Is Arrhythmia Genetic?

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Written By DerrickCalvert

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Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats caused by an issue in the internal electrical system. Arrhythmias can be caused by stress or caffeine, but you may also inherit them from your parents.

These irregular heartbeats may not affect you, but you should talk to your doctor if you have relatives with heart problems. Continue reading to find out if your family has heart rhythm problems and how you can prevent them.

Is heart arrhythmia inherited?

Many things are passed on from your parents. These include your eye color and height. Not every gene is good.

Arrhythmia is a common example of a genetic condition. These conditions can also be called inherited, or familial.

Although sudden cardiac death is rare and only 3 out of 100,000 people experience it, a 2011 study revealed that 70% of sudden cardiac deaths in people under 40 were caused by underlying heart arrhythmias. This means that one or both of the parents passed the problem with the heart’s ability beat regularly on to their children.

What is genetics?

23 pairs of chromosomes were used as a guideline for your development when you were born. These 22 pairs, known as autosomes are the main source of your genetic information. The last pair, X or Y, determine the sex you were assigned at birth.

Each chromosome has genes, or bits of information that come from each parent. This information will determine what traits you will develop.

These genes may be defective or have mutations that affect the functioning of certain systems within your body. These mutations can occur for many reasons, and they can be passed on from your parents.

Dominant. Autosomal dominant conditions are common in inherited heart arrhythmias. This means that the mutated or altered gene was present in 22 of the first 22 pairs chromosomes created at your birth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states that you have a 50% chance of inheriting a mutated gene if one of your parents has it.

Recessive. Autosomal recessive means that you can get one copy of each parent’s mutated gene. Each of your parents could be a carrier of the condition. Your chance of inheriting an autosomal recessive disorder from your parents is approximately 25% if they are both carriers. Even if the gene is passed to you, symptoms may not develop.

What heart rhythms are genetic?

The complex electrical system of your heart pulses through intricate and delicate structures. A host of problems can arise if one of these signals is out or a portion of the structure is incorrectly formed.

Experts have divided inherited arrhythmias into 2 categories:

  • Primary electrical diseases. These arrhythmias are caused by electrical signal problems and not structural heart issues.
  • Secondary arrhythmia syndromes. These arrhythmias can develop in conjunction with structural heart disease.

Familial atrial fibrillation

AFib, or AF, is the most prevalent type of arrhythmia in the heart. This condition affects the top chambers, also known as the right or left atria.

The AFib condition is when the left and right atria quiver, and they are not coordinated in pumping. This causes reduced blood flow to the lower chambers or ventricles.

AFib can lead to blood pooling in the atria. This can increase your risk of blood clots that could be potentially fatal. AFib is responsible for up to 33% of strokes in 65-year-olds, according to a 2016 study.

Catecholaminergic polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia

This rare form of inherited arrhythmia is called “Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia” Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, or CPVT, causes a fast heart beat during physical activity. This is called ventricular tachycardia.

Usually, ventricular tachycardia in CPVT occurs during exercise. Sometimes, you may be able to notice it before ventricular tapers occur. This can be done by watching for ventricular premature contractions (VPCs), which are symptoms that occur during exercise.