Lung Cancer Home > Irregular Heart Rhythms With a Pneumonectomy
Irregular heart rhythms with a pneumonectomy are uncommon and aren't usually life threatening. The heart may beat too slowly, too quickly, or just abnormally. If you already have an abnormal heartbeat or are at risk for developing one, a pacemaker may be temporarily or permanently placed in your heart to prevent irregular heart rhythms with a pneumonectomy.
Before we talk about this particular problem, you should know something about how the heart beats. Electrical signals are sent from a special area in your heart called the SA node, or the main pacemaker. As these signals are sent through the heart, the top parts of your heart contract together, and then the lower parts contract. This makes blood flow in the right direction through the heart.
Sometimes, things go wrong with the electrical signals, and this creates abnormal heart rhythms. The heart may beat too slowly, too quickly, or just irregularly.
Irregular heart rhythms with a pneumonectomy don't happen very often. If they do, they are usually brief and don't cause any symptoms or problems.
One example that does cause problems is called atrial fibrillation. During atrial fibrillation, the heart quivers instead of contracting normally. It isn't known why this sometimes happens after surgery. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation may include a rapid heart rate or a pounding feeling in your chest. In rare cases, atrial fibrillation and other abnormal heart rhythms can be fatal.
If you already have, or might develop, an abnormal heart rhythm, your doctor may put a pacemaker or defibrillator into your heart. These devices can sense abnormal heart rhythms and correct them. They may be used either temporarily or permanently, depending on your condition.