VA Disability Rating for Heart Arrhythmia

Veterans can develop service-related heart arrhythmia for many reasons, such as stress, trauma, and environmental pollutants. Veterans with service-connected heart arrhythmia can apply to the VA for a disability rating of 10%, 30%, 60% or 100% that can entitle them to benefits. Veterans Guide leads you through the heart arrhythmia VA rating system and how you can take the next steps to get benefits.

Key Takeaways
  • The VA disability rating for heart arrhythmia depends on the severity and impact on the veteran’s health, with ratings at 10%, 30%, 60% and 100%.
  • Specific criteria for conditions like symptomatic bradycardia and sustained ventricular arrhythmias influence the rating.
  • The evaluation considers the veteran’s ability to perform physical activities and the need for continuous medication.

Veterans Guide helps people who have served to understand the process of applying for VA disability benefits. During your service, you may have developed heart arrhythmia or experienced certain factors contributing to the condition. You might be able to get disability benefits for this condition, whether it’s a direct consequence of your service or related to a different condition resulting from your time on active duty.  

A heart arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rate, meaning the heart rate is too fast, slow, or irregular. Bradycardia is a slower-than-normal heart rate, while tachycardia is faster than normal. While an arrhythmia is not a sign of an emergency, it could indicate an underlying medical condition. 

Sometimes, the reason for arrhythmia is unknown. One cause is a conduction disorder that disrupts the electrical signals controlling your heartbeat. Although the causes might not be clear, the following are some risk factors for the condition:

Some underlying conditions that might cause arrhythmias include the following:

Stress, trauma, and environmental pollutants can be contributing factors. If you are living with arrhythmia, and the condition is connected to your time in service, you might qualify for VA disability benefits. Veterans Guide can help you understand the application process and the heart arrhythmia VA rating.

How Does the VA Rate Heart Arrhythmia?

The VA measures heart health based on the metabolic equivalent of tasks or METs. One MET is the amount of energy it takes to sit quietly. Other tasks like running might use 8 or 9 METs. 

The VA rates arrhythmia under sections 7009, 7010, and 7011 of the general section for the cardiovascular system. It is also an important symptom of the general criteria for heart disease. Therefore, if you do not qualify for benefits under 7009, 7010, or 7011, you might also qualify under diseases of the heart.

The VA general rating formula for diseases of the heart looks at the number of METs at which a person might experience symptoms like:

Arrhythmia, therefore, is one sign of a disease of the heart, according to the VA rating system. The fewer the METs before you experience arrhythmia, the higher your VA rating.

VA Rating Schedule for Heart Arrhythmia

The VA schedule of ratings for the cardiovascular system 38 CFR § 4.104 relies heavily on METs and how much physical activity you can do before you experience arrhythmia. These criteria and ratings are for general diseases of the heart. The ratings are as follows:

Here are the ratings specific to arrhythmia:

If your situation does not fall into these categories, arrhythmia might also be an important part of the assessment criteria for heart diseases.

How Does Military Service Cause Heart Arrhythmia?

Stress, disrupted sleep patterns, trauma, and PTSD can all impact your heart health. There is a known connection between PTSD in veterans and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including arrhythmia.

Veterans might also have developed heart arrhythmia because of airborne toxins inhaled during their time in service. A 2020 health study of Iraq War veterans found many were exposed to toxic pollutants in the air, often from open burn pits. These veterans often did not develop symptoms until years after service. The veterans in the study had decreased physical fitness and increased respiratory problems after time in service.

Symptoms of Heart Arrhythmia

Heart arrhythmia does not always cause symptoms. Many people only receive a diagnosis of arrhythmia when a doctor listens to their heart during a routine visit. Symptoms of arrhythmia might include:

Heart Arrhythmia Due to Agent Orange Exposure

Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their service have a higher risk of developing heart arrhythmia. Heart arrhythmia might also result from other sources of toxic exposure, like burn pits

The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, commonly known as the PACT Act, expanded benefits to veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxins. If you have a condition commonly caused by these conditions and were exposed to one of these toxins while on active duty, the VA presumes your condition resulted from your time in service. 

However, the law does not designate arrhythmia as a presumptive condition for veterans, even if veterans have been exposed to Agent Orange or another toxin.

How to Establish a Service-Related Connection to Heart Arrhythmia

Although arrhythmia is not a presumptive condition, veterans with service-connected arrhythmia can still qualify for VA disability benefits. Those applying for a disability rating for the condition must demonstrate that the arrhythmia resulted from their service. 

To establish this connection, the veteran must provide medical evidence, including a diagnosis from a medical professional. A physician must provide a report concluding that military service caused or exacerbated the condition.

Heart Arrhythmia as a Secondary Disability

A heart arrhythmia might be a disability secondary to another disability connected to your service. To get benefits for both, you must show that the first condition resulted from your time in service and the second condition is the direct result of the first condition.

As an example, veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and developed ischemic heart disease have a presumptive condition. Furthermore, arrhythmia is a symptom of ischemic heart disease. Therefore, you might be able to show that arrhythmia connects to your service as a symptom of a presumptive condition.

Conditions like cardiomyopathy and heart inflammation can also put you at higher risk for arrhythmias. If you develop arrhythmia and receive a VA disability rating for either of those conditions, you may be able to claim the arrhythmia as a secondary condition.

How To Obtain VA Disability Compensation for Heart Arrhythmia

Filing a claim for VA disability benefits involves the following steps:

To get help with your VA disability claim for arrhythmia, contact us at Veterans Guide today.

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