Our hearts require electrical impulses to beat, and they need to beat a certain number of times within each minute. When our hearts beat too slow, fast, or irregularly, an arrhythmia occurs. This may feel like your heart is racing or fluttering and may be of no consequence. However, it could be a sign of a serious or even life-threatening condition.
If you’re concerned about your heart’s rhythm, it’s best not to delay seeking proper medical attention from your trusted care provider or from specialists at Champion Heart & Vascular Center. We offer a range of heart care services and can find a treatment option that is right for you. Here’s how our services can help you live a healthier life.
Restoring a Normal Heartbeat
Before we get into how to treat different types of arrhythmia, let’s explore what constitutes a normal heartbeat. Our hearts consist of four chambers, two of which sit in the upper portions of our hearts, called atria, and two in the lower chambers, called ventricles. Our hearts’ rhythms are controlled by the sinus node within the right atrium, where it produces electrical impulses required to initiate heartbeats and triggers muscles’ contractions and pumps blood into the heart’s ventricles.
Impulses entering the AV node slow the electrical signal before it is sent to other ventricles, which enables them to fill with blood. Ventricles’ muscles contract when hit with electrical impulses, which allows blood to be pumped to the lungs or throughout the body. In properly functioning hearts, the normal resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
When heartbeats sit below or above this range or fluctuate wildly, an arrhythmia occurs. Doctors determine the type by location (whether generating within the atria or ventricles) but also by how slow or fast they happen.
Those with racing heartbeats that exceed 100 beats per minute have what is called Tachycardia. Conversely, those with heartbeats under 60 beats per minute have what is called Bradycardia.
Treatments for Both Types of Arrhythmia
When you come to see us, we can determine whether you’re dealing with Tachycardia or Bradycardia, though you may already have a good suspicion of which you have. We can confirm and provide a treatment option.
But what do your options look like when you choose Champion Heart & Vascular Center? Slow heartbeats are most often treated with a pacemaker, especially when the cause for a slowly beating heart cannot be pinpointed and corrected. These small devices are implanted near the collarbone, sending electrical pulses via blood vessels to the heart. This enables it to beat faster if the heart slows below 60 beats per minute.
Those with accelerated heartbeats have a number of options, some of which may be combined to deliver the best treatment method. Vagal maneuvers are often effective for slowing arrhythmia occurring in the lower half of the heart. These methods are as simple as holding your breath, dunking your face in ice water, or coughing. While often effective, they do not treat all types.
For many, medications may be prescribed or cardioversion may be conducted. This method delivers a shock to the heart via patches or paddles worn on the chest, affecting electrical impulses to restore it to a safe, normal rhythm. Your doctor may also recommend a catheter ablation, which delivers heat, extreme cold, or radiofrequency to ablate a tiny part of the heart to generate an electrical block to prevent the arrhythmia.
Trust Champion Heart & Vascular with Your Heart Health
Learning about and understanding your heart condition can be a scary, daunting time. But when you turn to Champion Heart & Vascular Center, we can help you pinpoint the issue and determine the most effective and safest course of action. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you return to a healthier, happier you.