How Are Arrhythmias Treated? Info from a Phoenix Cardiologist
A heart arrhythmia is a rhythm problem that develops when the electrical impulses in the heart do not work effectively. The irregular heartbeat prompts the heart to take on a rapid or excessively slow beat. It can also beat erratically.
A typical heart arrhythmia feels like a fluttering in the chest and can be troublesome to the affected individual. While not always life threatening, if the condition is left untreated severe problems may arise.
Slow Heartbeat Treatment
Slow heartbeats, also known as bradycardias, can be corrected but may not always reveal a cause. A pacemaker is often used to correct the problem because most medications are not reliable for effectively speeding up the heart.
A pacemaker can be implanted in the chest near the collarbone. When the heart rate is too slow or stops altogether, the pacemaker stimulates the heart by sending out an electrical impulse. The pacemaker stimulation gets the heart back to beating at a steady rate.
Fast Heartbeat Treatment
Treatment options for a fast heartbeat may include a number of methods, from medication to vagal maneuvers. Medication is the most common and conservative method used to correct a fast heartbeat. While the medication does not cure the problem, they can minimize symptoms. If you have atrial fibrillation accompanied by a rapid heart rate or arrhythmia, your Arizona cardiologist may prescribe a blood-thinner such as Coumadin.
Vagal maneuvers can be carried out at home and may be instructed by your heart doctor. In the event that an arrhythmia takes place, particular maneuvers such as holding your breath or moving your head and coughing may cause the heart to slow back down. While not always effective, they can help in eliminating minor arrhythmias.
Ablation therapy is another form of treatment that is effective in stopping an arrhythmia. Through this procedure, one or more catheters are placed into the blood vessels toward the inner heart. The electrodes are heated in order to stop the arrhythmia.
Treatment for Severe Cases
Severe cases of arrhythmia may require an implantable device when other methods fail to correct the problem. A pacemaker or ICD may be implanted. A pacemaker is typically used for slow heartbeats that are prone to stopping, while an ICD can be used if the patient is at risk of a dangerously high heartbeat.
If you experience fluttering in your chest and believe you have a heart arrhythmia, it is best to have the condition checked by a Phoenix cardiologist right away and quite possibly the emergency room. Don’t ignore the symptoms, but schedule an assessment and evaluation.
Dr. Yasir Batres is the medical director at AZ Heart Doctor. He is a Board Certified cardiologist Phoenix AZ trusts, and cares deeply for his patients. Most insurance is accepted at the practice, call (480) 300-4646 for more information and scheduling.