What Are Some Treatments for a Rapid Heartbeat?


Quick Answer

Some treatments for rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia, are vagal manuevers such as bearing down as if having a bowel movement, placing an ice pack on the face, or coughing, says Mayo Clinic. Other treatments for rapid heartbeat are medications.

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Full Answer

Medications for tachycardia include anti-arrhythmics such as propafenone or flecainide, says Mayo Clinic. An anti-arrhythmic medication is also administered by injection, but this needs to be done at the hospital. Another type of treatment is cardioversion, which is usually an emergency procedure. Paddles or patches are attached to the patient's chest, and a current is administered. This alters the heart's electrical signals and restores a normal heartbeat.

A medical professional can use other techniques to either prevent or control bouts of rapid heartbeat, says Mayo Clinic. One way is through catheter ablation. This is used when the tachycardia is caused by an extra electrical pathway. A catheter is inserted into the patient's groin, neck or arm and is carefully threaded through his blood vessels to his heart. The electrodes at the end of the catheter destroy the pathway through heat, great cold or radio waves.

The doctor may also prescribe calcium channel blockers such as verapamil along with the anti-arrhythmic medications to control a fast heart rate. A pacemaker can also be implanted to control tachycardia, as can an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. Surgery is also an option.

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