Overview on Arrhythmia Surgery
An arrhythmia is a problem of heart either with rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During the arrhythmia the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. When the heart beat is faster than the normal it is called tachycardia. A heart beat that is too slow is called bradycardia.
Most arrhythmia are harmless, but some can be serious or even life threatening. When the heart rate is too fast, too slow, or irregular the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to all the parts of the body. Lack of blood flow can damage the brain, heart and other organs.
Causes of arrhythmia
An arrhythmia occurs when the electric signal that controls the heartbeat are delayed or blocked. This can happen if the special nerve cells that produce electrical sinal do not work properly, or if electrical signal don’t travel normally through the heart.
- Heavy alcoholic use
- Use of certain kind of drugs
- Too much caffeine or nicotine
Above are some causes that can lead to arrhythmia in some people. A heart attack or underlying conditions that damage the heart’s electrical system can also cause arrhythmia. Some conditions are high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, overactive or underactive thyroid gland and rheumatic heart disease.
To diagnose a heart arrhythmia the doctor will review your symptoms and your medical history and conduct a physical examination. Also the doctor may ask about the conditions that may trigger this arrhythmia. Test may include:
- Holter monitor
- Event monitor
- Implantable loop recorder
Other test includes:
- Stress test
- Tilt table test
- Electrophysiological testing and mapping
Treating slow heartbeat: doctors often treat such problem with pacemaker because there aren’t any medications that can reliably speed up the heartbeat process. The pacemaker sends out electrical impulses that stimulate your heart to beat at the steady pace.
Treating fast heartbeats:
- Vagal maneuvers
- Catheter ablation
Surgical methods can also be recommended for the heart arrhythmia:
- Maze process: In this process surgeon makes a series of surgical incisions in the heart tissue in the upper half of heart to create a pattern or maze of scar tissue. This scar tissue doesn’t conduct electricity it interferes with stray electrical impulses that causes arrhythmia.
- Coronary bypass surgery : This surgery improves the blood flow to your heart.