Doctors Who Treat Arrhythmia
Treatment of your arrhythmia may involve
one or more doctors and specialists. If you also have heart disease, you may
need to see a doctor who specializes in heart disease. If your arrhythmia is
not a health concern, you may not require any specialists. The following are
some of the professionals that may be involved in the diagnosis and treatment
of your arrhythmia.
Primary Care Physician
An internist or general practitioner
may initially diagnose and treat your arrhythmia, coordinate care, and maintain
records for you. He or she may also refer you to any relevant specialists.
Your primary care doctor may refer
you to a cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment. A cardiologist is a
specialist who cares for people who have heart problems, including arrhythmias.
A cardiologist will likely conduct a variety of diagnostic tests and procedures
to determine if you have an arrhythmia, what part of your heart is affected,
and the severity of your condition.
Your primary care doctor or
cardiologist may refer you to an electrophysiologist. These doctors are
cardiologists who specialize in the care and treatment of arrhythmias. They may
prescribe a course of treatment and relay that information to your general
practitioner for your extended care, or they may serve as your primary doctor
when it comes to your arrhythmia.
When you make your
appointment, ask if there are any pre-appointment restrictions. For example,
you might be asked to restrict your diet if your doctor plans to draw blood for
When you visit your
doctor, it is important to come prepared with some basic information he or she
will need to make a proper diagnosis. Having this information written down will
save time and ensure that you don’t forget anything important.
Information to Bring
The following information will help your doctor make an accurate
description of your symptoms
often they happen
you are doing when they happen
long they last
list of medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter meds,
vitamins, and herbal supplements. If you use illicit or prescription drugs
recreationally, share this information with your doctor as well.
In addition, your
doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your family has any history of
heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, or thyroid
problems. He or she will also want to know if anyone in your family has had an
arrhythmia or died suddenly.
Questions to Ask
Having a list of
questions written down will help you get the most from your visit with your
doctor. The following are some questions you might want to ask. Any other
questions you have should be added to this list. Putting them in order starting
with the most important will be helpful if you run short on time.
- What is the likely cause of my symptoms?
- Do I have an arrhythmia?
- What else might be causing my symptoms?
- Will I need tests? If so, what kind?
- What is the best treatment?
- Should I change my diet?
- Should I exercise? How much?
- How often should I have checkups?
- What are the alternatives to the treatment
- What about my other health conditions?
- Do I need to restrict my activities,
drinking, smoking, etc.?
- Do I need to see a specialist?
Doctor Will Ask
doctor will want to know about habits such as smoking, drinking, or illegal
drugs. It is important that you answer honestly. Your doctor can only make an
accurate diagnosis and proper treatment recommendation if he or she has
complete and accurate information. Remember that whatever you tell your doctor
doctor will also want to know if you have experienced or are experiencing a
time of heavy mental or emotional stress, such as a loss of job, a death in the
family, or personal relationship issues. These can contribute to arrhythmia.
questions your doctor will ask include:
did your symptoms begin?
you have symptoms all the time or occasionally?
severe are your symptoms?
makes your symptoms better?
makes your symptoms worse?
list of information you have written down will help you answer these questions.
It is natural to worry
about an arrhythmia, but it can lead to stress and depression. This can make
your arrhythmia worse. It is a good idea to make time for fun and relaxation on
a regular basis. This may be hard to do at first, but as you begin to feel
better, it will become easier.
You might want to
consider joining a support group, either in your community or online. It is
sometimes helpful to speak with other people who are having similar experiences.
Having a plan in place
to deal with episodes of arrhythmia can put your mind at ease. Talk to your
- how and when to use vagal maneuvers
(actions that can help slow an episode of fast heart rate)
- when to call the doctor
- when to seek emergency care
Work with your doctor,
as well as with family and friends, to come up with treatments and plans that
help you live a normal life.