Return to Index
Treatments for Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)
Not all arrhythmias need to be treated. Many are harmless and do not cause problems. When arrhythmias affect heart function, and cause symptoms serious enough to affect your daily life, treatment may be needed. The goal of arrhythmia treatment is to restore the normal rhythm to your heart to avoid potential complications such as:
- Ischemia and heart muscle damage, which may cause a heart attack
- Ischemia to the brain, which may cause a stroke
- Damage makes the heart work harder to meet the body's demands, which may lead to heart failure
- Prolonged improper blood flow to the brain may cause mild cognitive impairment
- Erratic heart beats and heart muscle quivering may cause sudden cardiac arrest
If you need treatment, it is likely you will have a healthcare team that is made up of doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals. It is important throughout your course of treatment to work with your team by maintaining contact, adhering to treatment, and going to any scheduled appointments.
Treatment of arrhythmias depends on the type, cause, and seriousness of the particular rhythm disturbance you have. Common approaches include:Lifestyle changesMedicationsSurgeryOther treatments
Colucci R, Silver M, Shubrook J. Common types of supraventricular tachycardia: Diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2010;82(8):942-952.
Gutierrez C, Blanchard D. Atrial fibrillation: Diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83(1):61-68.
How are arrhythmias treated? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/arr/treatment. Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed March 20, 2014.
Prevention & treatment of arrhythmia. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/PreventionTreatmentofArrhythmia/Prevention-Treatment-of-Arrhythmia%5FUCM%5F002026%5FArticle.jsp#.VmcYEE2FMdU. Updated October 25, 2012. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2015
- Update Date: 12/20/2014