Comprehensive Afib & Arrhythmia Treatment
When an electrical irregularity in the heart is detected, it is important to speak to a qualified electrophysiologist as they have access to diagnostic tools and treatment options that primary care physicians and many general cardiologists do not have. However, treatment for any arrhythmia remains a collaborative effort with other medical professionals providing you care. For most arrhythmias, especially supraventricular tachycardia – fast heart rhythms above the ventricles – there is often little immediate concern. However, we do suggests starting treatment early in order to lower the risk of stroke and long-term heart damage. We often begin treatment for SVTs such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and more with comprehensive lifestyle change. There is growing evidence that poor lifestyle choices including alcohol consumption, drug use, smoking, high blood pressure and obesity may all contribute to the worsening of cardiac arrhythmias.
However, as we know, sustained lifestyle change is very difficult and many patients fail to improve their diet and exercise programs over the long term, meaning that their arrhythmias remain; as does the risk of heart attack and stroke. As a result, many patients may benefit from medical therapy including antiarrhythmics and anticoagulants, the latter of which reduces the risk of stroke due to blood clots in the heart. Here again, however, approximately 50% of patients either see no benefit from medical management or have unacceptable side effects.
For this 50% that does not tolerate medication well, there are potentially curative options including cardiac catheter ablation and balloon cryoablation, these procedures are performed in specialized electrophysiology labs by experienced electrophysiologists such as Dr. Tordini. They offer exceptional safety and efficacy in treating, and ultimately eliminating, cardiac arrhythmias
Of course, arrhythmias are not limited to the upper chambers of the heart or Atria. Ventricular arrhythmias can also be treated using the methods above. However, some are decidedly life threatening including ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Therefore, for some patients with ventricular arrhythmias, immediate procedural care in the form of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator or ICD may be necessary.
Just as not all arrhythmias occur in the same place in the heart, not all arrhythmias involve a fast heartbeat. Bradycardia or a slow heartbeat also affects many people, especially those with a history of cardiovascular disease and those of advanced age. A pacemaker is often the definitive treatment for these patients. You can learn more about traditional pacemakers as well as more modern leadless pacemakers as options for to correct or manage a slow heartbeat.