Carolinas HealthCare System
Heart Care

Heart Rhythm Care

Abnormal Heart Rhythms

Heart Conduction System

The intrinsic conduction system sets the basic rhythm of the beating heart by generating impulses which stimulate the heart to contract.

The world-class team of heart rhythm physicians at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute uses the most advanced technology and medical devices to treat abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias, providing you with personalized, comprehensive care.

Learn more about arrhythmia. Watch this QuickTime Video.

Types of Arrhythmias

Your heartbeat is regulated by electrical signals controlled by nerves in the heart. For an adult at rest, the heart should beat 60 to 100 times per minute. When the heart beats less than 60 beat per minute, it's known as a bradycardia; when it beats faster than 100 beats per minute, it's known as a tachycardia. Arrhythmias can also occur as irregular heartbeats like extra beats or skipped beats.

Arrhythmias can be classified as supraventricular (sinus node, atria or atrioventricular node) and ventricular:

  • Supraventricular arrhythmias are rapid beats that originate above the ventricles, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and supraventricular tachycardia. Some tachycardias that occur in young people are benign and do not produce significant symptoms.
  • Ventricular arrhythmias are abnormal beats in the lower chambers of the heart that include ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.


Sometimes arrhythmias have no symptoms. You may notice a change in your heart rate, a flutter or pain in your chest, or feel lightheaded, dizzy, faint or short of breath. Arrhythmias can signal the beginning of a heart attack, or can result from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, a thyroid condition, too much caffeine or alcohol, medications, drug use, stress or environmental factors. Many arrhythmias aren't harmful and don't need treatment or can be controlled with medications.

Forward-thinking Care

If your doctor diagnoses an arrhythmia that's causing symptoms or putting you at risk, Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute offers a number of treatment options:

Support Groups

Support groups meetings, currently offered in the Charlotte and Shelby areas, are open to all patients with a cardiac device and their families. Meetings are co-sponsored with leading device manufacturers to offer resources and lifestyle tips. Learn what the Pacemaker/ICD support group has to offer and register online.

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