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Inherited rhythm disorders (IRDs)
People who have Inherited Rhythm Disorders (IRDs) experience irregular heartbeats, also known as arrhythmias. Once properly diagnosed, IRDs can be managed through treatment and medication. However, IRDs can lead to complications such as fainting and seizures. In some cases, IRDs may also lead to Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS) in people of all ages, including children and young adults who are otherwise healthy and have no medical history of a heart condition.
Types of IRDs
Symptoms and warning signs
Having an IRD can cause a variety of symptoms or it can cause no symptoms at all depending on a number of factors. However, IRDs are an underlying cause for SADS. The most common warning signs for SADS are:
Although fainting is a relatively common occurrence, if it occurs in circumstances, such as during physical activity or from emotional excitement, it can represent a warning sign of SADS.
What can you do?
Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should see a family doctor and ask to be referred to a cardiologist or an electrophysiologist for a complete cardiac assessment, including analysis of the heart rhythm and exercise testing.
All immediate relatives of patients known to have an IRD should be screened, since they have an up to 50% chance of having an arrhythmia disorder themselves.
Learn more about Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) - they may save a life.
The first important test for determining if you have an IRD is carefully recalling a history of your symptoms and family history of IRD. Following this, your doctor may conduct a few tests before recommending treatment. These tests may include:
Many treatment options are available, depending on what your doctor recommends. Many patients who have no symptoms can simply be monitored, while others may need to make lifestyle changes, take medication or undergo non-invasive or invasive procedures, including surgery. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most people live relatively normal and productive lives.