How Are Arrhythmias Treated?
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.
At 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.