- by Dr. Sunil Dwivedi
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- Mar 10 2017
Treatment of ARRHYTHMIA-(problem in either the rate or rhythm of the heart beat )
Arrhythmias which cause symptoms and are serious can be treated with medication, medical devices and procedures, surgery and Vagal maneuvers. Serious arrhythmias are those which are likely to cause complications like stroke, heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.
Medications used to treat arrhythmias are called antiarrhythmics. Some of these medications have serious side effects. You must take the medications as prescribed. Ask your doctor about their potential side effects. You must also immediately report any new symptom or recurrence of an old symptom.
Antiarrhythmic medications can:
- Sow down a fast rate: Examples: beta blockers, calcium channel blockers (such as diltiazem and verapami, and digoxin.
- Restore the normal rhythm of heart: Examples: amiodarone, disopyramide, sotalol, procainamide, quinidine, etc.
Apart from antiarrhythmics, your doctor may prescribe blood thinners or medicines to control thyroid disorders.
Medical Devices and Procedures
- Pacemaker: Your doctor will place this small device under the skin of your chest or abdomen to control abnormal heart rhythms. The device senses an abnormal heart rhythm and sends out electrical signals to normalize the rhythm. Also, used to treat bradyarrhythmias.
- Cardioversion: In defibrillation or cardioversion, a device called defibrillator is used to give jolts of electricity to the body to treat arrhythmia. Sometimes a defibrillator device is placed under the skin of the chest to treat ventricular arrhythmias. This device is called implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), whichsends out electrical shocks when it senses abnormal rhythms.
- Catheter Ablation: As in EPS study, a wire is inserted through a vein in your upper thigh or arm and guided to the heart, anda special machine is used to send energy through this wire to destroy small portions of heart tissue which are generating the abnormal rhythm.
- Maze Surgery: Sometimes during other heart surgeries such as surgery for repair of a heart valve, your doctor may perform another surgery to correct your arrhythmia. This is called maze surgery. Small cuts or burns are given to the atria to prevent spread of abnormal electrical signals.
- Coronary artery bypass surgery is done to if coronary heart disease is the cause of arrhythmia. This surgery improves blood flow to the heart and prevents arrhythmia.
Simple exercises can slow down or stop abnormal heart rhythms by affecting the Vagus nerve. However, please do not do these exercises without consulting your doctor.
Vagal maneuvers which can help are:
- Gently pressing eyelids with fingers
- Splashing ice cold water on face
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