Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)
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Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) Treatment: Medicine

There are 14 Medicine treatments for Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances).
Written by ColleenO.

The treatment of arrhythmias aims to maintain the heart's ability to pump blood efficiently. Treatment depends on the type and seriousness of the particular rhythm disturbance. For example:

  • Medications are most often used in tachyarrhythmias (fast heart rates).
  • Electrical conversion is used for life-threatening irregular rhythms.
  • Pacemakers are used most frequently for bradyarrhythmias (slow heart rates).

Prescription medications for arrhythmias act to slow the electrical activity in the heart. The drugs in classes I-IV are grouped according to the specific way that they slow electrical activity. Many of them have additional uses, such as treating high blood pressure. All of them can produce serious side effects and must be used with great care and strict adherence to instructions. Medications include:

There are also a number of surgical procedures and devices that may be used to treat an arrhythmia:

Treatments include:

Treatments

Effect of Class I Drugs on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Like many other drugs used to treat arrhythmias, class I drugs help by slowing the electrical activity in the heart. Drugs in sub-classes IA, IB and IC all work slightly differently, and all drugs in...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Class I Drugs.

Effect of Class II Drugs on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Like many other drugs used to treat arrhythmias, class II drugs (beta blockers) help by slowing the electrical activity in the heart. While their overall effect may be similar to other drugs, these...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Class II Drugs.

Effect of Class III Drugs on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Like many other drugs used to treat arrhythmias, class III drugs help by slowing the electrical activity in the heart. While their overall effect may be similar to other drugs, these drugs work...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Class III Drugs.

Effect of Class IV Drugs on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Like many other drugs used to treat arrhythmias, class IV drugs (calcium channel blockers) help by slowing the electrical activity in the heart. Most of the drugs in this category are used to lower...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Class IV Drugs.

Effect of Digoxin on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

These drugs are primarily used to control the rate of ventricular response to tachyarrhythmias (heartbeats that are too fast).

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Digoxin.

Effect of Adenosine on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Adenosine helps treat tachyarrhythmias by slowing the heartbeat.

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Adenosine.

Effect of Radiofrequency Ablation on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

An ablation procedure helps treat certain arrhythmias by finding the origin of the abnormal signals and then using a cauterizing current or a burst of radiofrequency energy to destroy the tiny area...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Radiofrequency Ablation.

Effect of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

During a CABG procedure, a blood vessel (vein) is taken from the leg or chest or wrist and grafted into a diseased artery, bypassing the blocked area. If more than one area is blocked, a bypass can be...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG).

Effect of Surgical Subendocardial Resection on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

A surgical subendocardial resection has the potential to help treat specific arrhythmias by removing scar tissue underneath the lining of the heart. In these cases, the scar tissue within the heart...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Surgical Subendocardial Resection.

Effect of Maze Procedure—Open Surgery on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Electrical impulses cannot flow through scar tissue. By creating specific patterns of scar tissue in the atria, maze surgery creates a pathway for healthy impulses and blocks erratic impulses.

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Maze Procedure—Open Surgery.

Effect of Automatic Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Most ICDs have both pacemaker and defibrillator functions. If the heart beats too slowly, the ICD can help the heart beat at a normal pace. If the heart begins to beat in a disorganized way, the...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Automatic Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation.

Effect of Pacemaker Insertion on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

An artificial pacemaker may work as a substitute for the heart's natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial (SA) node. Artificial pacemakers help treat some arrhythmias by generating regular impulses that make...

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Effect of Cardioversion on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

The underlying mechanism of cardioversion is based on the fact that these rhythms represent circular electrical currents that keep the heart muscle—or parts of it—twitching in an uncoordinated...

Read more about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Cardioversion.

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