In this era of wearable health technology, monitoring your heart rhythm has never been easier. Watches with electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors now allow us to keep track of heart rhythm patterns such as sinus rhythm and atrial fibrillation (Afib). Recognizing the difference between atrial fibrillation vs sinus rhythm on your ECG is crucial for understanding your heart health. 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 Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)?
Atrial fibrillation, often referred to as afib, is a form of irregular heart rhythm, often characterized by a rapid, irregular beating of the atria.
On an ECG, atrial fibrillation is represented by a lack of distinct P waves and an irregularly irregular RR interval. Here’s more on what Afib looks like on your watch ECG.
What’s the Difference Between Sinus Rhythm and Atrial Fibrillation?
Comparing sinus rhythm vs Afib, it's clear that these are two vastly different heart rhythms. Sinus rhythm is the standard rhythm of a healthy heart, whereas Afib is an irregular and typically faster rhythm, signaling an underlying condition.
The primary difference on an ECG is the presence of regular P waves in a sinus rhythm, which are absent in Afib. Also, while the sinus rhythm's rate is regular, Afib has an irregularly irregular rhythm.
From a health perspective, while a sinus rhythm is generally a sign of a healthy heart, Afib can increase the risk of stroke and heart failure. It's crucial to seek immediate medical attention if your ECG watch detects Afib, particularly if you experience symptoms like heart palpitations, fatigue, or shortness of breath.
In conclusion, understanding the differences between sinus rhythm and Afib is vital for interpreting your watch ECG readings and maintaining optimal heart health. Remember, these devices provide useful information but should not replace regular check-ups and consultations with your healthcare provider. Stay informed, stay proactive, and stay heart healthy!
Still Not Sure if It’s Sinus Rhythm or Afib on Your ECG?
Differentiating between sinus rhythm vs Afib on your ECG can sometimes 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!