Other names: antiarrhythmics
What are Antiarrhythmic agents?
Antiarrhythmic agents are a diverse group of medicines that are used in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rates or rhythms). Cardiac arrhythmias occur when there is a disturbance in the electrical conductivity of the heart. Causes are numerous and may include coronary artery disease, heart attacks, electrolyte disturbances, or infection. There are many different types of arrhythmia including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.
The Vaughan-Williams classification is a historic classification that groups antiarrhythmics into five main classes. However, there are several limitations with this system and some newer antiarrhythmics can be classified into more than one class. This is the reason some sources may classify some antiarrhythmic agents differently to other sources.