Heart Rhythm Treatments

Patients with heart arrhythmia have an irregular heartbeat. The irregular heartbeat may include tachycardia (fast heartbeat) and bradycardia (slow heartbeat). Types of heart rhythm diseases include atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, supraventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation.

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  • Electrophysiology (EP) Study: Several studies are performed to diagnose heart arrhythmias. Any abnormality in the electrical activity of the heart is detected by electrocardiogram. The duration and timing of the electrical impulse in each heartbeat are calculated with the ECG. Echocardiogram is a procedure that uses sound waves to provide detailed information about the movement, size, and structure of the heart. The Holter monitor determines routine health status. If the patients have infrequent symptoms, the surgeon places a loop recorder in the chest to identify abnormalities in the heart rhythm. The other tests performed to diagnose arrhythmia are the tilt table test, stress test, and electrophysiology study. During the EP study, the surgeon guides a catheter with electrodes at the tip to various areas of the heart, mapping electrical impulses throughout the heart. The doctor may also locate the source of the arrhythmia by stimulating the heart with electrodes.
  • Cardioversion: This procedure is performed to manage atrial fibrillation. The cardiologists deliver the shock to the heart through patches or paddles on the chest. It results in restoring the normal rhythm.
  • Vagal Maneuvers: Patients with supraventricular tachycardia have a fast heartbeat. Vagal maneuvers may be done to control such a fast heartbeat. During vagal maneuvers, the nerve controlling the heartbeat is affected.
  • Pacemaker: No medication effectively increases the heartbeat. In such cases, the cardiologists place a pacemaker that generates the impulse and increases the heart rate.
  • Catheter Ablation: During this procedure, a tiny scar is formed to restore normal heart rhythm by blocking the abnormal electrical impulses. The tiny scars are created by the heat or cold energy generated by the electrodes present on the tip of the catheter.


Heart rhythm treatments, also known as cardiac arrhythmia treatments, are procedures or therapies designed to correct abnormal electrical signals in the heart and restore a normal heartbeat.

You may require a heart rhythm treatment if you experience symptoms of an irregular heartbeat, such as palpitations, dizziness, fainting, or shortness of breath. These treatments help manage and prevent potential complications associated with abnormal heart rhythms.

Common types of heart rhythm treatments include medication therapy, lifestyle modifications (e.g., managing stress and avoiding triggers), catheter ablation (using radiofrequency energy to destroy faulty electrical pathways), implantable devices like pacemakers or defibrillators, and surgical interventions.

Determining the most appropriate treatment depends on various factors including your specific condition, medical history, severity of symptoms, and response to previous interventions. A cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology will evaluate your case thoroughly before recommending the most suitable approach.

Heart rhythm treatments have been proven to be generally safe and effective; however, every procedure carries some risks that will be explained by your healthcare provider beforehand.

The need for anesthesia varies depending on the type of procedure being performed. Some less invasive procedures may only require local anesthesia while others may necessitate general anesthesia to ensure patient comfort throughout the process.

Recovery time can vary based on the complexity of the procedure performed and individual factors such as overall health and age. Some patients may resume normal activities within a few days, while others might require a longer recovery period. Your doctor will provide specific guidelines and monitor your progress closely.

Depending on your condition, ongoing treatment may be necessary to manage heart rhythm abnormalities effectively. This could involve medication adjustments, regular check-ups with your cardiologist, or lifestyle modifications to maintain a healthy heart rhythm.

Preparation instructions vary depending on the type of procedure being performed but may include fasting before surgery or avoiding specific medications beforehand. Your healthcare team will provide detailed pre-procedure instructions tailored to your situation.