How do I know if I have an arrhythmia?
Your doctor will ask if you have any of the symptoms of arrhythmia. Your doctor may also do some tests. One of these tests is an electrocardiogram, also called ECG or EKG. During this test, your doctor will have you lie down so your heart can be monitored.
Your doctor may also ask you to walk on a treadmill while he or she monitors your heart, or may want to monitor your heart while you do your daily activities. One way to do this is to wear a machine, called a Holter monitor, that continuously records your heart's rhythms for 24 hours. If your doctor wants to monitor your heart for more than 24 hours, he or she might recommend an event-recorder, a machine that records samples of your heart's rhythms and can be worn for a couple of days or longer. Other tests, called electrophysiologic studies, may also give your doctor information about your heart.
Acute Management of Atrial Fibrillation: Part II. Prevention of Thromboembolic Complications by DE King, MD; LM Dickerson, PharmD; JL Sack, MD (American Family Physician July 15, 2002, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020715/261.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff