The doctor will choose a treatment based on the causes, symptoms, location and severity of the disease. Some types of arrhythmia may not require treatment. However, medical treatment is needed for certain types of arrhythmia as follows:
- Heart Rate Control Medications: Although the medications do not cure the problem, they can reduce episodes of arrhythmia and the severity of the symptoms. Some rhythm disorders respond well to medication.
- Pacemaker: In order to maintain the heart rate at a regular beat, a small device called a pacemaker is placed under the skin near the collarbone with a wire extending from the device to the heart. The pacemaker helps regulate and optimize heart-rate-related functions.
- Cardioversion: Cardioversion is used to slow down a rapid heartbeat. This is done externally in a monitored setting. A small electrical shock is delivered to the chest wall that synchronizes the heart rate in order to bring the heart back to a normal rhythm.
- Ablation Therapy: This procedure is used to eliminate the source of the irregular heartbeat and can permanently cure certain heart arrhythmias. Ablation therapy is usually combined with electrophysiology study. A catheter is threaded through to the area of the heart that is believed to be the source of the arrhythmia. High-frequency electrical energy is then delivered to eliminate the small area of tissue inside the heart that causes the abnormal heart rhythm.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator: This is a similar procedure to implanting a pacemaker. This device is recommended if the patient is at risk of developing a dangerously irregular heartbeat in the lower half of the heart (ventricular fibrillation). If the device detects a rhythm that is too slow, it will stimulate the heartbeat. In contrast, when the heart beats too fast, a series of small electrical impulses will be delivered to the heart muscle to slow it down and restore a normal heart rate.