Having an accelerated junctional rhythm occurs when the atrioventricular node in your heart beats too quickly. It happens as a result of damage to your heart’s primary natural pacemaker. There’s no cure for accelerated junctional rhythm (AJR) or way to prevent the condition, but treatment can help alleviate symptoms.

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An accelerated junctional rhythm is a type of abnormal beat that starts in the atrioventricular (AV) node of your heart. It’s usually the result of damage to the heart’s primary pacemaker.

Junctional rhythms are usually the result of damage to your heart’s primary pacemaker, in the sinoatrial node in the upper back wall of the right atrium. This damage causes your heart to rely on the AV node to set rhythm and can lead to faster or slower-than-normal heartbeats.

You may not always experience symptoms, but if you do, they can include:

  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • anxiety

Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and other health factors but might include medication or an implanted pacemaker.

A junctional heart rhythm is a type of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.

It happens when a part of your heart called the sinoatrial (SA) node becomes weak or does not work at all. Your SA node is your heart’s natural pacemaker. When it’s not working correctly, your heart uses one of its natural backup pacemaker nodes.

An accelerated junctional rhythm (AJR) is a faster-than-normal rhythm.

AJR can be caused when the AV node’s automatic “firing” exceeds that of the sinus node. Typically, this means your heart’s AV node. The AV node keeps your heart beating, but it often results in a rate that is slower or faster than normal.

It’s common to have an AJR without experiencing any symptoms. However, if symptoms occur, they may include:

The standard rhythm in the AV node is called the junctional escape rhythm. In adults with limited or no health concerns, this rhythm is typically between 40 and 60 beats per minute (BPM).

Problems with junctional rhythm cause rates outside this range. This includes:

  • Accelerated junctional rhythm: 60 to 100 BPM
  • Junctional tachycardia: Over 100 BPM
  • Junctional bradycardia: Less than 40 BPM
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There are several factors that can increase your risk of AJR. These include:

  • Heart surgery: This kind of surgery can result in inflammation that can damage your SA node.
  • Myocarditis: Myocarditis is an inflammation of your heart. It can damage your SA node and lead to AJR.
  • Sepsis, Lyme disease, and other infections: Serious infections can damage your heart and can result in AJR.
  • Low blood oxygen levels: Health conditions that cause low blood oxygen levels can make it difficult for your SA node to work properly.
  • Medications: Sometimes medication for other conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause changes to your heart rate.
  • Other health issues: Electrolyte irregularities like hypokalemia can alter your heart rate.

The first step to diagnosing AJR is typically a medical exam.

During your exam, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and check your blood pressure as well as pulse and breathing rates. They’ll likely order tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiogram to get a better look at your heart rhythm, structure, and function.

An ECG test involves placing sticky electrode pads on your skin. The pads will be attached to a small device that will record your heart’s rhythm.

Ambulatory ECG monitoring can be done using a portable device that’s worn over a period of days to weeks. You might wear this device at home for a few days. An echocardiogram is a quick ultrasound test that looks at the chambers of your heart and the way blood is pumping through them.

Together, these tests can help spot and confirm an AJR and provide information about the heart’s structure.

AJR does not always require treatment. If you do not have symptoms or other heart problems, your doctor might not recommend any specific treatment. Instead, you might have regular checkups and ECGs to monitor your heart health.

However, if you have symptoms or if your AJR is connected to other heart function difficulties, you may want to consider treatment. Options might include:

  • Changes to current meds: If you’re already taking medications for blood pressure or another heart condition, changing the dosage or exact medication might help your AJR.
  • Permanent pacemaker: An implanted pacemaker can replace your SA node.

Sometimes an AJR can go away without treatment. There’s no specific way to prevent this condition or to treat it with lifestyle management.

However, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor about your AJR. Let them know if you start experiencing any symptoms or if you notice any specific activities that make you feel worse.

An accelerated junctional heart rhythm occurs when your AV node fires too quickly. It usually happens as a result of damage to your heart’s primary natural pacemaker, the SA node, or increased activity in the AV node.

AJR does not always cause symptoms and can resolve on its own without treatment. When symptoms do occur, they can include anxiety, fainting, chest pain, and fatigue. Treatment depends on symptom severity and on any other heart conditions you have. It might include medications or a permanent pacemaker.

There’s no cure for AJR or way to prevent the condition, but treatment can help alleviate symptoms.