The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of bradycardia. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What causes bradycardia?
Bradycardia involves a disruption of the electrical signals that signal the various chambers of the heart to beat in rhythm. This can be a result of heart disease and other heart problems, including congenital (from birth) heart defects or abnormal heart valves, damage due to heart attacks, or complications following heart surgery. However, other problems can also disrupt the electrical impulses, including certain medications, electrolyte imbalances, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, viral infections, inflammatory diseases such as rheumatic fever or lupus, or what is known as “sick sinus syndrome,” in which the heart’s own pacemaker begins to function abnormally.
Older people and individuals with a personal or family history of heart problems are at greater risk for experiencing bradycardia than others.
What are the symptoms of bradycardia?
Symptoms of bradycardia vary from person to person, but often include a feeling of weakness or tiredness, dizziness, confusion, or fainting spells.
How is bradycardia diagnosed?
Your Hurley cardiologist will focus on determining the underlying cause of your bradycardia. Your physician will likely conduct a number of tests, including echocardiograms, electrocardiograms (EKG or ECG), and cardiac catheterization, among others. You may also be asked to wear monitors that can track your heartbeat and blood pressure for up to 24 hours while you are at home.
How is bradycardia treated?
Treatment for bradycardia will depend upon the underlying condition that is causing your heart to beat slowly, as well as the specific symptoms you are experiencing. Minimally invasive techniques often include the use of pacemakers, which can regulate the heartbeat. Your Hurley cardiologist will review treatment options with you so that, together, you can determine the best course of action.