View trusted insights from KidsHealth.org, the No. 1 most-viewed health site for children, created by the experts at Nemours. We've also provided information from the most-respected nonprofit organizations.
From Nemours' KidsHealth
- If Your Child Has a Heart Defect
- Relaxation Techniques for Children With Serious Illness
- Heart and Circulatory System
- Congenital Heart Defects Special Needs Factsheet
- Birth Defects
- ECG (Electrocardiogram)
- Congenital Heart Defects
- A to Z: Palpitations
- CAT Scan: Chest
- A to Z Symptom: Chest Pain
- A to Z: Atrial Flutter
- A to Z: Cardiomyopathy
- A to Z: Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- A to Z: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
- A to Z Symptom: Fainting
- A to Z: Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT)
- A to Z: Tetralogy of Fallot
- A to Z: Dysrhythmia
- Heart Murmurs
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- X-Ray Exam: Chest
Trusted External Resources
A to Z: Dysrhythmia
A to Z: Dysrhythmia
May also be called: Arrhythmia
Dysrhythmia (dis-RITH-mee-ah) is an abnormality in the heart's beat or rhythm caused by electrical impulses that aren't functioning properly. The heart can beat irregularly, too quickly (tachycardia), or too slowly (bradycardia).
More to Know
An irregular heart rhythm has been described as a heart that flutters, races, or skips a beat. Other symptoms can include lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, sweating, and fainting. Some people experience no symptoms at all and are surprised when dysrhythmia is detected at a routine doctor's visit.
Many factors can lead to dysrhythmia, including heart attack, heart and valve disorders, imbalances in blood chemistry and hormone levels, high blood pressure, smoking, caffeine, substance abuse, and even some medications.
Keep in Mind
Dysrhythmias are often harmless, but can be an indication of a much larger problem (the heart not adequately pumping blood to vital organs), which can be life threatening. If you suspect dysrhythmia, consult your doctor for testing and treatment.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
Date reviewed: September 05, 2017