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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
2. Why do I worry about irregular heartbeats (i.e. cardiac arrhythmias)?

Cardiac dysrhythmia (also known as arrhythmia) is a term for any of conditions in
which there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart. The heart beat may be too fast
or too slow, and may be regular or irregular.

Some arrhythmias are life-threatening that can result in cardiac arrest and sudden
death. As many as 2 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation (AF), a type of
arrhythmia. Others cause symptoms such as an abnormal awareness of heart beat
(palpitations), and may be merely annoying.  During a 24-hour period about 20% of
healthy adults are likely to have multiple types of premature ventricular beats. These
palpitations have also been known to be caused by atrial/ventricular fibrillation, wire
faults, and other technical or mechanical issues in cardiac pacemakers/defibrillators.
Still others may not be associated with any symptoms at all, but may predispose the
patient to potentially life threatening stroke or embolism.  SADS, or sudden arrhythmic
death syndrome, is a term used to describe sudden death due to cardiac arrest
brought on by an arrhythmia. Approximately 300,000 people die suddenly of this
cause every year in the US.

In February 2007 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered drug
manufacturers to add warning labels to all anti-psychotic drugs (including ADHD
stimulant medications). These drugs may produce deleterious effects on people with
heart attacks, very high blood pressure, certain heart rhythm irregularities or other
heart problems. Additionally, anyone taking stimulant medications should have their
blood pressure and heart rate checked regularly.  These instructions apply to both
adults and children.

At present time, most cardiac arrhythmias are diagnosed with ECG tests conducted by
physicians or health care professionals.  Reading of ECG charts require special
training.  One of the key objectives in the development of  ANSWatch wrist monitors is
to allow users (clinicians or general public) to read irregular heartbeat reports with little
training.  In fact, ANSWatch "catches" irregular heartbeats automatically by the
software (
details are here).  The types of arrhythmias in ANSWatch's pulse wave test
report, which are readily recognizable by human eyes, include: (1) fast heartbeat (2)
slow heartbeat (3) early or delayed heartbeat (4) skipped heartbeat, and (5) constant
irregular heartbeats. Patients  are recommended to consult with their physicians and
go through more thorough ECG multi-lead tests.
Back to FAQ
More reading on arrhythmias:

(1) General information about arrhythmias

(2) BMJ 325 : 1253 doi: 10.1136/bmj.325.7375.1253 (Published 30 November 2002)
Arrhythmias and sudden death in patients taking antipsychotic drugs
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Irregular heartbeats?
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Mitral Valve Prolapse?
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MVP), the blood may
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connection between panic
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