Bradycardia is a slower than normal heart rate. The hearts of adults at rest usually beat between 60 and 100 times per minute. If you have bradycardia, your heart beats fewer than 60 beats per minute.
Bradycardia can be a serious problem if the heart doesn’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. For some people, however, it doesn’t cause symptoms or complications.
Bradycardia can be caused by:
If a patient has bradycardia, the brain and other organs might not get enough oxygen, possibly causing these symptoms:
To diagnose this condition, a Deborah Specialty Physician will review any symptoms and complete medical and family medical history and do a physical examination.
The doctor will also order tests to measure heart rate, establish a link between a slow heart rate and your symptoms, and identify conditions that might be causing bradycardia. These tests might include:
Electrocardiogram (ECG or ExKG)
Because an ECG can’t record bradycardia unless it happens during the test, the doctor might have you use a portable ECG device at home. These devices include:
The doctor might use an ECG monitor while performing other tests to understand the impact of bradycardia. These tests include:
Laboratory and other tests
The doctor will order blood tests to screen for conditions that might be contributing to bradycardia, such as an infection, hypothyroidism or an electrolyte imbalance.
If sleep apnea is suspected of contributing to bradycardia, the patient might undergo sleep monitoring tests.