Heart Rhythm Disorders (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What medications treat arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders)?
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The choice and use of medications depends on the specific type of arrhythmia present. Although detailed discussion about this is beyond the scope of this article, the reader is encouraged to click onto the links to the predominant arrhythmias to determine the common medications and common surgical methods used to treat these heart beat disorders.
Although some arrhythmias may require some special uses of medications (for example, IV adenosine for PSVT), most utilize various beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers to control fast rates. Although atropine may be used for a short time to speed up heart rates, usually the treatment will be a pacemaker.
What electrical and surgical treatments are available for arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders)?
The most common electrical and surgical treatments are listed as follows:
Electrical cardioversion is most often used in emergencies, although patients with certain arrhythmias who are stable may have electrical cardioversion done non-emergently. Most of the surgical procedures (implants) are done in patients whose arrhythmias are under medical control (temporarily or longer-term).
Do I need to follow-up with my doctor after being diagnosed with an arrhythmia?
Follow-up is usually done with the primary care professional and often with a heart specialist (cardiologist). The patient is monitored for effectiveness of treatment, recurrence of symptoms or arrhythmia, side effects of medication, additional routine testing, and overall condition. For those requiring pacemakers, follow-up on a regular basis is mandatory. Patients are advised to make all follow-up appointments and should not attempt to change their medications without first consulting their doctor(s).
What is the outlook or life-expectancy for a person with an arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder)?
The detection and management of heart rhythm disorders are undergoing constant improvement. The past years have seen an unprecedented explosion of information about these conditions. Detection and management of heart rhythm disorders has improved the quality and quantity of life. However, patients need to keep follow-up appointments and maintain their medications because not doing this can severely reduce a person's outcome. Untreated, ignored, or "undertreated" serious arrhythmias can result in syncope, strokes, heart failure, and sudden death.
Medically reviewed by Robert J. Bryg, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease
Last Reviewed 11/20/2017
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disorders):
Arrhythmias - Symptoms
What signs and symptoms do you have with your arrhythmia?
Arrhythmias - Treatment
What treatments have been effective in treating and managing your arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder)?
Arrhythmias - Type and Cause
Please describe what type of arrhythmia you have, and if known, what caused it.
Arrhythmias - Medications
What medications have helped you manage and treat your arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder)?