Our hearts need a solid electrical system to synchronize the heart muscle so that blood is effectively moved around. Sometimes, this electrical system can malfunction. The heart can end up beating too slow, too fast, chaotically or with only some parts working.

For example, in atrial fibrillation, the right atrium, which pumps blood from the body into the right ventricle, receives way too many signals. This is often due to a malfunctioning circuit. The right atrium then contracts ineffectively and the heart loses part of its power. Also, if the AV node, which is kind of an electrical station, doesn’t slow down the signal, the ventricles can beat very fast.

A deadly condition known as ventricular fibrillation, results when the electrical system in the ventricle malfunctions and sends chaotic signals to the muscle cells. The heart then is unable to pump any blood at all. Within 3 to 4 minutes death will occur. However,if the patient receives a counter shock known as synchronized cardioversion, the electrical system might reset itself and the patient will survive.

Of course, the electrical impulses can be slowed down causing the heart to beat too slowly to keep the oxygen level up. Sometimes, the heart can beat very fast due to the electrical stations not during their job right. One condition that might result is called supraventricular tachycardia or SVT for short. This a a rapid heart rate and responds well to medications given iv or even massage of the carotid artery (among other treatments.

So the heart muscle requires finely tuned electrical pulses to power the muscles. If the electrical system is on the blink, expect problems with the heart rate and or muscle power.