Arrhythmia Treatment in Waco, TX
Arrhythmia treatment: Arrhythmia is the improper beating or rhythm of the heart. It is a condition whereby the heart beats very fast, too slow, or irregularly. Arrhythmias occur when the electrical signals that coordinate the beating of the heart don’t work properly.
Symptoms of Arrhythmia
Symptoms of arrhythmia may include:
- Heart palpitations
- A fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
- A slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
- Chest pain shortness of breath
Other less common symptoms of an arrhythmia may include:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Fainting or feeling of fainting
Causes of Arrhythmia
The heart’s rhythm or beat is controlled by a natural pacemaker called the sinus node which is located in the right upper chamber. The electrical signals that start each heartbeat are sent by the sinus node. These electrical signals move across the atria and cause the heart muscles to contract and pump blood into the ventricles.
Next, the electrical signals get to a cluster of cells called the AV node and then slow down. The slight delay in the electrical signals allows the ventricles to get filled with blood. The ventricles then contract and pump blood to the lungs or the other parts of the body.
In a healthy heart, this electrical signaling process usually goes smoothly and results in a normal heart rhythm of 60 to 100 beats a minute. In an unhealthy heart, the electrical signaling process doesn’t go smoothly and can result in abnormal heart rhythm.
Conditions that can cause or increase the risk of arrhythmia
Certain conditions or factors can cause or increase the risk of arrhythmia. These include:
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Overactive thyroid gland
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Changes in the heart muscle
- Sleep apnea
- Changes in the heart muscle
- Valve disorder
- Congenital heart disease
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Excessive intake of alcohol or caffeine
- Drug abuse
- Stress or anxiety
- Use of certain medications
- Injury or scar from a heart attack
- Changes to the heart’s structure from a medical condition
- Irritable tissue in the heart that may be due to genetic or acquired causes
Diagnosis of Arrhythmia
A physical exam will be conducted and your medical history will also be reviewed.
Different tests may be conducted to confirm arrhythmia. Tests that may be conducted include:
The echocardiogram test uses sound waves to produce images of the size of the heart, structure, and rhythm.
Implantable loop recorder
This test involves planting an event record that records the heart’s electrical activity and also detects irregular heart rhythms.
This test involves wearing an event recorder that detects and records irregular arrhythmias.
This test detects the electrical activity of the heart and measures the timing and duration of each electrical rhythm.
This device can record the heart’s activity.
Some arrhythmias are triggered by activity or exercise. During a stress test, you will be made to ride on a stationary bike or run on a treadmill to increase your heart rate. Your heartbeat will be monitored.
Arrhythmia treatment depends on whether you have fast heartbeats, slow heartbeats, or irregular heartbeats.
Treatment options include
Arrhythmia treatment medications depend on whether you have fast heartbeats, slow heartbeats, or irregular heartbeats.
These drugs are used to convert the arrhythmia to a normal rhythm. They can also be used to prevent arrhythmia.
Heart-rate control drugs
These drugs are used to control the heart rate and restore normal heart rhythm.
Anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy
These drugs, such as warfarin or aspirin are used to prevent blood clots.
Certain therapies can be used to stop arrhythmia. These include:
Cardioversion is used to reset the heart rhythm. It involves delivering a shock into your heart through paddles or patches on your chest. The shock changes the electrical impulses in your heart, restoring normal heart rhythms.
This therapy is usually used for fast heartbeats. It involves maneuvers of your breathing or coughing to control your heartbeat. This therapy is not a lasting solution and doesn’t usually work for all types of arrhythmias.
3. Surgical procedures
Surgical procedures can provide long-lasting effects. Surgical procedures for arrhythmia include:
Pacemaker implantation is usually used to treat slow heartbeats. It involves implanting a pacemaker that sends out electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to beat at a normal rhythm.
This procedure involves threading one or more catheters through the blood vessels to the heart. The electrodes attached to the tip of the catheter use heat or cold energy to create tiny scars in your heart that block abnormal electrical signals, restoring a normal heartbeat.
This procedure involves making a series of incisions in your heart tissue at the upper half of your heart to create a pattern of scar tissue. The scar tissue blocks electrical signals that cause some types of arrhythmia.
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)
This procedure involves implanting a cardioverter defibrillator under the skin near the collarbone. Electrode-tipped wires from the ICD are passed through your veins to your heart. When the ICD detects an abnormal heart rhythm, it sends out low or high energy shocks that reset the heart rhythm to normal. An ICD monitors your heart rhythm and resets it to normal. It doesn’t prevent an arrhythmia from occurring.
What are the warning signs of arrhythmia?
The warning signs of arrhythmia include:
- Heart palpitations
- A fast heartbeat
- A slow heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Is Arrhythmia a serious condition?
Arrhythmia can be serious and life-threatening. A heart that beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly can lead to serious cardiovascular problems, heart failure, or stroke.
Can arrhythmia be cured?
Arrhythmia can’t be cured. Arrhythmia Treatments can only be used to restore normal heartbeats.
Can you feel it if you have arrhythmia?
You can feel heart palpitations or racing heart which may indicate that you have an arrhythmia. Frequent chest pain and shortness of breath may also be an indication.
How do you check for arrhythmia at home?
You may not be able to check for arrhythmia at home. If you’re experiencing symptoms of arrhythmia, it is best to visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
What triggers an arrhythmia?
Stress, activity, or exercise that makes the heart race faster can trigger arrhythmia.
How long does arrhythmia last?
Episodes of arrhythmia last for minutes and do come and go.
Does anxiety cause arrhythmia?
Anxiety can increase your heartbeat but not necessarily cause arrhythmia. Anxiety can be a risk factor for arrhythmia.
Can you live a long life with irregular heartbeats?
By undergoing arrhythmia treatment and being monitored regularly by a heart specialist, you can live a long life with irregular heartbeats.
Do arrhythmias come and go?
Yes. Some forms of arrhythmias come and go.