Bradycardia is a slower than normal heart rate. The hearts of adults at rest usually beat between 60 and 100 times a minute. If you have bradycardia, your heart beats fewer than 60 times a minute. If you have bradycardia, your brain and other organs might not get enough oxygen, possibly causing these symptoms: Near-fainting or fainting (syncope), Dizziness or lightheadedness, Fatigue, Shortness of breath, Chest pains, Confusion or memory problems, Easily tiring during physical activity.
The most effective way to prevent bradycardia is to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. If you already have heart disease, monitor it and follow your treatment plan to lower your risk of bradycardia. A number of conditions can cause signs and symptoms of bradycardia. It’s important to get a prompt, accurate diagnosis and appropriate care. An implanted pacemaker can correct bradycardia and help your heart maintain an appropriate rate. Bradycardia often starts in the sinus node. A slow heart rate might occur because the sinus node discharges electrical impulses slower than is normal, pauses or fails to discharge at a regular rate, discharges an electrical impulse that’s blocked before causing the atria to contract. In some people, the sinus node problems result in alternating slow and fast heart rates (tachycardia-bradycardia or tachy-brady syndrome). If bradycardia causes symptoms, possible complications can include: frequent fainting spells, inability of the heart to pump enough blood (heart failure), sudden cardiac arrest or sudden death. A key risk factor for bradycardia is age. Heart problems, which are often associated with bradycardia, are more common in older adults.