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Cardiac arrhythmias may occur during a malfunction in any phase of the heart's electrical system. Doctors classify arrhythmias based on where they occur (in the atria or ventricles) and the speed of the heartbeat. Tachycardia means rapid pulse - that is, more than 100 beats per minute. Bradycardia means slow heartbeat - a resting heart rate less than 60 minutes per minute.

Not all tachycardias or bradycardia means disease. In connection with the physical stress, it is normal that there is sinus tachycardia to ensure that your tissues get enough oxygen-rich blood. Athletes at rest have a heart rate below 60 beats per minute because their hearts are working as efficiently (pump much blood at once).

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A distinction is made between tachycardias arising in the atria (atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardias, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome) and the ventricles (ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, long QT syndrome). Ventricular tachycardia is usually more serious than atrial tachycardia.

Harmless extra strokes can occur in both the atria and ventricles.

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