Talking to Your Doctor About Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
- Is this arrhythmia harmless, or is it a warning that a life-threatening event is pending?
- How did I develop this arrhythmia?
- How many people who have this type of arrhythmia die of sudden cardiac arrest?
- Is there anything I can do to make my heartbeat normal?
- How likely is it that this arrhythmia will lead to sudden death?
- How rapidly do we need to act to prevent sudden death?
- What tools should I have with me to prevent sudden death?
- What are my treatment options?
- Are there any alterative options?
- What are the possible side effects of each treatment?
- How long will treatment last?
- Will I have to take medication for the rest of my life?
- What activities are hazardous for me until this is under control?
- Are there any activities that I will never be able to do again?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help prevent the arrhythmia from recurring?
- Should I carry something with me so people know I have an arrhythmia?
- What chance is there that I can return to my former lifestyle after treatment?
- Do I need to prepare my estate and family for the possibility of my sudden death?
Heart-to-heart. Talking to your doctor. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/ConsumerHealthCare/Heart-to-heart-Talking-to-Your-Doctor%5FUCM%5F323844%5FArticle.jsp. Updated June 20, 2013. Accessed March 21, 2014.
Preparing for medical visits. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacRehab/Preparing-for-Medical-Visits%5FUCM%5F307053%5FArticle.jsp. Updated March 22, 2013. Accessed March 21, 2014.
Talking to your doctor. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://nih.gov/clearcommunication/talktoyourdoctor.htm. Accessed March 21, 2014.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed March 21, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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