Treatments for Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)
Not all arrhythmias need to be treated. Many are harmless and don't cause problems. When they affect how your heart works and cause problems that affect your daily life, you may need to be treated. The goal is to return the normal rhythm to the heart. This will help you avoid:
- Ischemia and heart muscle damage—can lead to a heart attack
- Ischemia to the brain—can lead to a stroke
- Damage makes the heart work harder to meet the body's demands—can lead to heart failure
- Long term reduction in blood flow to the brain—may cause mild cognitive impairment
- Erratic heart beats and heart muscle quivering—may cause sudden cardiac arrest
How arrhythmias are treated depends on the type, cause, and seriousness of the type you have. Common methods include:
Arrhythmia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/arrhythmia. Accessed January 7, 2019.
Atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115288/Atrial-fibrillation. Updated August 22, 2018. Accessed January 7, 2019.
Colucci R, Silver M, Shubrook J. Common types of supraventricular tachycardia: Diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2010;82(8):942-952.
Gutierrez C, Blanchard D. Atrial fibrillation: Diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83(1):61-68.
Prevention & treatment of arrhythmia. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia/prevention--treatment-of-arrhythmia. Accessed January 7, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC Last Updated: 1/7/2019