Antiarrhythmic Therapies

         Basic Facts

  • Arrhythmias are caused by problems with the heart’s electrical system that alter the formation of the electrical impulse that initiates a heartbeat or disrupt the pattern of conduction that distributes the impulse through the heart.
  • Arrhythmia treatment is designed to suppress arrhythmias by treating the underlying cause, preventing contributing conditions, and managing symptoms.
  • Common medications used include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, digitalis, and a category of drugs referred to as “antiarrhythmic agents.”
An arrhythmia is a change in the heart’s normal rate or rhythm. Arrhythmias are classified by their location in the heart and by their speed or rhythm. An atrial or supraventricular arrhythmia is a rhythm abnormality that occurs in one of the two upper chambers of the heart, the left or right atrium. 

Ventricular arrhythmias originate in the ventricles and can interfere with the heart’s ability to pump blood to the body. They are potentially dangerous arrhythmias but, in some circumstances, especially in the absence of structural heart disease, they can be benign.

When an arrhythmia occurs repeatedly over time or causes symptoms such as palpitations, lightheadedness, fainting (syncope), shortness of breath, or chest pain, it may require treatment.

Antiarrhythmic Therapies FAQ