Cardiac arrhythmias are difficult to define epidemiologically. It therefore follows that data available on their actual incidence and prevalence is limited. Although many of the available studies can be criticised due to methodological flaws, overall there do appear to be some differences in the incidence and prevalence of arrhythmias in different ethnic groups. These differences are likely the result of aetiological influences, as the prevalence of ischemic heart disease, hypertension and other contributory causes are known to vary between ethnic groups. Clearly, more epidemiologic information is required in non-white populations in order to further advance understanding of possible aetiology, assess implications on associated morbidity, mortality and therapeutic options, as well as plan efficient health care provision and costing implications.