Rhythm of Life

We can feel rhythm in just about everything we do.  Driving on the freeway we feel the rhythm of the wheels and the road under our seat.  Sitting in a restaurant we feel the rhythm of people coming and going.  Standing on your porch outside late at night with your eyes closed you can feel and hear the rhythm of the night.  Walking on the beach or next to a river you can hear and feel the constant rhythm of the water.  All of these have a regular rhythm, a regular beat that continues to move.

You know when something changes, when the rhythm or the constant beat is interrupted somehow.  It is clear that if you are sitting in the back seat of the car with your eyes closed driving on the freeway; the car comes into a traffic jam and the rhythm of the drive is interrupted.  We do not always notice the rhythm when it is beating and flowing so smoothly; however, invariably we will become acutely aware of it when it became irregular.

Similarly, our heart has a rhythm that beats relatively constant from the moment life begins.  This rhythm provides a smooth circulation to our body which helps sustain life.  Our steady heart rhythm is interrupted when the electrical impulses that coordinate the rhythm is disrupted somehow, causing our heart to beat too slowly, too fast, or irregularly.   When our heart beats out of normal rhythm, we call it arrhythmic.

Quite often, heart arrhythmias are harmless.  Occasionally, people will have an irregular heartbeat that causes a bit of fluttering or temporary racing heartbeat.  On the other hand, arrhythmias have the potential of causing significant and life threating complications.   An irregular heartbeat is one of the conditions that predispose an individual to developing a blood clot which may get stuck in the legs, lungs, heart or brain.  As we know, blood clots may be life threatening. 

Some irregular heart rhythms can be managed by adopting a Heart Healthy Lifestyle, while other situations will definitely require medication management.  Quite often, a combination of the two will provide the best results; however, this is a decision made between you and your physician.

Anti-arrhythmic medications work by slowing the transmission of the chemicals the heart uses for electrical conduction of the heart rhythm.  This process prolongs the conduction time of the contraction in all areas of the heart which significantly decreases the chances for irregular heartbeats.  This category of medication helps maintain a regular and steady heartbeat.

Please be aware, each medication in this category comes with various Black Box Warnings that are important to understand before taking the medication.   One common warning is the following:

In the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial it was shown that patients who have had a heart attack within the last 2 years who were treated for a specific type of non-life-threatening arrhythmia did not benefit and may have been harmed by attempts to suppress the arrhythmia.  These patients showed an increased chance of death during treatment.   Please discuss the risks vs. benefits of this category of medications with your physician before beginning therapy.

Medication Specific Counseling SessionsTM  for the following anti-arrhythmic medications has been added at www.AudibleRx.com.   Please register to become a member, and then have full access to all of the available counseling sessions.

  • Amiodarone (Cordarone-TM, Pacerone-TM)
  • Disopyramide CR (Norpace CR-TM)
  • Dronedarone (Multaq-TM)
  • Flecanide (Tambacor-TM)
  • Propafenone (Rythmol-TM)
  • Propafenone (Rythmol SR-TM)

Please remember…These recordings are meant to supplement your knowledge and understanding of your medications and are not a replacement for counseling with your pharmacist or doctor. AudibleRxTM maintains no liability for your medication education, understanding or usage.  This information does not allow you to take a prescription medication that was not prescribed for you. Talk with your pharmacist or doctor if you have questions about your medication.


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