Bradycardia slow heartbeat heart failure guidebook

Bradycardia: When the heart beats too slowlyBradycardia is a form of cardiac arrhythmia characterized by a slowed heartbeat. For an adult, this is defined as less than 60 beats per minute at rest. 1


Dizziness is a typical symptom of bradycardia.

A slow heartbeat can remain harmless, but it can also become dangerous. The causes usually lie in a disturbance of the excitation formation or conduction of the heart. Learn how bradycardia manifests itself and what your treatment options are here.

What is bradycardia? Definition and symptoms

The heart beats at different rates depending on the demands placed on it: While the heartbeat increases during physical exertion or excitement, it decreases during periods of rest. In a healthy adult, it is normally between 60 and 80 beats per minute. When the heart rate is below 60 beats, medical professionals refer to it as bradycardia, or a slowed heartbeat 2 . However, this must
Numerical value flexible be considered. Because in competitive athletes, the trained heart is often slower at rest than in untrained individuals.

Interesting: The opposite of bradycardia is tachycardia. In this case, the heart beats too fast.

Affected people with a slow heartbeat usually do not notice this condition at first. Bradycardia becomes problematic when the heart is working so slowly that the blood distribution in the body is insufficient. In this case, the organs are lacking oxygen and nutrients, as indicated by the following
Symptoms can become noticeable:

– Dizziness – Nausea – Difficulty concentrating – Headache – Unconsciousness

In addition, it is possible that the heart does not reach the necessary frequency even under stress. Affected persons then feel this in shortness of breath and dizziness.

What can be causes of bradycardia?

The reasons for bradycardia lie in the heart itself. Sinoatrial node in the heart tie. Then spread throughout the entire organ. These signals cause the heart muscle to contract. Pumps blood into the circulation. Disturbances in both the formation of the electrical impulses and their transmission can lead to a slowed heartbeat 3 .

Causes in the sinus node (sinus bradycardia): The frequency of the sinus node is too slow, irregular or shows failures.
Causes in the conduction of excitation: The AV node (another natural pacemaker of the heart) is blocked or there is atrial fibrillation.

The mentioned heart problems can be caused by various factors:

– Taking certain medications (for example, for other cardiac arrhythmias) – Pre-existing conditions such as a heart attack such as hypothyroidism

How can bradycardia be diagnosed?

You can often feel a slow heartbeat by Palpation of own pulse: count your pulse in a relaxed state for one minute. If you notice less than 60 beats, bradycardia may be present. You should consult a doctor if you suspect that something is wrong. 'He will perform an ECG (electrocardiogram) for the diagnosis: with the recording of the heart currents, a low pulse can be detected. To further narrow down the causes of the slow heartbeat, more advanced testing methods (e.g.B. an echocardiography or cardiac catheterization) may be used.

Find the right expert

Specialists in heart disease are cardiologists. Find a specialist near you with the doctor search tool.

Treatment of bradycardia

Depending on which trigger is behind a bradycardia, the therapy takes place. But a low pulse does not always have to be treated. Consequence of exercise. Usually unproblematic. Use: This is implanted. Gives the heart a regular rhythm. However, if bradycardia is over unnoticed for a long time If the heartbeat remains slow and is not treated, serious diseases can develop. This includes heart failure (cardiac insufficiency), in which the pumping capacity of the heart is reduced. If left untreated, heart failure increasingly limits the quality of life and can even become life-threatening. To prevent this from happening, you should not be afraid to go to the doctor if you notice any abnormalities in your health.

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