Heart & Vascular County locations

Arrhythmia Treatment Options

Emory Heart & Vascular Center arrhythmia experts first determine the underlying cause of a heart rhythm problem and then work with patients to find the best appropriate treatment for the individual, taking into consideration:

  • The arrhythmia type and its symptoms
  • Any underlying diseases or conditions that contribute to heart rhythm disturbance
  • The patient's age, personal and family medical history

Lifestyle Changes

Treatment of arrhythmias may include lifestyle changes, such as reducing or eliminating caffeine and tobacco use, which can lessen the symptoms of some arrhythmias.

Medications to Treat Arrhythmias

Anti-arrhythmic-class medications can often control abnormal heart rhythms. Drugs also may be used to reduce the risk of blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Learn more about Drug Treatments for A-fib

Pacemakers

Pacemakers are devices that monitor and regulate the rhythm of the heart. Implanted beneath the skin, they transmit electrical impulses to stimulate the heart if it beats too slowly.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)

For patients at risk for potentially life threatening arrhythmias, implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) can be used to continuously monitor the heart rhythm. These implanted devices automatically function as pacemakers for too-slow heart rhythms and deliver life-saving shocks if they detect dangerously fast heart rhythms.

Cardiac Resynchronization Technology

Special types of pacemakers and ICDs are now FDA approved for certain patients with heart failure. Called Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy, the implanted device paces both the left and right ventricles of the heart simultaneously, resynchronizing muscle contractions and improving the efficiency of the weakened heart.

Ablation

Cardiac ablation is being used to cure many arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation in selected patients. In this procedure, one or more flexible, thin tubes are guided by X-rays into blood vessels and directed to the heart muscle. Then radiofrequency energy is delivered to destroy very tiny areas of tissue that give rise to abnormal electrical signals.

Learn more about Ablation for A-fib.

Surgery Treatment Options

Surgery is more commonly used to treat heart problems such as coronary artery disease and heart failure — and correcting these conditions may reduce the likelihood of arrhythmias. However, patients who have atrial fibrillation and are also undergoing heart surgery may have the option of having their arrhythmia treated surgically. Learn more.

Learn more about Surgical Options for A-fib.

Atrial Fibrillation