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Health Condition

Cardiac Arrhythmia

About This Condition

Cardiac arrhythmia is a term that denotes a disturbance of the heart rhythm.

Cardiac arrhythmias can range in severity from entirely benign to immediately life-threatening. If arrhythmia is suspected, a doctor should be consulted for confirmation. In addition, the use of natural substances for arrhythmia should always be supervised by a doctor.

Symptoms

Most arrhythmia does not result in symptoms, but people may experience anxiety, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, unusual awareness of the heartbeat, and sensations of fluttering or pounding in the chest.

Other Therapies

Medical conditions that may cause arrhythmia, such as anemia, fever, heart failure, or electrolyte imbalance, are treated accordingly. In some cases, a synchronized electrical shock (defibrillation) is applied to the heart either externally or internally (from a previously implanted device that automatically activates when a life-threatening arrhythmia is detected). When a normal rhythm cannot be established by these methods, a pacemaker (an electronic device that controls the rhythm of the heart) may be implanted surgically. A newer procedure called radiofrequency ablation may be used to destroy small areas of the heart responsible for the arrhythmia.

References

1. Bashir Y, Sneddon JF, Staunton A, et al. Effects of long-term oral magnesium chloride replacement in congestive heart failure secondary to coronary artery disease. Am J Cardiol 1993;72:1156-62.

2. Tsuji H, Venditti FJ, Evans JC, et al. The associations of levels of serum potassium and magnesium with ventricular premature complexes (the Framingham Heart Study). Am J Cardiol 1994;74:232-5.

3. Tzivoni D, Keren A. Suppression of ventricular arrhythmias by magnesium. Am J Cardiol 1990;65:1397-9 [review].

4. Brugada P. Magnesium: an antiarrhythmic drug, but only against very specific arrhythmias. Eur Heart J 2000;21:1116 [review].

5. Sellmayer A, Witzgall H, Lorenz RL, Weber PC. Effects of dietary fish oil on ventricular premature complexes. Am J Cardiol 1995;76:974-7.

6. Hardarson T, Kristinsson A, Skuladottir G, et al. Cod liver oil does not reduce ventricular extrasystoles after myocardial infarction. J Intern Med 1989;236:33-7.

7. Raitt MH, Connor WE, Morris C, et al. Fish oil supplementation and risk of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation in patients with implantable defibrillators. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2005;293:2884-91

8. Brouwer IA, Zock PL, Camm AJ, et al. Effect of fish oil on ventricular tachyarrhythmia and death in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators: the Study on Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Ventricular Arrhythmia (SOFA) randomized trial. JAMA2006;295:2613-9.

9. Lumme JA, Jounela AJ. The effect of potassium and potassium plus magnesium supplementation on ventricular extrasystoles in mild hypertensives treated with hydrochlorothiazide. Int J Cardiol 1989;25:93-8.

10. Tsuji H, Venditti FJ, Evans JC, et al. The associations of levels of serum potassium and magnesium with ventricular premature complexes (the Framingham Heart Study). Am J Cardiol 1994;74:232-5.

11. Spencer JC. Direct relationship between the body's copper/zinc ratio, ventricular premature beats and sudden cardiac death. Am J Clin Nutr 1979;32:1184-5 [letter].

12. Porter KG, McMaster D, Elmes ME, Love AH. Anaemia and low serum-copper during zinc therapy. Lancet 1977;2:774 [letter].

13. Xiaolin N, Zhenhua H, Xin M, et al. Clinical and experimental study of dl-tetrahydropalmatine effect in the treatment of supraventricular arrhythmia. J Xi'An Med Univ 1998;10:150-3.

14. Al Makdessi S, Sweidan H, Dietz K, Jacob R. Protective effect of Crataegus oxycantha against reperfusion arrhythmias after global no-flow ischemia in the rat heart. Basic Res Cardiol 1999;94:71-7.

15. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic, 1919, 217-20.

16. Lehr D. A possible beneficial effect of selenium administration in antiarrhythmic therapy. J Am Coll Nutr 1994;13:496-8.

17. Kessel L. Sick sinus syndrome cured by...vitamin D? Geriatrics 1990;45(8):83-5.

18. Rea WJ. Environmentally triggered cardiac disease. Ann Allergy 1978;40:243-51.

19. Donnerstein RL, Zhu D, Samson R, et al. Acute effects of caffeine ingestion on signal-averaged electrocardiograms. Am Heart J 1998;136:643-6.

20. Dobmeyer DJ, Stine RA, Leier CV, et al. The arrhythmogenic effects of caffeine in human beings. N Engl J Med 1983;308:814-6.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.