Junctional rhythm is an irregular heart rhythm that stems from a natural pacemaker in the heart known as the atrioventricular junction.
The heart has several built-in pacemakers that help control its rhythm. Typically, the sinoatrial (SA) node controls the heart’s rhythm. However, if it is unable to function correctly, another part of the heart, known as the atrioventricular (AV) junction, may be able to control the pace of the heart.
When this area controls the pace of the heart, it is known as junctional rhythm. It can occur for a variety of reasons, and junctional rhythm itself is not typically a problem. However, the underlying cause of the junctional rhythm may require treatment.
In this article, we will discuss what a junctional rhythm is, including its different types, symptoms, causes, and more.
The heart is a complex structure containing many different parts that work together to produce a heartbeat. Included in the structure are natural pacemakers that help regulate how often the heart beats.
The default pacemaker area is the
However, if the SA node paces too slowly, or not at all, the
As such, the AV junction acts as a secondary pacemaker. Rhythms originating from the AV junction are called junctional dysrhythmias or junctional rhythms.
There are several potential causes, including medical issues, medication side effects, and genetics, among others.
It occurs equally between males and females. It often occurs in people with
There are several types of junctional rhythm. A healthcare professional typically classifies them based on the number of beats per minute. The types and associated heart rates
When symptoms do occur, they typically reflect the underlying condition causing the junctional rhythm. For example, an individual with rheumatic fever may present with a heart murmur, fever, joint pain, or a rash.
Other general symptoms can include:
- intermittent palpitations
- fainting or feeling like a person may pass out
There are several potential causes of junctional rhythm. Some possible causes
- chest trauma
- coronary artery disease
- collagen vascular disease
- intracranial hypertension
- neuromuscular disorder
- x-linked muscular dystrophy
- familial disorder
- ischemic heart disease
- carotid sinus hypersensitivity
- acute myocardial infarction
- sleep apnea
- vasovagal simulation
- anorexia nervosa
- Lyme disease
- inherited channelopathy
- rheumatic fever
- repair of congenital heart disease
Certain medications and therapies may also cause junctional rhythm. These include:
A doctor may also perform additional testing to check for underlying conditions. This can include testing for thyroid conditions or heart failure or performing:
- routine blood work
- lung function test
In some cases, a doctor may need to switch a person’s medications or discontinue certain medications that may be responsible. Other people may need treatment for an underlying condition, such as Lyme disease or heart failure.
Some people with junctional rhythm may not need treatment if they have no underlying conditions or issues. Other individuals may require a pacemaker.
Complications can occur if a person does not notice symptoms and receive treatment for the underlying condition. Common complications of junctional rhythm
- passing out
The following section provides answers to commonly asked questions about junctional rhythm.
How serious is the condition?
Junctional rhythm itself is not typically very dangerous, and people who experience it generally have a
How does it differ from idioventricular rhythm?
What are the common characteristics?
Some common symptoms of junctional rhythm may include fatigue, dizziness, fainting, feelings of fainting, and intermittent palpitations.
A person’s outlook is