack” or Myocardial Infarction (MI). While a MI is caused by blood not being supplied to part of the heart causing the heart muscle to be damaged, SCA is when the heart stops beating effectively because of a dangerously fast rhythm. If you have a number of the following risk factors if is important to get evaluated for risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
• A family history of coronary artery disease
• Smoking
• High blood pressure
• High blood cholesterol
• Obesity
• Diabetes
• A sedentary lifestyle
• Drinking too much alcohol (more than one to two drinks a day)

Other factors that may increase your risk of sudden cardiac arrest include:
• A previous episode of cardiac arrest or a family history of cardiac arrest
• A previous heart attack
• A personal or family history of other forms of heart disease, such as heart rhythm disorders, congenital heart defects, heart failure and cardiomyopathy
• Age — the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest increases with age, especially after age 45 for men and age 55 for women
• Being male — men are two to three times more likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest
• Using illegal drugs, such as cocaine or amphetamines
• Nutritional imbalance, such as low potassium or magnesium levels

Useful Links:

Arrhythmia Answers
Heart Failure Answers
Health Consumers
Cardiac Rhythm Management
Heart Rhythm Disorders
The Normal Heart
Cardiac Arrhythmias