Cardiac Arrhythmias and Exercise.
Cardiac arrhythmias or dysrhythmia can disrupt an exercise
and fitness regime. It occurs where there is unusual electrical
activity in the heart. This can result in unusual sensations
such as irregular beats or palpitations. Some cardiac arrhythmias
can cause mild discomfort, while others can be life threatening.
In some cases cardiac arrhythmia can cause the heart to beat
so slowly or irregularly that there is a poor supply of blood
to vital organs. In this case, fainting may occur. Injury may occur when the person falls, so if someone is showing signs of fainting, they should be guided to a sitting or laying position carefully.
It is important
that when someone feels light headed or faint during exercise,
abnormality in their heart performance is considered as an
option for investigation.
Treatments for Cardiac Arrhythmias and Their Effect on Ability
One of the main tools in treating cardiac arrhythmia is the use
of antiarrhythmic drugs that control the movement of sodium, potassium
and calcium in and out of cells, and controls electrical activity
in the cardiac cells (Eckart et al. 2008).
Anticoagulants such as Warfarin, Asprin or Plavix (Clopidogrol)
can be prescribed to prevent possible embolism or Deep Vein Thrombosis
Plavix and Asprin are antiplatelet drugs, and are used to reduce
platelet aggregation and the risk of thrombosis. The use of anticoagulant
and antiplatelet drugs can result in bleeding into soft tissue,
or bruising, and exercise which may result in trauma, such as contact
sports, should be avoided.
Digoxin could be used to strengthen, slow and stabilise the heart
Cardioversion, or D C Conversion can be used to revert the heartbeat
to its normal sinus rhythm. A pacemaker could also possibly be inserted
to regulate the heartbeat.
Research has shown that patients who have arrythmias on exercise
have a slightly higher chance of death occurring (Eckart et al.
2008). Flecainide can be used to prevent exercise induced arrhythmia
Obel and Davidson (2005) found that de-training for a period may
be useful in long term correction of arrythmia.
References for Cardiac Arrhythmia
Type of Exercise-Induced Arrhythmia on Exercise Test and Risk for
R.E. Eckart, M.E. Field, T.W. Hruczkowski, D.E. Forman, S. Dorbala,
M.F. Di Carli, C.E. Albert, W.H. Maisel, L.M. Epstein, and W.G.
7 October 2008 | Volume 149 Issue 7 | Page I-22
Drug to prevent exercise-induced arrhythmias identified
Nature Medicine. (ANI) 2008
Arrhythmias in an athlete: the effect of de-training
O A Obel and C Davidson
Postgraduate Medical Journal 2005;81:62-64