Medical IDs for Cardiac Arrhythmia
The confidence to live with cardiac arrhythmia
Most people will experience cardiac arrhythmia at some point in their life. In many of these cases, arrhythmia is usually harmless and does not require treatment. In others, however, cardiac arrhythmia can be serious or even life threatening. People living with chronic or persistent cardiac arrhythmia are at an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and even sudden death.
This is why it is important to follow prescribed treatment plans closely—and wear a MedicAlert medical ID for cardiac arrhythmia.
How MedicAlert protects those living with cardiac arrhythmia
One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s an emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with cardiac arrhythmia, their families and caregivers.
24/7 Emergency Response
Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.
Digital Health Profile
All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.
Emergency Contact Notification
In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.
Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.
Pair a medical ID for cardiac arrhythmia with the protection plan that’s right for you.
What exactly is cardiac arrhythmia?
Cardiac arrhythmia is a term used to describe an irregular heartbeat. In a person who is experiencing an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or in an erratic pattern. A fast heart rate in adults is more than 100 beats per minute. A slow heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute.
For the heart to function properly, its four chambers must beat in harmony. The four chambers include the right atrium (RA)—located in the upper right corner of the heart, the right ventricle(RV)—located in the lower right portion of the heart, the left atrium(LA)—located in the upper left corner of the heart, and the left ventricle (LV)—located in the bottom left portion of the heart.
The atria receive blood from the veins and deliver it to the ventricles. The ventricles pump blood out of the heart and to the body and the lungs. The atria and ventricles work in unison to keep this process running smoothly. Cardiac arrhythmia interrupts this process. When this happens, the heart cannot pump blood effectively, which can affect the functioning of the brain, lungs, and other organs of the body.
Types of arrhyhthmias
Different types of arrhythmias cause different types of beat patterns in the heart. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib). It is estimated that approximately 5% of the U.S. population has an arrhythmia. Of this, an estimated 2.7 to 6.1 million people have AFib, and roughly 800,000 of these cases are in Americans under age 40. Exactly how many children and teens are living with an arrhythmia or AFib is unknown. Some studies estimate that 1 per 25,000 children have some form of arrhythmia. While other estimates are as high as 1 per 250 children.
Other types of arrhythmias include:
- Atrial flutter – similar to AFib, but heart rhythm is more organized.
- Bradycardia – a slow heart rate.
- Conduction disorders – the heart does not beat normally.
- Tachycardia – very fast heart rate.
- Ventricular fibrillation (V-Fib) – disorganized contraction of the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).
Types of arrhythmia in children
The American Heart Association (AHA) lists the following types of arrhythmias in children:
- Bradycardia – a slow heart rate
- Complete heart block – the heart pumps blood at a slower rate
- Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) – a disorder of the heart’s electrical system that occurs when the ventricles take too long to contract and release
- Premature or extra contractions – irregular heart rhythm that starts in the heart’s upper chambers (atria), can affect children and teenagers
- Sick sinus syndrome (SA) – heart rate is too slow or too fast
- Sinus tachycardia – normal increase in the heart rate typically from fever, excitement, or exercise
- Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – the most common type of arrhythmia in children characterized by a fast heart rate that starts in the upper chambers of the heart
- Ventricular tachycardia (VT) – fast heart rate that starts in the lower chambers of the heart
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) – electrical pathways between the atria and ventricles malfunction, causing rapid heart rates
What causes cardiac arrhythmia?
Cardiac arrhythmia has many different causes. Examples include:
- Changes in the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).
- Congenital abnormality of the heart.
- Coronary artery disease.
- Heart surgery (postoperative AFib).
- Heart valve disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Other medical conditions such as obesity and thyroid disease.
- Scar tissue from a heart attack.
- Sodium or potassium imbalances in the blood (electrolyte imbalance).
Although studies are conflicting, some researchers believe that caffeine and nicotine, excessive alcohol consumption, and high levels of stress can cause irregular, premature, or rapid heartbeats.
What to engrave on MedicAlert medical IDs for cardiac arrhythmia:
MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our cardiac arrhythmia bracelets or other medical ID products. Engravings on medical IDs for cardiac arrhythmia should include any critical medical information that can protect and save lives in an accident or medical emergency, for example:
- Type of cardiac arrhythmia
- Implanted devices, such as pacemaker, ICD, or loop recorder
- Any other critical medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders
Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for cardiac arrhythmia.
What are the symptoms and complications of cardiac arrhythmia?
Some cardiac arrhythmias may not cause any signs or symptoms, while others can cause symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with routine activities. Cardia arrhythmias can also affect children differently than they affect adults. For example, a common symptom of arrhythmia in small children and infants is not feeding or eating well, while some common symptoms for adults include chest pain and shortness of breath. The intensity of common symptoms for both groups can range from mild to severe and include:
- Fainting (syncope)
- Fast, slow, or erratic heartbeat
- Feeling weak or tired
- Heart fluttering or feeling of a skipped heartbeat (palpitations)
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Low blood pressure
Adults may also experience anxiety, sweating, or more severe symptoms such as cardiac arrest, a low ejection fraction (EF), or weakening of the heart muscle. A low EF or weakened heart muscle can lead to heart failure. If cardiac arrhythmia symptoms are severe enough, you could end up in the ER. This is why you should wear a MedicAlert ID.
MedicAlert medical IDs for cardiac arrhythmia can let first responders and ER doctors know that you are living with cardiac arrhythmia. This crucial information can play an important part in helping first responders and ER doctors administer the fastest, safest, and most accurate treatment in an emergency. Simply put, a MedicAlert ID can help save your life.
How do you diagnose cardiac arrhythmia?
There are many tests that can be used to diagnose cardiac arrhythmia in both adults and children. Some tests are administered in a doctor’s office or hospital, while others can be done at home. The type of test your doctor administers will depend on which type of arrhythmia is suspected. This can be assessed through questions about your symptoms, family history, and a physical exam.
Examples of in office diagnostic tests for cardiac arrhythmia include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – recording of the electrical activity of the heart.
- Echocardiogram (echo) – uses electrodes to check the heart rhythm and ultrasound technology to see how the blood moves through the heart
- Stress test – electrocardiographic test that assesses the heart function while exercising on a treadmill or stationary bike.
- Tilt table test – records blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rhythm as a table is tilted to different angles.
- Electrophysiological study (EP study) – evaluates the heart’s electrical system and checks for abnormal heart rhythms by sending small electric pulses through catheters to make the heart beat at different speeds.
Tests that can be done at home include:
- Holter monitor – portable ECG worn for one to seven days.
- Event recorder – portable ECG worn for one to two months.
Implantable loop recorder, inserted under the skin, worn for months to years.
How do you treat, manage, and live with cardiac arrhythmia?
Cardiac arrhythmia can be treated and managed with medications, special therapies, implantable devices, surgery, and lifestyle changes. The type of treatment will depend on the type of arrhythmia. For example, people living with AFib may take blood thinners, while people with tachycardia may take beta blockers. In people living with less serious arrhythmias, special therapies such as vagal maneuvers (holding your breath and straining or dunking your head in cold water) or cardio conversion (resetting the heart rhythm through low-energy shocks), can be effective.
Types of implantable devices for cardiac arrhythmias include a pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). Surgeries include coronary bypass surgery, open-heart surgery, catheter ablation, and the maze procedure. These types of surgeries and procedures are usually reserved for people who do not get better with other treatments.
Certain lifestyle changes may help treat and prevent cardiac arrhythmia. Examples include:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and seafood, nuts, and legumes
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing stress
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week
A MedicAlert ID and protection plan can play an important role in managing your health and keeping you safe while living with cardiac arrhythmia—especially in a medical emergency. A MedicAlert ID and protection plan can be there for you when you are unable to communicate critical information about your condition to first responders, ER doctors, and hospital staff in an emergency.
How medical IDs for cardiac arrhythmia combined with MedicAlert Membership provide peace of mind
Cardiac arrhythmia can be very unpredictable. A MedicAlert medical ID can be your voice if you are in an accident or experiencing an episode that makes it difficult to communicate with first responders, ER doctors, and hospital staff. A MedicAlert medical ID lets emergency responders know that you are living with cardiac arrhythmia, so certain steps can be taken to ensure fast and accurate treatment. Add a MedicAlert protection plan to your MedicAlert medical ID and you will have an added layer of protection in emergencies and other medical-related situations.
If you are living with cardiac arrhythmia, a MedicAlert protection plan can help ensure fast and accurate treatment by delivering detailed information about your condition, current treatments, and medications to emergency responders, doctors, and hospital staff. This will ensure that your healthcare team knows that you are living with a condition that affects your heart, so the right decisions can be made related to your care.
A MedicAlert protection plan can deliver your full health profile directly to ER doctors and other healthcare personnel. It can also help relay any additional critical information about your condition, such as implanted devices, as well as your designated physician’s information and emergency contact information.
- We’re your voice: If you can’t speak for yourself due to a medical emergency, your ID will speak for you – informing others about your cardiac arrhythmia and any medications you’re taking.
- 24/7 emergency protection: In an emergency, the MedicAlert team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders, no matter where or when your emergency happens.
- Always connected: You should never be alone in an emergency. That’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your designated contacts if you are unable to do so.
- Live with peace of mind and confidence: MedicAlert will be there for you every step of the way. You’ll have the confidence and freedom to live your life with cardiac arrhythmia, knowing we’ve got you covered.
Sources: American Heart Association (AHA); Cleveland Clinic; Johns Hopkins Medicine; Mayo Clinic; MedlinePlus (National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Library of Medicine (NLM); National Health System (NHS); NIH NLM-National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI); Nemours Kids Health; Penn Medicine; University Hospital Newark