What type of surgery for arrhythmias can be done?

Some people have abnormal "spots" in the heart that may be the cause of ventricular arrhythmias. Such patients can sometimes be treated by removing or destroying that area of the heart. This is a very specialized area of medicine requiring cardiologists and/or cardiac surgeons with special expertise.

What about pacemakers?

Regular pacemakers are not designed for the vast majority of cases of ventricular arrhythmias. Most pacemakers are designed to prevent the heart from going too slow. With ventricular arrhythmias, the problem is usually about going too fast.

However, there are situatiions where ventricular arrhythmias occur because the underlying rhythm is too slow. In this group, a pacemaker can be used.

What about other devices?

ICD’s (Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators) have taken on a more important role in the treatment of serious ventricular arrhythmias. These devices are similar to a pacemaker, but are designed to deliver a "shock" or electrical discharge in such a way to interrupt ventricular arrhythmias. Again, while not for everyone, and certainly not for people with occasional PVC’s, these devices have proved to be lifesavers in the treatment of some ventricular arrhythmias.

Dr T



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