Bradycardia

Also known as: arrhythmia, irregular heartbeat, slow heart rate

What is bradycardia?

Bradycardia is the medical term for a heart rate that is slower than normal. It’s a form of cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. In some people, it doesn’t cause any complications, but it can become problematic if your heart isn’t pumping enough blood out to the body as a result of the bradycardia.

What causes bradycardia?

A variety of different factors can lead to the development of bradycardia. Certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, an infection or a congenital heart defect can cause bradycardia. Damage to the heart tissue or complications from heart surgery can also cause it. Certain medications also lead to bradycardia as a side effect.

What are the symptoms of bradycardia?

Symptoms typically only occur with bradycardia when there’s not enough oxygen going out to the rest of the body. In these instances, it can result in fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion or fainting.

What are bradycardia care options?

In some cases, treating the disorder that is causing bradycardia or changing medications may help with the condition. Other people might need a pacemaker in order to regulate their heart rate and prevent the symptoms related to bradycardia.


Reviewed by: Anthony F. Rossi, MD

This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 11:25:05 AM

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Anthony Rossi, MD of Nicklaus Children's Hospital is the Director of Cardiac Critical Care with The Heart Program.