Arrhythmias can be hard to diagnose, especially the types that only cause symptoms every once in a while. Doctors use several methods to help diagnose arrhythmias, including medical and family histories, physical exam, and diagnostic tests and procedures.
Doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases include:
- Pediatric cardiologists.
- Electrophysiologists: These doctors are cardiologists or pediatric cardiologists who specialize in arrhythmias.
To diagnose an arrhythmia, your doctor may ask about your signs and symptoms. He or she may ask about what symptoms you're having, whether you feel fluttering in your chest, and whether you feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Your doctor will listen to the rate and rhythm of your heart and for a heart murmur. He or she also will:
- Check your pulse to find out how fast your heart is beating
- Check for swelling in your legs or feet, which could be a sign of an enlarged heart or heart failure
- Look for signs of other diseases, such as thyroid disease, that could be causing the problem
Diagnostic Tests and Procedures
An EKG is the most common test used to diagnose arrhythmias. An EKG is a simple test that detects and records the heart's electrical activity.
Holter and Event Monitors
A Holter monitor records the heart's electrical signals for a full 24- or 48-hour period. You wear one while you do your normal daily activities. This allows the monitor to record your heart for a longer time than a standard EKG.
Other tests used to diagnose arrhythmias are:
- Blood tests.
- Chest x ray.
- Stress test.
- Electrophysiology study (EPS).
- Tilt table testing.
- Coronary angiography.
- Implantable loop recorder