Treatments for Arrhythmias
Treatments for Arrhythmias:
The first step in treating an arrhythmia is prevention. This includes not smoking, not using illegal drugs or abusing prescription stimulant medications, and moderating caffeine and alcohol intake.
Once an arrhythmia develops, a treatment plan is individualized to the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and general health of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that treats the arrhythmia and includes a long-term plan to address any underlying or associated diseases, disorder or conditions, such as heart disease, smoking and hyperthyroidism.
Mild arrhythmias that do not cause symptoms may not need treatment other than monitoring. For example, this may occur when a person has a rapid heart rate (tachycardia) as a side effect of a diet drug, which goes away after the drug is discontinued.
Lifestyle changes are also a part of treatment. These include quitting smoking, lowering stress and losing weight as needed.
Depending on the cause, some arrhythmias may be treated with a variety of medications, such as digitalis, beta blockers, antiarrhythmias or calcium channel blockers.
Moderate to severe arrhythmias generally require hospitalization and intensive care. Intravenous medication may be needed to correct the arrhythmia. For some types of arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation or third degree heart block, a pacemaker is necessary to stimulate a normal heartbeat. Other procedures that may be needed include electrically converting the arrhythmia to a normal rhythm (normal sinus rhythm) by cardioversion or defibrillation.
For immediately life-threatening arrhythmias, such as ventricular tachycardia without a pulse and ventricular fibrillation, defibrillation and life support measures, including CPR, are necessary.
Treatment List for Arrhythmias
The list of treatments mentioned in various sources
includes the following list.
Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment
or change in treatment plans.
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Curable Types of Arrhythmias
Possibly curable types of Arrhythmias may include:
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Drugs and Medications used to treat Arrhythmias:
Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment
or change in treatment plans.
Some of the different medications used in the treatment of Arrhythmias include:
Unlabeled Drugs and Medications to treat Arrhythmias:
Unlabelled alternative drug treatments for Arrhythmias include:
Latest treatments for Arrhythmias:
The following are some of the latest treatments for Arrhythmias:
Hospital statistics for Arrhythmias:
These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Arrhythmias:
- 0.695% (88,606) of hospital consultant episodes were for atrial fibrillation and flutter in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 78% of hospital consultant episodes for atrial fibrillation and flutter required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 54% of hospital consultant episodes for atrial fibrillation and flutter were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 46% of hospital consultant episodes for atrial fibrillation and flutter were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
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Discussion of treatments for Arrhythmias:
require no treatment whatsoever.
Serious arrhythmias are treated in several ways depending on what is causing
the arrhythmia. Sometimes the heart disease is treated to control the
arrhythmia. Or, the arrhthmia itself may be treated using one or more of the
There are several kinds of drugs used to treat
arrhythmias. One or more drugs may be used.
Drugs are carefully chosen because they can cause side effects. In some
cases, they can cause arrhythmias or make arrhythmias worse. For this reason,
the benefits of the drug are carefully weighed against any risks associated
with taking it. It is important not to change the dose or type of your
medication unless you check with your doctor first.
If you are taking drugs for an arrhythmia, one of the following tests will
probably be used to see whether treatment is working: a 24-hour
electrocardiogram (ECG) while you are on drug therapy, an exercise ECG, or a
special technique to see how easily the arrhythmia can be caused. Blood levels
of antiarrhythmic drugs may also be checked.
To quickly restore a heart to its normal
rhythm, the doctor may apply an electrical shock to the chest wall. Called
cardioversion, this treatment is most often used in emergency situations.
After cardioversion, drugs are usually prescribed to prevent the arrhythmia
- Automatic implantable defibrillators
These devices are
used to correct serious ventricular arrhythmias that can lead to sudden death.
The defibrillator is surgically placed inside the patient's chest. There, it
monitors the heart's rhythm and quickly identifies serious arrhythmias. With
an electrical shock, it immediately disrupts a deadly arrhythmia.
- Artificial pacemaker
An artificial pacemaker can take
charge of sending electrical signals to make the heart beat if the heart's
natural pacemaker is not working properly or its electrical pathway is
blocked. During a simple operation, this electrical device is placed under the
skin. A lead extends from the device to the right side of the heart, where it
is permanently anchored.
When an arrhythmia cannot be controlled by
other treatments, doctors may perform surgery. After locating the heart tissue
that is causing the arrhythmia, the tissue is altered or removed so that it
will not produce the arrhythmia.
(Source: excerpt from NHLBI, Arrhythmia: NHLBI
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