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Arrhythmia management for the primary care clinician

Samuel Lévy, MD
Brian Olshansky, MD
Section Editor
Leonard I Ganz, MD, FHRS, FACC
Deputy Editor
Brian C Downey, MD, FACC


Clinicians in many disciplines commonly face the problem of evaluating and treating patients with cardiac arrhythmias (table 1). Carefully performed randomized trials, technological advances, and better understanding of arrhythmia mechanisms using intracardiac recordings and programmed electrical stimulation and mapping techniques have resulted in improved approaches to rhythm disturbances. Basic evaluation and management principles are key to the initial approach to the patient with an arrhythmia.

There are three reasons to evaluate and treat arrhythmias:

Eliminate symptoms and improve abnormal hemodynamics which can result from arrhythmias.

Prevent imminent death and hemodynamic compromise due to a life-threatening arrhythmia.

Reduce possible risks other than the direct effects of the arrhythmia (eg, reduce stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation).

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Apr 17, 2017.
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