Common Arrhythmias

Atrial Fibrillation and Ventricular Tachycardia

An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. Two common and complex types are atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia – both are associated with significant health risks.

BioSig is focused on improving the information provided to EP physicians to help with effective and accurate diagnosis and treatment of individuals with arrhythmias.


Atrial fibrillation (“AF”) is the most common type of arrhythmia. AF occurs when rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the heart’s upper chambers (the atria) to contract quickly and irregularly. As a result, the heart’s upper and lower chambers do not work together as they should.

People who have AF may not feel symptoms. However, even when AF isn’t noticed, it can increase the risk of stroke. In some people, AF can cause chest pain or heart failure, especially if the heart rhythm is very rapid. AF may occur infrequently, or it may become an ongoing or long-term problem that requires medical treatment.

According to the National Institute of Health National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, there are approximately 3 million Americans suffering with atrial fibrillation and about 850,000 patients are hospitalized annually for this condition. As many as 600,000 new cases of atrial fibrillation are diagnosed each year.

For people who have permanent AF, treatment can help control symptoms and prevent complications. Treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes, or cardiac catheter ablation.

© Focus-AF Limited 2014: permission granted for educational purposes only.

Ventricular Tachycardia (“VT”) is a type of rapid heart beat that starts in the bottom chambers of the heart (the ventricles). The ventricles are the main pumping chambers of the heart. This is a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia because it may lead to ventricular fibrillation, asystole, and sudden death.

The condition can develop as an early or late complication of a heart attack. It may also occur in patients with cardiomyopathy, heart failure, heart surgery, myocarditis, or valvular heart disease.

Treatment depends on the symptoms, and the type of heart disorder. Long-term treatment of VT may require the use of oral anti-arrhythmic medications, implantation of a cardioverter defibrillator, or catheter ablation.

© Focus-AF Limited 2014: permission granted for educational purposes only.