Understanding our heartbeat is fundamental to maintaining good heart health. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) have long been a go-to tool for visualizing the rhythm of our heart. Now, with the advancements in technology, these ECG readings are available right from your wrist. This article focuses on the differences and similarities between the standard sinus rhythm and an accelerated idioventricular rhythm (AIVR) or sinus rhythm vs AIVR. Let’s dive in.
What’s Sinus Rhythm?
Sinus rhythm, or normal sinus rhythm, is considered the standard rhythm of a healthy heart. In this pattern, electrical signals originate from the sinoatrial (SA) node located in the right atrium, initiating each heartbeat and ensuring they occur at a steady, regular rate.
On an ECG, sinus rhythm is characterized by a distinct P wave (indicating atrial contraction) followed by the QRS complex (signifying ventricular contraction), then the T wave (representing ventricular relaxation). This cycle repeats at a rate of 60-100 times per minute in adults at rest. Here’s more on what sinus rhythm looks like on your watch ECG.
What’s Accelerated Idioventricular Rhythm (AIVR)?
Accelerated idioventricular rhythm (AIVR) is a type of heart rhythm where the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart) beat faster than usual, between 50 and 100 beats per minute. This rhythm often occurs when an extra, abnormal electrical source in the ventricles starts firing rapidly.
On an ECG, AIVR is recognized by wide and bizarre QRS complexes, which show that the electrical signals are coming from the ventricles instead of the usual location. There are no associated P waves, or the P waves may not align with the QRS complexes, indicating that the rhythm is independent of normal atrial activity.
Here’s more on what AIVR looks like on your watch ECG.
What’s the Difference Between Accelerated Idioventricular Rhythm and Sinus Rhythm?
When comparing sinus rhythm vs AIVR, the first distinction is the source of the rhythms. The sinus rhythm originates from the sinus node, the heart's natural pacemaker, while AIVR arises from the ventricles.
In terms of health impact, the sinus rhythm indicates a healthy, functioning heart, while AIVR can often be a sign of an underlying heart condition, like myocardial infarction or myocarditis, or can be a side effect of certain medications. It is also seen in the early postoperative period after cardiac surgery.
However, the presence of AIVR does not always denote severe heart disease. In athletes and children, it may occur without any heart disease. Also, it is often a self-limiting condition and can revert to sinus rhythm on its own.
In conclusion, understanding your heart rhythms, be it sinus rhythm or AIVR, is crucial for maintaining heart health. While wearable ECGs offer valuable insights, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your heart rhythm. Stay informed, stay proactive, and stay heart healthy!
Still Not Sure if It’s Sinus Rhythm or Accelerated Idioventricular Rhythm on Your ECG?
Differentiating between AIVR vs sinus rhythm on your ECG can be tricky. If you’re still looking for help interpreting your ECG further, check out the Qaly app on App Store or Play Store. On Qaly, human experts will interpret your ECGs within minutes, day or night. Try out the Qaly app for free today!