Introduction: Arrhythmia is abnormal rhythms of the heart. Arrhythmias cause the heart to pump blood less effectively. Most cardiac arrhythmias are temporary and benign. Most temporary and benign arrhythmias are those where your heart skips a beat or has an extra beat. The occasional skip or extra beat is often caused by strong emotions or exercise. Nonetheless, some arrhythmias may be life-threatening and require treatment. There are many types of arrhythmia. Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some are not. The outlook for a person who has an arrhythmia depends on the type and severity of the arrhythmia. Even serious arrhythmias often can be successfully treated. Most people who have arrhythmias are able to live normal, healthy lives.
Types of Arrhythmia:
Premature (Extra) Beats
Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia
AF is the most common type of serious arrhythmia. It's a very fast and irregular contraction of the atria.
Symptoms of Arrhythmia:
Arrhythmias may indicate a serious problem and can lead to heart disease, stroke or sudden cardiac death. An arrhythmia can be silent and not cause any symptoms. However, among people who experience symptoms, common complaints include:
Fast or slow heartbeat (palpitations)
Skipping beats - changes in the pattern of your heart’s rhythm
Shortness of breath
Causes of Arrhythmia:
An arrhythmia can occur if the electrical signals that control the heartbeat are delayed or blocked. This can happen if the special nerve cells that produce electrical signals don't work properly, or if electrical signals don't travel normally through the heart.
An arrhythmia also can occur if another part of the heart starts to produce electrical signals. This adds to the signals from the special nerve cells and disrupts the normal heartbeat.
Smoking, heavy alcohol use, use of certain drugs (such as cocaine or amphetamines), use of certain prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or too much caffeine or nicotine can lead to arrhythmias in some people.
Strong emotional stress or anger can make the heart work harder, raise blood pressure, and release stress hormones. In some people, these reactions can lead to arrhythmias.
A heart attack or an underlying condition that damages the heart's electrical system also can cause arrhythmias. Examples of such conditions include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, overactive or underactive thyroid gland (too much or too little thyroid hormone produced), and rheumatic heart disease.
Tests for Diagnosis of Arrhythmias:
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). A record of the electrical activity of the heart. Disks are placed on the chest and connected by wires to a recording machine. The heart's electrical signals cause a pen to draw lines across a strip of graph paper in the ECG machine. The doctor studies the shapes of these lines to check for any changes in the normal rhythm. The types of ECGs are:
Resting ECG. The patient lies down for a few minutes while a record is made. In this type of ECG, disks are attached to the patient's arms and legs as well as to the chest.
Exercise ECG (stress test). The patient exercises either on a treadmill machine or bicycle while connected to the ECG machine. This test tells whether exercise causes arrhythmias or makes them worse or whether there is evidence of inadequate blood flow to the heart muscle ("ischemia").
24-hour ECG (Holter) monitoring. The patient goes about his or her usual daily activities while wearing a small, portable tape recorder that connects to the disks on the patient's chest. Over time, this test shows changes in rhythm (or "ischemia") that may not be detected during a resting or exercise ECG.
Transtelephonic monitoring. The patient wears the tape recorder and disks over a period of a few days to several weeks. When the patient feels an arrhythmia, he or she telephones a monitoring station where the record is made. If access to a telephone is not possible, the patient has the option of activating the monitor's memory function. Later, when a telephone is accessible, the patient can transmit the recorded information from the memory to the monitoring station. Transtelephonic monitoring can reveal arrhythmias that occur only once every few days or weeks.
Electrophysiologic study (EPS). A test for arrhythmias that involves cardiac catheterization. Very thin, flexible tubes (catheters) are placed in a vein of an arm or leg and advanced to the right atrium and ventricle. This procedure allows doctors to find the site and type of arrhythmia and how it responds to treatment.
Catheter radiofrequency ablation:
For arrhythmias caused by abnormal heart tissue, catheter radiofrequency ablation (heat) can be used to destroy the abnormal tissue. Catheters (thin, flexible tubes) are threaded through the patient's blood vessels to reach the abnormal heart tissue. The cardiologist then uses a small cutter or radiofrequency energy to remove the abnormal tissue. The procedure does not require open chest surgery.
To correct atrial fibrillation, or reset the heart to its regular rhythm (sinus rhythm), physicians may perform a procedure called cardioversion, using either with drugs or electricity.
Cardioversion is not always effective. It may successfully restore regular heart rhythm in more than 95 percent of patients, but more than half of patients eventually go back into arrhythmia. In many instances, anti-arrhythmic medications are needed indefinitely.
Medicines (anti-arrhythmics) are used to stop the heart's quivering and restore normal sinus rhythm. The medications help maintain sinus rhythm for at least 1 year in 50 percent to 65 percent of people. However, they can cause side effects such as nausea and fatigue, as well as some long-term risks. In rare cases, the medications may adversely affect heart rhythm.
While under light anesthesia, a patient receives an electrical shock through paddles or patches on the chest. The shock stops the heart's electrical activity for a split second. When the heart's electrical activity resumes, the rhythm may be normal.
When other treatments such as cardioversion don’t work, surgery can remove or destroy heart tissue that is causing the arrhythmia. Surgery also may be required to treat underlying disease, such as coronary artery blockage.
Minimally Invasive Surgery:
Cardiac surgeons access the heart through small incisions in the right and left chest walls. By accessing the heart from the side of the chest, surgeons avoid having to split the breastbone (sternotomy).
Avoiding sternotomy reduces pain and recovery time for most patients, enabling them to resume normal daily activities sooner. Minimally invasive surgery also leaves smaller, less-noticeable scars than open heart surgery, has a lower risk of infection, and may involve less blood loss.
A pacemaker is a device that helps regulate the heartbeat. The device, smaller than a matchbox, is placed under the skin near the collarbone. A wire extends from the pacemaker to the heart. If a pacemaker detects an abnormally slow heart rate (bradycardia) or no heartbeat, it emits electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to speed up or resume beating.
A pacemaker is often implanted if medications to prevent arrhythmia or control the heart rate result in an excessively slow rate, and following AV node ablation.
Internal Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD):
For arrhythmias in which the heart beats too rapidly (tachycardia) or quivers (fibrillates) instead of contracting strongly, an internal cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can be surgically implanted. The ICD sends electronic signals to the heart whenever the heart rate reaches a specified limit or goes very high. These signals shock the heart into beating more slowly and pumping more effectively. An ICD is generally not used to treat atrial fibrillation.
Benefits of Arrhythmia Treatment:
There are many health benefits of Arrhythmia treatment. Patient will get rid of conditions like
Fast or slow heartbeat
Skipping beats - changes in the pattern of your heart’s rhythm
Shortness of breath
As an added advantage patient’s quality of life will improve.
Arrhythmia Treatment Outcome:
The outcome depends on several factors:
The kind of arrhythmia -- whether it is supraventricular tachycardia, or a more dangerous arrhythmia such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
The overall pumping ability of the heart (ejection fraction)
Whether you have heart disease (coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart disease) and how well it can be treated
Alternative to Arrhythmia Treatment:
Vagal maneuvers are alternative to arrhythmia treatment. These simple exercises sometimes can stop or slow down certain types of supraventricular arrhythmias. They do this by affecting the vagus nerve, which helps control the heart rate.
Some vagal maneuvers include:
Holding your breath and bearing down (Valsalva maneuver)
Immersing your face in ice-cold water
Putting your fingers on your eyelids and pressing down gently
Risk Factors for Arrhythmia:
Old age - the heart inevitably weakens as we get old and loses some of its flexibility - this affects the conduction of electrical impulses.
Inherited gene defects - people who are born with a heart abnormality have a higher risk of developing arrhythmia.
Obesity - obesity is linked to a huge number of health problems, including diabetes type 2, cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and arrhythmia.
Uncontrolled diabetes - a patient with uncontrolled diabetes is significantly more likely to develop arrhythmia compared to a patient who has his diabetes under control (receives proper treatment).
Obstructive sleep apnea - patients with obstructive sleep apnea may experience bradycardia or atrial fibrillation more commonly than other people.
Electrolyte imbalances - electrolytes are essential for the proper conduction of electricity between cells and through cells. If electrolyte levels are wrong - either too low or too high - the electrical impulses in the heart may be affected, resulting in arrhythmia.
Heavy and regular alcohol consumption - people who regularly consume large quantities of alcohol are much more likely to develop Arial fibrillation.
Too much caffeine - caffeine, and some other stimulants, may accelerate the heart rate and eventually cause arrhythmias.
Illegal drugs - amphetamines and cocaine can cause arrhythmias, especially ventricular fibrillation.
Arrhythmia Treatment in India:
India has become the healthcare hub for international patients as it provides with the latest in medical treatment facilities and best services making it easy and comfortable.
Indian medical institutes offer gamut of services ranging from general medicine & surgery for many diseases and complications.
Complete pre departure service including an itinerary, references and contact with past clients, contact with the selected surgeon, pre departure surgery advise and travel information
The best internationally accredited ISO hospitals in India using imported equipment.
Medical charges and hospitalization costs are very competitive compared to those in many developed countries. This and the favorable exchange rates make it very affordable.
Arrhythmia treatment in India is available in following cities;
Cost of Arrhythmia Treatment in India:
The cost of Arrhythmia treatment in India is much lower than that in any other developed country. International patients visit India for the Arrhythmia treatment as they get it done at low cost which is competitive and reasonable. The cost of Arrhythmia surgery in India is given below for comparison. One can use the internet to carry out a research, identify and locate a clinic to obtain cost effective quality treatment overseas. The following chart shows the cost difference between Arrhythmia Treatment in India and other countries.
Arrhythmia Treatment in India- Plan with Indian Healthguru Group:
Indian Healthguru Group offers best services for Arrhythmia Treatment in India to its international patients.
Indian Healthguru Group has an efficient back office support, with a group professional people in Healthcare management, Marketing and Administration.
We handle patients all over the globe & recommend them to the best medical establishment. We ensure in giving the best treatment without spending too much money. Benefits of working with us include zero waiting time, complete personal care and cost effective treatments.
We have our network Office worldwide, marketing and promoting our associated health care providers. We act as a facilitator between the patients and the hospitals, assisting them right form their arrival, treatment and departure.
In addition to medical services, it also provides complete transport, travel, accommodation and tourist assistance to the patient and his family.
For consultation, Patient just has to send a detailed query and one of the patient coordinators will assist him / her within 24 hours.
All the arrangement will be done as per the patient’s requirement and convenience.
Some of the common countries from which patients travel to India for surgery are:
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