Bradycardia refers to a slow heart rate defined as below 60 beats per minute.
Sick Sinus Syndrome is a condition when the heart’s natural pacemaker (sinus node) is diseased. This condition can lead to a slow heart rate or an inability to increase the heart rate with activity which may result in a number of symptoms including fatigue, chest pain, exercise intolerance, and fainting spells.
Heart Block. The heart’s natural pacemaker(sinus node) is located in the top right chamber of the heart (right atrium). In heart block, the signal originating in the sinus node is not transmitted properly to the bottom chambers of the heart. This results in a slow heart rate which may lead to symptoms of fatigue, fainting spells or even sudden cardiac death.
An electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) measures the electrical activity in the heart and is used to diagnose the above conditions. A Holter monitor, is a “wearable ECG” that can detect heart rhythm problems if they seem to “come-and-go”.
If these conditions are present but symptoms are not, no treatment is usually needed. However, if any of the above symptoms are present or the condition is severe, treatment may be necessary. In some patients medication changes may be sufficient. Others may benefit from receiving a permanent pacemaker. A pacemaker is a device that tracks the heart rate and stimulates or “paces” the heart when the rate becomes too slow. It is implanted under the skin usually in the chest just below the collarbone.
For more information, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.