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Treatments for a Fast Heart Rhythm

Clip Number: 20 of 41
Presentation: Common Heart Conditions, Tests, and Procedures
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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The treatment of arrhythmias will vary depending on what is causing them.
One option is using medication. Sometimes a medicine can be prescribed that brings the abnormal heartbeat back to a normal rhythm. Other medications may be used to control how fast the heart beats or how thin the blood is. But, if you still experience an abnormal rhythm, you increase the risk of serious heart-related events or even loss of life. However, these medications alone can have serious risks and side effects.
Another alternative is ablation. This is used more often for arrhythmias that begin in the atria, or upper parts of the heart. During ablation, the doctor will guide a special catheter to the area in the heart causing the problem. The catheter tip heats up and makes a small burn on that part of the heart, which safely scars it so it cannot send the abnormal signals. 90 out of 100 patients who can be treated with ablation will have successful results. This means their heartbeat will go back to normal.
The last option we'll discuss is surgery to place an implantable defibrillator, or ICD. This is done for irregular heartbeats that are fast and that start in the lower parts of the ventricles. An ICD is a device that will constantly monitor the heartbeat and detect any abnormal heartbeats. It will send small shocks to the heart to stop abnormal beats before they become serious.
The treatments we've talked about may not be appropriate for each type of arrhythmia. It is best to talk with a physician if you have a heart condition.

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