How do you treat a rapid heart rate?


Quick Answer

Treatment for tachycardia, or a rapid heart rate, is typically only considered if the tachycardia occurs frequently, as the American Heart Association explains. Immediate treatments for tachycardia that anyone can perform include pressing gently on the closed eyes and holding the nostrils closed while blowing out through the nose.

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Full Answer

Doctors try these types of simple physical actions to slow rapidly beating hearts before turning to medication or other treatments. Other physical maneuvers to treat tachycardia includes coughing and placing an ice pack on the face, as Mayo Clinic states.

If simple physical actions don't slow a rapidly beating heart, physicians may inject an anti-arrhythmic medicine to bring the heart under control, according to Mayo Clinic. Flecainide and propafenone are anti-arrhythmic drugs that have much the same effect. Further treatment can include providing an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm; this is typically only done in emergency situations when medications are not working.

Doctors recommend proactive steps on the parts of patients who may suffer from repeated attacks of tachycardia to prevent its recurrence. Patients who have experienced rapid heartbeat should abstain from tobacco and cut back on caffeine and alcohol, explains the American Heart Association. In addition, such patients are also advised to get more rest.

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