All Posts

Wrapping Up Atrial Arrhythmias

Before we leave the atria behind, let’s conclude our discussion of atrial arrhythmias this week with a discussion of some other abnormal heart rhythms arising from these chambers.  The simplest and most prevalent are premature atrial complexes (PACs). We call them “complexes” because that is how we refer to individual electrical impulses seen on an EKG. Virtually everybody has PACs, some people…

Read more

Atrial Flutter: “Organized” Atrial Fibrillation

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing atrial fibrillation these past few weeks—and with good reason. Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia that requires treatment, and it accounts for numerous visits to cardiologists’ offices and emergency rooms. But the atria can misfire in other ways, too. Often lumped together with atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter is also a fast heart rhythm arising…

Read more

Atrial Fibrillation: Minimizing Stroke Risk

Picking up where we left off last week, we now turn to the most serious aspect of atrial fibrillation—that it can cause a stroke. And, as I indicated previously, strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation whether they are aware of the atrial fibrillation or not. In fact, when looking at people older than 55 who have had a stroke with no…

Read more

Atrial Fibrillation: The “Irregular” Heart Rhythm

Patients often tell me “I was diagnosed with an irregular heart rhythm.” But, as we learned in last week’s blog, “irregular” is a fairly broad description. It may be something benign—and actually normal—like having PACs or PVCs. Or the irregularity can be something that needs to be taken quite seriously, like atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm caused when the…

Read more

Alcohol: Part of a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle?

Summer is here and we’re enjoying barbeques—which means beer, lighter wines, along with gin and tonics. So I’d like to tackle a somewhat controversial question: Is alcohol OK to drink? What if you have heart problems? And how much is acceptable? First, I have to point out straightaway that too much alcohol can cause major toxicity to the body—particularly to the liver, the…

Read more

Right Ventricle: The Overlooked Pump

We have spent a lot of time in the last several blogs on heart failure. Virtually all of these discussions have focused on left ventricular heart failure. What about right ventricular heart failure?  Yes, the right ventricle (RV) can fail, too. But many of the most common cardiovascular problems—coronary heart disease, hypertension, valvular heart disease, atrial fibrillation—create dysfunction either exclusively or predominantly in…

Read more

High-Output Heart Failure: When High Isn’t Good Enough

We have touched on multiple aspects of CHF in several blogs this year, including discussions of how it occurs—whether in the setting of systolic dysfunction or diastolic dysfunction—what its manifestations are, how it is treated, and most recently a look at cardiomyopathies and how they cause CHF. All of these aspects of CHF have one thing in common—the heart isn’t doing…

Read more

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy: “Broken Heart Syndrome”

Before I leave the topic of our previous three blogs, I wanted to discuss a relatively new form of cardiomyopathy. Described first in Japan in 1991, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo syndrome (hereafter abbreviated TTS) has been increasingly recognized as a fairly frequent type of cardiac dysfunction. Also called “broken heart syndrome” and “transient apical ballooning syndrome,” the name derives from the…

Read more

Cardiomyopathy (Part III): When the Heart Muscle is Sick

In the last two blogs, we discussed what a cardiomyopathy is, paying particular attention to the categories of dilated and hypertrophic. This week we’ll complete our review of cardiomyopathies with a look at the category of restrictive. While dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathies are defined by anatomic features (an enlarged heart chamber in the first and thickened ventricular walls in the second),…

Read more


The contents displayed herein, such as text, graphics, and other material ("Content") are intended for educational purposes only. The Content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read online.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your healthcare provider or 911 immediately. Any mention of products or services is not meant as a guarantee, endorsement, or recommendation of the products, services, or companies. Reliance on any information provided is solely at your own risk. Please discuss any options with your healthcare provider.

ROI Software Solution © 2023. All rights reserved.

Gregory Koshkarian, MD, FACC