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Don’t Ignore the Signs Of Bradycardia (Slow Heart Beat)

Why is it essential for your patient to know about what is bradycardia? Read Below to understand

Bradycardia is nothing but a resting heart rate of fewer than 60 beats per minute. Below are the signs of this heart disease.

Heart rate is normal when it is 60 to 100 beats per minute at rest. Bradycardia is considered to occur when the resting heart rate is less than 60 per min. It can be due to several other reasons as below:

Complete Heart Block

It is a condition when the electrical impulse does not pass down from the heart’s upper chamber to the lower chamber of the heart. In this case, the lower chamber activity entirely depends on its own escape beat, usually too low, 30 to 40 per minute. This is commonly due to age-related degeneration of the AV node by which the impulse passes from the atria to the ventricle.

This usually happens in the geriatrics age group (above the age of 70) and rarely among the younger lot. Congenital complete heart block is when the above said situation persists from birth. Other conditions that lead to complete heart block are myocarditis, ischemic heart disease, post valve replacement surgery due to AV node injury, or drug-induced, etc.

High-Grade Atrioventricular Block

In this conditioned impulse from the upper chamber passes to the lower chamber. It sometimes might pass down normally and at times gets blocked, giving rise to a low ventricular rate. This occurs commonly due to age-related degeneration of the AV node.

Sinus Bradycardia

In this condition, the sinus node, a region in the right upper chamber where the impulse originates, is weak, leading to slower impulse generation of less than 60 per min. This is called sick sinus syndrome when the slow impulse generation is not due to any secondary factor. The secondary factors which can lower the sinus rate could be drug-induced sinus bradycardia, myocarditis, hypothyroidism, electrolyte imbalance, increased intracranial pressure, etc.

Low Heart Rate Symptoms 

There are multiple symptoms due to a low heart rate.

Syncope:  Transient loss of consciousness leading to falling, which is referred to as syncope.

  1. Lightheadedness, giddiness, transient blackout: These are some common symptoms that patients can manifest due to low heart rate.

  2. Tiredness: Due to low heart rate, the patient sometimes feels tired even due to minimal work.

Treating Low Heart Rate

If bradycardia is because of any secondary cause, then the correction of the underlying cause would restore to regular heart rate. In some instances, medicines like atropine are administered intravenously to acutely increase heart rate if sinus bradycardia is considered an emergency measure.

If it is age-related degeneration of the sinus or AV node, then pacemaker implantation is appropriate. A pacemaker is a small device implanted beneath the skin and fat tissue beneath the collar bone.

1 or 2 leads are passed via a vein to the right upper and lower chambers and fixed to the inner layer of the heart muscle (myocardium). Now, the leads are then connected to the pacemaker device. These tiny devices could sense the electrical activity. As long as it senses the heart’s electrical impulse, it remains in standby mode. If it does not sense, it generates an electrical impulse artificially to stimulate the heart muscle, thereby maintaining a regular heart rate.

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