Anti-arrhythmic drugs and electrical cardioversion

There are a variety of drugs available to treat rhythm-disturbance problems of the heart. It may take a few trials of different therapies to find the right combination for you.

Anti-arrhythmic drugs are used to convert an arrhythmia to sinus rhythm (normal electrical activity) or to prevent an arrhythmia recurring following the restoration of normal rhythm. Some anti-arrhythmic drugs specifically have the effect of controlling the heart rate.

In patients with a persistent irregular arrhythmia, drug therapy alone may not be sufficient in controlling the heart rhythm. Electrical cardioversion is an important therapy that can be used to restore normal sinus rhythm. After the administration of a short-acting anaesthesia, an electrical impulse is delivered through the chest wall that synchronises the heart and allows normal rhythm to resume.

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