A heart rate that is faster than normal is called a tachycardia. Tachycardia may reduce the hearts pumping ability and may require treatment. Sometimes a tachycardia is due to an abnormality of the heart’s electrical circuits, while other times it may be due to abnormally high adrenaline levels as seen, for example, after surgery. Medications, such as beta-blockers, are sometimes used to prevent the tachycardia or at a minimum, slow down the heart rate to prevent symptoms or problems.
A heart rate that is slower than normal is called bradycardia. Bradycardia may be associated with certain congenital heart defects or may develop by itself before birth or after heart surgery. In some more serious cases and/or if the heart rate is very slow, an artificial pacemaker may be needed.
Irregular beats or early (premature) heartbeats are often seen in normal infants and children. They may be related to a congenital heart defects or may occur after surgery. In some cases they do not require further treatment. In some cases however they do require specific investigations, tests or treatment.
Some patients are treated with medication alone and followed up to check on the response of their condition. However, some require more specialised treatments for heart rhythm disorders including ablation to target the abnormal electrical circuits involved in the initiation and maintenance of the abnormal heartbeat.
Cardiac ablation: Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias). It works by scarring or destroying the tissue in your heart that is responsible for creating or sustaining an abnormal heartbeat. In some cases, cardiac ablation prevents abnormal electrical signals from entering your heart and, thus, stops the arrhythmia.
Cardiac ablation usually uses long, flexible tubes (catheters) inserted through a vein or artery in your groin and threaded to your heart to deliver energy in the form of heat or extreme cold to modify the tissue in your heart that are responsible for the abnormal heartbeat.