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What are heart rhythm disorders?

The heart requires an electrical impulse or signal from the heart’s internal electrical system (or conduction system) in order to produce a heartbeat. The electrical impulse starts in the atria, or upper chambers of the heart, and travels down to the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart, causing the heart to contract and pump blood throughout the body. One heartbeat refers to the alternating contraction and relaxation of the two atria and two ventricles. The two atria contract at the same time, then relax, followed by the two ventricles contracting, then relaxing.

A heart rhythm disorder means that your heart is beating improperly—too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. Heart rhythm disorders (also called arrhythmias) are problems with your heart’s internal electrical system that result in irregular heartbeats. Types of heart rhythm disorders include atrial fibrillation, sick sinus syndrome and ventricular tachycardia.

Heart rhythm disorder can result from a variety of causes, including underlying heart disease (such as coronary artery disease, heart valve disease or heart failure), thyroid dysfunction or an electrolyte abnormality (e.g., a potassium, magnesium or calcium imbalance). Heart rhythm disorders may occur without underlying heart disease and be caused by stimulants such as caffeine, emotional stress, prescribed as well as illicit drugs, or physical activity.

Heart rhythm disorders range from harmless to life-threatening, and a wide range of treatments are available. Our experienced cardiovascular team gives you access to specialized technology for diagnosing and treating your heart rhythm disorder.

Researchers at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute’s Clinical Trials Unit of Northwestern University are currently conducting clinical trials and recruiting volunteers to participate in clinical trials related to heart rhythm disorders. Discussions with your clinical team will determine if you are a candidate to participate in a specific clinical trial.

Conditions

Treatments

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

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