Multifocal atrial tachycardia (MAT) is one of many types of arrhythmias, one that originates from the heart’s atrium. It presents with an elevated heart rate – typically between 100 and 130 beats per minute – and other symptoms may be present.
MAT can cause circulation problems, as the heart’s ability to pump blood is reduced due to poorly metered heart contractions.
In Chinese medicine, treatment is focused on improving circulation and supporting blood health. One way practitioners do this is with beneficial herbs like Dan Shen and Mu Dan Pi.
What Are the Signs and Causes of Multifocal Atrial Tachycardia?
The atria are the heart’s upper chambers, and in the right atrium sits the sinoatrial node (SA node). This node is also termed the “natural pacemaker” because its job is to initiate the electrical impulse that contracts the heart – thereby pumping blood. This impulse travels down the atria into the ventricles, resulting in a controlled impulse that looks ideal on an EKG (electrocardiogram).
In people with MAT, though, this electrical impulse is not neatly controlled by the SA node. Instead, it originates throughout the atria, causing a chaotic mess of misfirings that contract the heart rapidly. The patient’s pulse will be elevated, but pumping efficiency will drop as the heart cannot contract fully during beats.
In addition to a rapid heart rate, MAT may present with the following symptoms:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and difficulty breathing may also occur when lying down
How Can Chinese Herbs like Dan Shen and Mu Dan Pi Help with Multifocal Atrial Tachycardia?
From a Chinese medicine perspective, heart arrhythmias are often caused by problems with the blood – such as excessive heat or stasis (reduced movement in the blood). The goal for practitioners is to resolve these issues, and Chinese herbs are a useful tool in this regard.
Two herbs – Dan Shen and Mu Dan Pi – are common choices for MAT. Both target the heart and pericardium, and both address the heat and stasis often found in MAT patients. Both herbs are cool and clear heat from the blood, and both also “invigorate” the blood (improve flow). Together, these herbs can help steady circulation and support better heart health.