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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 for Arrhythmias includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

Arrhythmias: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Arrhythmias:

Curable Types of Arrhythmias

Possibly curable types of Arrhythmias may include:

Arrhythmias: Research Doctors & Specialists

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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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Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Arrhythmias

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Arrhythmias:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Arrhythmias, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Discussion of treatments for Arrhythmias:

Many 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 following treatments.

  • Drugs
    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.

  • Cardioversion
    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 from recurring.

  • 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.

  • Surgery
    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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