Check your tempo; are you on the right beat?
Arrhythmias are usually discovered during heart-monitoring tests, such as an ECG (Electrocardiogram) and Holter monitoring. If you are at higher risk of arrthythmia due to old age, heart damage or you have a family history of heart complications; consider getting heart-monitoring tests done during your yearly check-up or health screening.
Some arrhythmias are triggered in response to physical activity, so getting a stress test is also a way to check for an irregular heartbeat.
Treating slow heartbeats
Symptomatic and slow heartbeats are often treated with a pacemaker as there aren’t any medications that can speed your heart up. The pacemaker will be implanted near your collarbone, connected to your heart. The moment your heart rate drops below a certain speed or stops, the pacemaker will send out electric impulses to help the heart beat steadily.
Slowing down the speeder
Tachycardias are treated with medication that control or restore the heart’s rhythm; these medications must be taken on time and following the doctor’s instructions to avoid complications.
Another way to treat tachycardias is through a catheter ablation, where the doctor uses extreme heat or cold to damage a part of your heart. This intentional scarring causes a block along the pathway in your heart that’s causing the arrhythmia. Catheter ablation is done using electrodes inserted into the heart, so there is no need to worry about any damage outside of the heart.
For people with V-fib and ventricular tachycardia
If you are at a higher risk of developing extremely fast or irregular heartbeats (especially for V-fibs) that can cause a sudden heart attack, our doctors may recommend an ICD (Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) instead. Similar to a pacemaker, the ICD will send electric shocks to reset the heart when it detects an abnormal heart rhythm.
For people with A-fib
Because atrial fibrillation can cause blood clots, doctors often prescribe blood thinners to help reduce the risk of a blood clot forming. This is done to reduce the risk of a stroke occurring.
What about surgery? I don’t want surgery!
Surgery to correct arrhythmias is often reserved for people who don’t respond to other treatments, or if you already require heart surgery for a different condition. It is, however; an effective way to treat arrhythmias.
The maze procedure is a surgery that creates a pattern or “maze” of scar tissues in the heart to block off the pathways that cause arrhythmia, similar to catheter ablation. Because scar tissues cannot conduct electricity, the blockage helps to block stray signals and prevent arrhythmia.
Coronary bypass surgery is not reserved only to bypass heart blockages, but it can also be used to improve the blood supply to your heart and reduce the risk of an arrhythmia or heart complication.
You need to take care of yourself too!
Heart arrhythmia treatment can help control irregular heartbeats, but that is not all. The healthier your heart, the better you are able to reduce your risk of arrhythmia (and the dangers it brings).
Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle and avoid the possibility of developing arrhythmia. This also applies to people who have already suffered from heart damage. Even though you will not be able reverse the damage that has been done, you can still take effort to prevent your condition from worsening.
Help your little drummer play the best tempo, as this little drummer works non-stop to keep you alive.