If you are diagnosed with an arrhythmia, one of the first decisions you
will make with your
cardiac care specialist is whether to treat it. Many arrhythmias are not dangerous and may not
require any treatment beyond monitoring. However, if your arrhythmia is
causing symptoms or could put you at risk for further health problems,
your cardiac care doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
Here are some of the strategies that can be used for managing arrhythmias.
A number of different medications can be used to treat arrhythmias, including
calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and anticoagulants. If you have
a cardiac emergency, these drugs can be administered intravenously, or
you may take them orally indefinitely to manage your condition. To determine
if your medications are working, your doctor may monitor your heart using
an electrocardiogram or a 24-hour Holter monitor. Although medications
can be effective, they also carry the risk of side effects, including
the emergence of new arrhythmias.
Radiofrequency ablation involves the use of radio waves to destroy tissue.
As Good Samaritan Hospital cardiologist Dr. Matt Levy discusses in
this video, ablation can be used to remove tissue in the heart that is triggering
an arrhythmia. Once the tissue is gone, the arrhythmia should be permanently resolved.
Both pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) can
be used to treat arrhythmias. These devices are implanted in the body
and constantly monitor the electrical activity in the heart. If an arrhythmia
is detected, the device can automatically deliver a signal that corrects
and normalizes the heartbeat. The device can also store information about
corrections it makes, so your cardiac care specialists can see how your
heart is functioning over the course of your treatment.
Good Samaritan Hospital, we offer comprehensive cardiac care in San Jose for patients with a range
of diagnostic and treatment needs. To find out more about our cardiac
care program or to request a referral to one of our specialists, please
call (888) 724-2362.