A  A  A   Print
Simple Technique Eyed for Diagnosing Irregular Heart Beat

Simple Technique Eyed for Diagnosing Irregular Heart Beat

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A widely used type of heart monitor may provide a simple way to predict a person's risk for a common heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people who have a greater number of heart contractions called premature atrial contractions have a substantially higher risk for atrial fibrillation. These types of contractions can be detected by a 24-hour Holter monitor.

Premature atrial contractions are premature heartbeats that occur in the two upper chambers of the heart. A Holter monitor is a portable device that continuously monitors the electrical activity of a person's heart.

The study included 1,260 people, aged 65 and older, who had not been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and underwent 24-hour Holter monitoring. Those with a higher number of premature atrial contractions had an 18 percent increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation, according to the findings, published in the Dec. 3 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of heart failure or stroke, but people with the disorder may not show symptoms, the researchers noted.

"Because premature atrial contractions may themselves have a causal relationship with atrial fibrillation, it is theoretically possible that their eradication, such as through drugs or [other procedures], could actually modify atrial fibrillation risk," study senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus, an associate professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release.

Currently, doctors use a complex prediction model based on body size and other factors plus data from electrocardiograms to calculate risk for atrial fibrillation. When the researchers compared their technique with the established process, they found that it "was as good as or better" at predicting atrial fibrillation.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about atrial fibrillation.

SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Dec. 2, 2013

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.