Heart can make a popping-corn rhythm

“Every once in a while, my heart seems to be jumping out of my chest, I get a weak feeling and short of breath,” the patient explained. When I listened with my stethoscope, his rhythm was different than the usual lub-dub, foot-tapping, sounds, which are regular as a band marching through town on a summertime parade. Instead his heart had the irregular rhythm of popping corn, chaotic and unpredictable, and I couldn’t tap my foot to it.

As predicted, the EKG showed the rhythm of atrial fibrillation, with the atrial rate running at three to 400 beats per minute, and the ventricular rhyth...

 

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