Q:

What do you do if you have an irregular heartbeat?

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Quick Answer

If a person has an irregular heartbeat, WebMD advises consulting a doctor for tests because it can be caused by a number of conditions. Some things that cause an irregular heart beat include heart disease and heart attack, but for some people, the condition is benign.

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What do you do if you have an irregular heartbeat?
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Full Answer

When a person visits a doctor for an irregular heartbeat, the doctor should perform a number of tests to find out the cause, claims WebMD. One such test, an electrocardiogram, tests the electrical activity of the heart. This is a painless test and may take place in the doctor's office.

A doctor may recommend that someone with an irregular heartbeat undergo a stress test, explains WebMD. There are several different types of stress tests, but all of them ascertain how much stress the heart can handle before becoming irregular. A stress test is done on a bicycle or treadmill, and the heart is monitored as speed and time are increased.

If a blockage is suspected as the cause of an irregular heartbeat, a doctor may order a cardiac catheterization, according to WebMD. During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into the arm or leg, and the operator guides it through the blood vessels into the heart. A dye is injected, allowing the test to detect any blockage. Once a doctor identifies the cause of the irregularity, treatment can begin.

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