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What does a skipped heartbeat mean?

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A skipped heartbeat means that a person has an abnormal heart rhythm. This condition results from the disruption of or damage to the heart chambers, nodes and valves that control blood movement into and out of the heart. Types of abnormal heart rhythms include atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, premature contractions and ventricular fibrillation, according to Healthline.

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In atrial fibrillation, the heart beats rapidly and irregularly, and there is no coordination between auricles and the ventricles. Symptoms include weakness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and blood clotting that blocks blood flow, explains Mayo Clinic.

Bradycardia occurs when the heart beats at a lower rate than normal. At rest, a healthy adult heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. Bradycardia may have no noticeable complications, but it can cause adverse effects if the heart does not pump sufficient oxygenated blood to the body, reports Mayo Clinic.

Ventricular fibrillation is a condition in which uncoordinated contractions of ventricles occur, disrupting the relationship between the pulse rate and the heartbeat. Ventricular fibrillation is life-threatening and results from scarring of the heart muscle and heart attack, notes MedicineNet.

Premature contractions are heartbeats that seem to occur earlier than normal, disrupting the rhythm of the heart. They feel like a skipped heartbeat, and causes include electrolyte imbalance, having too much caffeine, and using medicines like albuterol. This condition is common in people with pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, causing insufficient oxygen in the blood, according to WebMD.

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