How are arrhythmias treated ?
Lifestyle Changes Can Help Arrhythmias?
- If the arrhythmia occurs more often with certain activities, it should be avoided.
- For the smoker, smoking should be discontinued.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Limit or stop using caffeine. Some people are sensitive to caffeine and may notice more symptoms when using caffeine products (such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, and some over-the-counter medications).
- Stay away from stimulants used in cough and cold medications. Some such medications contain ingredients that promote irregular heart rhythms. Read the label and ask your doctor or pharmacist what medication would be best for you.
What Drugs Are Used to Treat Arrhythmias? A variety of drugs are available to treat arrhythmias. These include:
- Antiarrhythmic drugs. These drugs are used to suppress the arrhythmia, or to control heart rate
- Anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy. These drugs reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. These include warfarin (a “blood thinner”), aspirin, Plavix (Clopidogrel). There are newer oral medicine such as Pradaxa (dabigatran), Xarelto (Rivaroxaban), Apixaban (Eliquis) which were approved recently for prevent stroke in patient with atrial fibrillation.
What Is Electrical Cardioversion? If drugs are not able to control a persistent irregular heart rhythm (such as atrial fibrillation), cardioversion may be required. Electrical cardioversion is effective in other form of tachycardias. After administration of a short-acting anesthesia, a direct current electrical shock is delivered to your chest wall allows the normal rhythm to restart.
What is a pacemaker? A pacemaker is a device that sends small electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate. Pacemakers primarily prevent the heart from beating too slowly. The pacemaker has a pulse generator (which houses the battery and a tiny computer) and leads (wires) that send impulses from the pulse generator to the heart muscle. Newer pacemakers have many sophisticated features that are designed to help manage arrhythmias and optimize heart rate-related function as much as possible.
What is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)? An ICD is a sophisticated device used primarily to treat ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, two life-threatening arrhythmia. The ICD constantly monitors the heart rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers energy to the heart muscle to cause the heart to beat in a normal rhythm again. The system of pulse generator and lead as well as implantation are similar to pacemaker.
What Is Catheter Ablation? During an ablation, high-frequency electrical energy is delivered through a catheter to a small area of tissue inside the heart that causes the abnormal heart rhythm. This energy “disconnects” the pathway of the abnormal rhythm. Ablation is used to treat most PSVTs, atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation, and some atrial and ventricular tachycardia. Ablation may be combined with other procedures to achieve optimal treatment.
What Is Heart Surgery for arrhythmia? Heart surgery may be needed to treat the arrhythmia such as the Maze procedure to correct atrial fibrillation. During this procedure, a series of incisions (or “maze”) are made in the right and left atria to confine the electrical impulses. Some people may require a pacemaker after this procedure. Heart surgery can treat some conditions that cause the arrhythmia.