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Sick Sinus Syndrome

Also known as sinus node disease or sinus node dysfunction 

Sick sinus syndrome occurs when the sinus node – the heart’s natural pacemaker – sends improper pulses that either slow or quicken the heartbeat. A person with SSS may have a heart rhythm that is too slow (bradycardia), too fast (tachycardia), or one that alternates between the fast and slow (bradycardia-tachycardia).


Risk Factors

While the exact cause of SSS is unknown, some factors, however, often are associated with the condition, such as:

  • Age
  • Previous heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Medications to treat high blood pressure and other heart diseases
  • Hyperkalemia (too much potassium in the blood)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Heart surgery


Sick Sinus Syndrome can be hard to diagnose because symptoms are similar to other diseases. Tests that help determine the cause include:


Potential treatment options include:

The electrophysiologists UT Erlanger Cardiology are leaders - and international physician trainers - in the diagnosis and treatment of SSS and other heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). Contact us to learn more.

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