Cardiac arrhythmias and hypnotic intervention: Advantages, disadvantages, precautions, and theoretical considerations.

Hypnotic intervention as an adjunctive therapeutic modality in medical patients has been well documented. Yet, it has not been used as frequently or productively as one would anticipate, perhaps this is due to a lack of reports or publications on this subject. We present the use of hypnotic intervention in a case of ventricular tachycardia that was uncontrolled on numerous drug regimens. The advantages in this patient from the hypnotic intervention included lessening ectopic beats, increased exercise tolerance, possibly breaking an arrhythmic pattern, and increasing the patient’s sense of participation in his treatment. Disadvantages were also present and most notably included a blocking of the patient’s awareness that an arrhythmia was present, which deviated from his previous pattern, and may have been facilitated by the dissociative strategy used. We suggest the need for well designed, prospective studies in this area to determine the overall usefulness of hypnosis in cardiac patients.

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