An arrhythmia is a heart rhythm that is irregular, too fast, or too slow. Transient idiopathic arrhythmia is a type of temporary irregular heart rhythm that does not have a cause doctors can identify.

Transient means temporary, and idiopathic means having an unknown cause.

Transient idiopathic arrhythmia is a short-lived, sometimes recurring, heart rhythm disruption that does not have an identifiable cause, such as a valve disorder or a type of heart disease.

This article discusses transient idiopathic arrhythmia, its symptoms, causes, risk factors, complications, treatments, outlook, prevention, and more.

A doctor administering an electrocardiogram for transient idiopathic arrhythmia with sensors attacked to a person's chest. -1Share on Pinterest
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Arrhythmias can result in several types of heart rhythm changes, such as:

  • bradycardia, when the heart beats unusually slowly at fewer than 60 beats per minute (bpm)
  • tachycardia, when the heart beats too quickly while a person is at rest, at 100 bpm or higher
  • premature or extra heartbeat, which happens more quickly than a regular beat, followed by a short pause

Arrhythmias can occur in the upper chambers of the heart (atria) or the lower (ventricles).

Some of these arrhythmias are the result of heart or valve issues. However, others are idiopathic, which means the cause is not clear.

Different types of arrhythmias can be idiopathic. For example, atrial fibrillation (AFib) is often idiopathic, meaning that people who live with this condition may never learn its cause.

Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is another type of arrhythmia that can occur without known heart disease. Like AFib, a person’s chance of experiencing idiopathic ventricular tachycardia (IVT) increases with age.

Sometimes, arrhythmia symptoms are mild and pass quickly. They can also be more serious and require medical care.

Symptoms can include:

It can be useful for a person to keep track of their symptoms and when they occur.

It is advisable for anyone with serious symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain to get immediate medical attention.

Transient idiopathic arrhythmia does not have a specific cause, such as heart disease or valve disorders. It can occur with or without the presence of structural heart irregularities.

Risk factors for transient idiopathic arrhythmia include:

  • age
  • genetics
  • lifestyle
  • medications

Arrhythmias can occur with medical conditions other than heart disease.

These include:

Surgery for the heart, throat, or lungs may also increase a person’s chance of arrhythmia in the weeks following their procedure.

Untreated arrhythmias can lead to serious complications.

These include:

During an arrhythmia, the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently. According to a 2011 study cited by a 2019 study, cardiac output can be reduced by as much as 20%.

As a result, tissues in the body are deprived of the necessary oxygen from blood flow.

Arrhythmias, specifically AFib or atrial flutter, can also cause blood clots to form when blood pools in the chambers of the heart.

This can lead to stroke, so it is important to rule out these conditions and determine whether a person needs stroke prevention measures.

Transient idiopathic arrhythmia may not require treatment.

However, treatment is necessary if the arrhythmia:

  • produces bothersome symptoms
  • becomes incessant
  • causes dysfunction in the left ventricle

Arrhythmia treatments include:

  • Medications: Medications can treat arrhythmias by reducing heart rate, managing blood pressure, dilating blood vessels, and slowing electrical impulses in the heart muscle.
  • Cardioversion: Doctors use electric shocks to restore a person’s heart rhythm. Emergency cardioversion is called defibrillation. Scheduled cardioversion is done under anesthesia in a hospital setting or healthcare facility.
  • Catheter ablation: Doctors use a specialized catheter to create a scar in the heart tissue. The scar blocks arrhythmia-causing electrical signals.
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators: These implantable devices use an electrical pulse to correct heart rhythm irregularities.
  • Pacemakers: These devices use electrical pulses to help the heart maintain a regular rhythm.
  • Vagal maneuvers: These relaxation techniques can sometimes slow a person’s heart rate. Examples include coughing, breath holding, and applying a cold, wet towel to the face.
  • Stroke prevention: This may be necessary in some arrhythmias, such as AFib. This would involve taking blood thinners or undergoing a procedure called left atrial appendage occlusion.

If an arrhythmia occurs with another condition like sleep apnea or thyroid hormone fluctuations, treating that condition may reduce arrhythmia occurrences.

Getting the medical care that feels right for a person can help them live a full life. Doctors can usually treat arrhythmias even if they are idiopathic.

Many arrhythmias are manageable, leading to a significant reduction in the chance of complications.

For example, people living with AFib can take the blood thinners apixaban or rivaroxaban to prevent stroke.

In some instances, it is not possible to prevent arrhythmia.

However, treatment can reduce the occurrence of symptoms.

A healthy lifestyle can also help. Lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise, quitting smoking (if applicable), or reducing stress, can lower a person’s chance of developing heart disease and can also minimize triggers for arrhythmia episodes.

Common triggers include:

Keeping track of arrhythmia occurrences and the events or activities that precede them can help a person identify their triggers so they know which ones to avoid.

The following are two frequently asked questions about transient idiopathic arrhythmia.

When should I be worried about an irregular heartbeat?

A person should contact a doctor about an irregular heartbeat if the episodes are prolonged or frequent, or if they occur with symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain.

Can heart arrhythmia go away on its own?

Heart arrhythmia can sometimes go away without intervention. However, it is important for a person experiencing new episodes of arrhythmia to contact their doctor. This will help rule out a more serious condition that needs treatment.

Transient idiopathic arrhythmia is an irregular heart rhythm without a clearly identifiable cause. It can occur along with a structural heart irregularity or in the absence of any heart or valve disease.

Symptoms include chest pain, dizziness, and heart palpitations.

Arrhythmia treatments include medications, procedures like catheter ablation, and lifestyle changes, such as exercise, to avoid triggers and improve heart health.

A person experiencing heart arrhythmia may need to consult a doctor to see whether treatment is necessary. Untreated arrhythmia can lead to complications like organ damage and stroke.