Bradycardia is an abnormally slow heart rate. In adults, it is defined as a heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute. Different types of bradycardia are collectively referred to as bradyarrhythmias. They include:
Heartbeat: Anatomy of the Heart
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Bradycardia may be caused by:
Risk factors that increase your chance of getting bradycardia include:
Some types of bradycardia produce no symptoms. Others may cause noticeable symptoms, such as:
Serious forms of bradycardia, such as complete heart block, are medical emergencies. They can lead to loss of consciousness or sudden cardiac arrest .
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your heart will be examined with a stethoscope.
Treatment may not be required if you do not have cardiac symptoms and conditions. Your doctor may choose to monitor your heart rate and rhythm instead.
Treatment may include:
To help prevent bradycardia:
American Heart Association
Heart Rhythm Society
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Bradycardia. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/AboutArrhythmia/Bradycardia_UCM_302016_Article.jsp . Updated October 25, 2012. Accessed January 18, 2013.
Fleg J. Arrhythmias and conduction disturbances. In: Beers MH, Berkow R, eds. The Merck Manual of Geriatrics [online]. Merck & Co.; 2000:486.
Hurst's The Heart . 11th ed; 2004.
What is an arrhythmia? National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/arr/ . Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed January 18, 2013.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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