At Inventional Cardiac Consultants patient education is very important to us. It allows our health professionals and others impart information to our patients and their caregivers that will alter their health behaviors or improve their health status.

Bradycardia

Bradycardia = too slow

A heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute (BPM) in adults is called bradycardia. What's too slow for you may depend on your age and physical condition.

Physically active adults (and athletes) often have a resting heart rate slower than 60 BPM but it doesn't cause problems and is normal for them.

Your heart rate may fall below 60 BPM during deep sleep.

Elderly people are more prone to problems with a slow heart rate.

Causes of bradycardia:

  • Problems with the sinoatrial (SA) node, sometimes called the heart's natural pacemaker
  • Problems in the conduction pathways of the heart (electrical impulses are not conducted from the atria to the ventricles)
  • Metabolic problems such as hypothyroidism (people with low thyroid hormone)
  • Damage to the heart from heart attack or heart disease (myocardial infarction or MI)

A heart rhythm that's too slow can cause insufficient blood flow to the brain with symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue or feeling tired or weak
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting or near-fainting spells
  • Some people may feel short of breathe
  • Feeling like it's hard to exercise
  • In extreme cases, cardiac arrest may occur

Severe, prolonged untreated bradycardia can cause:

  • Heart Failure
  • Syncope (loss of consciousness; fainting)
  • Angina pectoris (chest pain)
  • Low blood pressure or hypotension
  • High blood pressure or hypertension