The proper diagnosis, since many pharmacological interventions are

The term ‘arrhythmia’ refers to
any change from the normal sequence of electrical impulses of heart. The
electrical impulses may happen too fast, too slowly or erratically. A heartbeat
too fast is called tachycardia and a heartbeat too slow is called
bradycardia.  The four main types of
arrhythmias are premature (extra) beats, supraventricular arrhythmias,
ventricular arrhythmias and bradyarrythmias 1. The types of
arrhythmias and their mechanisms is mentioned in Table 1.1 2 .

                         Table 1.1

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Common mechanism

Premature atrial, nodal or ventricular depolarisations


Atrial fibrillation

Disorganised functional re-entry

Atrial flutter

Stable re-entrant circuit in the right atrium

Atrial tachycardia

Enhanced automaticity, DAD-related automaticity,
or re-entry in atrium

AV nodal re-entrant tachycardia (PSVT)

Re-entrant circuit within or near AV node

Ventricular tachycardia

Re-entry near the rim of the healed MI or DADs
triggered by increased sympathetic tone.

Ventricular fibrillation

Disorganised re-entry


 The therapy of arrhythmia begins with proper
diagnosis, since many pharmacological interventions are themselves arryhthmogenic
3. Despite the emergence of several forms of nonpharmacological
therapy for cardiac arrhythmias, antiarrhythmic drugs play an important role in
its management 4. Antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) suppress cardiac
arrhythmias through their effects on various ion channels and receptors 5.
AADs have been classified by Vaughan Williams and Singh based on the primary
electrophysiological action of the drug that may severe to indicate the types
of clinical effects and therapeutic utility. The classes of drugs with their
action is given in Table 1.2 6 .

                      Table 1.2                                                                                                                                                            




Membrane stabilising agents
(Na+ channel blockers)


Antiadrenergic agents


Agents widening AP


Calcium channel blockers


The benefit of antiarrhythmic
therapy is reduction of arrhythmia related symptoms and reduction in long-term
mortality in asymptomatic patients 7. But ADA carries with it a
number of risks like proarrhythmias and systemic toxicity. Aggravation of
arrhythmias is a common complication of of antiarrhtymatic drugs therapy.
Patients with a history of congestive heart failure or any heart disease are at
a greater risk and AADs should be used cautiously in them 8.

Therefore the goals of
pharmacologic therapy of cardiac arrhythmia are to provide the maximum benefit
in terms of arrhythmia suppression while maintaining patient’s safety 4.
To accomplish these goals, a deliberate treatment strategy guided by the
morphological criteria of the arrhythmia modified by the rate and duration of
complexes, noting symptoms and adhering to the guidelines of AHA/ACC 2017 for
the management of arrhythmias is desirable9.


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