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Bradycardia

Bradycardia is an arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder) characterized by a slow heartbeat. For most people, a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats a minute is normal. The exceptions are young people and athletes who naturally have a lower heart rate due to their age and conditioning. But for many people, a heart rate below 60 beats per minute can be a sign that the heart’s natural pacemaker isn’t working properly – or electrical pathways in the heart are being disrupted.

Symptoms

  • Slow or irregular heartbeat when your pulse is taken
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Loss of breath, feeling winded
  • Tiredness
  • Chest pain or palpitations
  • Confusion or trouble concentrating
  • Blood pressure drop

Causes

  • Changes in the heart due to aging
  • Heart disease
  • Heart infections such as endocarditis and myocarditis.
  • Low thyroid level (hypothyroidism)
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Heart and hypertension medications (beta-blockers, antiarrhythmics, and digoxin)

Diagnosis

  • Physical exam
  • Medical history
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). 
  • Holter monitor - a lightweight, wearable device that records your heart rhythm while you go about your daily routine.

Treatment

  • Using a pacemaker if there is damage to hearts electrical system. 
  • Treating underlying conditions if you have hypothyroidism or electrolyte imbalance
  • Adjusting or prescribing a different medication if medicine is causing your heart to beat slowly

 

Contact us to learn more about our Electrophysiology team that provides patient treatment and physician training for bradycardia and a range of heart rhythm disorders.

UT Erlanger Cardiology
Erlanger Medical Mall
979 East 3rd Street
Suite C-520
Chattanooga, TN 37403
423-778-5661