Medicines for rhythm problems

There are lots of medicines out there for heart rhythm issues. The first line that are beta blockers (eg bisoprolol) or calcium channel antagonists (eg diltiazem).  These generally slow the heart and can reduce extra beats, but aren’t very good at keeping you in a normal rhythm. Anti-arrhythmic drugs can keep you in a normalContinue reading “Medicines for rhythm problems”

Ablation – for heart rhythm

Ablation really just means the destruction of cells.  When applied to heart rhythm problems it means we can treat heart cells that are causing trouble. It is done by using one of 2 technologies – either microwave energy to heat cells, or liquid nitrous oxide to freeze cells.  These cause the proteins in the cellsContinue reading “Ablation – for heart rhythm”

Palpitations – should I be worried

Palpitations are one of the commonest things that people come and see me about. A palpitation is being aware of your heartbeat. It doesn’t have to mean that anything is wrong and most people are aware of their heartbeat at some point or other, even if it is just with exercise or if lying inContinue reading “Palpitations – should I be worried”

Atrial Fibrillation – rhythm control, but how?

So maybe we’ve done rate control and you’re still not ok.  Or perhaps the atrial fibrillation is at the stage where it comes and goes.  Maybe we should try to get and keep you in a normal rhythm. There are a few strategies to do this. The simplest is a DC cardioversion.  This uses anContinue reading “Atrial Fibrillation – rhythm control, but how?”

Atrial fibrillation – rate or rhythm control?

So if you have atrial fibrillation what’s the first thing that needs to be sorted? In the absence of medicines or heart disease the heart races at over 150 beats per minute. This can feel very uncomfortable – a sensation the heart is racing combined with breathlessness and fatigue. If there are other heart problemsContinue reading “Atrial fibrillation – rate or rhythm control?”

Fitbit – curse or cure?

I’ve seen a few patient now because they’ve been worried about their Fitbit heart rate reports. The Fitbit is an amazing bit of kit that can constantly monitor your heart rate. It’s worn on the wrist and is a step up from the older chest strap monitors that are widely used in sport, mainly becauseContinue reading “Fitbit – curse or cure?”