Anatomy & Physiology Cardiac #15

Question

Which is an example of a cardiac arrhythmia that can occur when there are issues with the electrical impulses that stimulate each heart beat?

Answers

  1. Angina pectoris
    • Rationale:

      Angina pectoris is chest pain that results from an inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle. The lack of oxygen is referred to as ischemia.

  2. Myocardial infarction
    • Rationale:

      Myocardial infarction is the medical term for a heart attack. While cardiac arrhythmias can result from a heart attack, it is not an example of a dysrhythmia.

  3. Complete heart block
    • Rationale:

      Complete heart block occurs when there is damage to the atrioventricular (AV) node within the heart wall which disrupts the ability for electrical conduction to occur as anticipated.

  4. Coronary artery disease
    • Rationale:

      Coronary artery disease is defined as damage to coronary (i.e., heart) arteries. It is not an example of cardiac arrhythmia.

Overview

A cardiac arrhythmia occurs when the electrical impulses that coordinate the beats of the heart do not work properly. This causes the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

A cardiac arrhythmia is diagnosed when the heart beats too quickly (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia), or irregularly. While all the answer choices are heart disorders, the only disorder that is a specific example of a cardiac arrhythmia is complete heart block. This arrhythmia occurs when the electrical signal cannot pass normally from the atria to the ventricles.

Test Taking Tip

Consider each choice and ask yourself, “Is this an example of a cardiac arrhythmia or another type of heart disorder?” The choice that allows you to answer yes to that question is the correct answer for this question.

Video Rationale