Heart health is one of the primary concerns of almost every person. Heart is the central device which keeps the body functions functioning and organs working. There are various types of heart and cardiovascular conditions that arise because of dysfunctions throughout the body and in the central nervous system. But unfortunately, some heart conditions do not show symptoms and they keep on building up until some complication such as heart attack occurs. Heart Rhythm disorder is also one such condition that could cause the heart to beat in an abnormal manner. Treating this condition is of primary objective to avoid health complications.
Heart Rhythm Disorder
Heart rhythm disorders refer to abnormal beating of heart or at irregular intervals. We spoke to cardiologist, Dr. R.P Joshi from Vozart Healthcare Hospital, Bangalore to know about treatment of this disorder in detail. He told us the treatment of heart rhythm disorder depends on the condition it is facing. Treatment differs in cases where heart beat is too slow, too fast or irregular. This condition is also called as arrhythmia.
Valves present inside the heart work in a complex manner along with nodes and chambers in which they are divided. These valves, nodes and chamber work together control how the blood is pumped in the body and if the functions are compromised in any manner. In case it is disrupted, damaged or creating dysfunction, the pattern of heart beat changes.
Treatment Options for Heart Rhythm Disorder
Heart arrhythmias or heart rhythm disorder depends on whether you have a fast heart beat or slow. In fact according to Dr. R.P Joshi, treatment is not necessarily needed because the rhythm disorder is very minor and there is no serious risk to the person because of this disorder. This can be determined by symptoms of heart rhythm disorder. If there are symptoms that reveal about this condition, then you must get it treated. Here are some options told by doctor-
1. With Help of Medication
Medicines can be used to control heart arrhythmias and prevent it from getting through potential complications. Most of the people with arrhythmia having minor disorders can be treated with the help of medication. Medicines are useful in tachycardia and atrial fibrillation. Blood thinners are often prescribed in this condition that helps to prevent blood clots from happening in the internal tissues.
There are 2 therapies that can treat rhythm disorders by reducing the symptoms and irregular heartbeat.
- Vagal maneuvers
This therapy is used to treat people having fast heart beat than usual. It happens because of supraventricular tachycardia. It affects your nervous system to control the heart beat of the person to slow down from the fast pace it was operating at. In majority of condition, arrhythmia can be controlled by this therapy by holding your breath. During this phase, you strain on the face and putting your face in ice water. This needs to be done in therapist of doctor’s presence to avoid problems. It only works for rhythm disorders containing fast heart beat.
In conditions that cause atrial fibrillation to occur, this therapy is used to treat the patient. It is given along the medicines for heart rhythm disorder and can be effective against complications related to heart disorders. Cardioversion is a procedure in which a shock is given to the heart through paddles and patches. This treatment method is used to affect the electrical impulse flowing in the heart and helps to restore normal rhythm.
3. Surgical Procedure
Surgery is considered as last option for treating any disease. It is also true for heart rhythm disorder, however not all surgery in this process are dangerous. Some surgeries are done to help heart provide better response and correct the heartbeat. Other procedures are done in order to change the heart functioning or even heart implant.
1. Catheter Ablation- In this procedure, the doctor operating the person threads one or more catheters through the blood vessels to the heart. As a result of this surgery, the electrodes at the tips of catheter use heat or cold energy to create tiny scars in your heart. These scars in the heart help block the abnormal heart beat from letting the electrical signals out and help to correct the heart to normal.
2. Pacemaker- In case of slow heartbeats, the pacemaker helps to speed up the pumping of the heart. This is done in condition where the heart beat cannot be corrected because there is no cause which is visible to be treated. In that condition, pacemaker is implanted in the heart of the person that is connected with one or more electrode tipped wires that run from the pacemaker to blood vessels. Pacemaker helps to send electrical impulse to help the heart beat at steady rate when it slows down terribly.
3. Maze procedure- It is a surgical procedure in which a surgeon makes number of incision in a series. It is made on the heart tissue in the upper half of the heart which helps to build a scar like shape in the atria. This does not let the tissue conduct electricity, as a result of which it interferes with stray electrical impulse. This is helpful in treating some of the arrhythmia conditions. This procedure is available for only those who cannot get better from any other method or during open heart surgery.
4. Coronary Bypass Surgery- Bypass surgery is done in severe cases of heart rhythm disorder. This surgery treats the coronary artery disease and heart arrhythmia in just one surgery. It has its risk but it helps to correct the blood flow to the heart and then to the organs.
5. Implantable Cardioverter- defibrillation- The procedure is also known as ICD surgery, which is done on patients with increased risk of cardiovascular problems in lower heart chambers. Patients who are develop very high rate of heartbeat needs to go through this surgical procedure. In cases, where you have sudden heart attack or severe cardiac condition, doctor recommends this surgery to be performed.
ICD is a battery powered unit that is implanted under the skin just like pacemaker. One of more electrode tipped wires from ICD goes through your veins to monitor your heart rhythms continuously. If the device detects any unusual heart rhythm, it sends low or high energy shock to the heart in order to correct the heart rhythm.
Picture Credits- shutterstock.com, cdc.gov.in