Slow Heart Rate
Bradycardia = too slow heart rate (commonly known as Sinus Bradycardia)
In adults the heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute (BPM) is termed Bradycardia. However Bradycardia depends on age and physical condition;
- During deep sleep our heart rate may fall below 60 BPM.
- Elderly are more tending to problems even with a slow heart rate.
- Physically active adults often have a resting heart rate less than 60 BPM but without causing a problem.
Causes of Bradycardia
- Damage to the heart from heart attack or heart disease
- Metabolic problems such as hypothyroidism
- Problems in the conduction pathways of the heart (electrical impulses are not conducted from the atria to the ventricles)
- Problems with the sinoatrial (SA) node, sometimes called the heart’s natural pacemaker
Symptoms of Bradycardia
Too slow heart rhythm can cause insufficient blood flow to the brain with symptoms such as:
- Fainting or near-fainting spells
- In extreme cases, it may cause cardiac arrest.
Dizziness: Lightheadedness and Vertigo
Frequently dizziness is describing two different feelings.
1) Lightheadedness – a feeling about to faint or “pass out.” Lightheadedness often goes away or improves when lying down. If lightheadedness gets worse, it can lead to a feeling of almost fainting or a fainting spell (syncope). You may sometimes feel nauseated or vomit when you are lightheaded.
2) Vertigo – a feeling of surroundings moving but actually no movement or a feeling of off balance, falling, spinning, tilting or whirling. In severe case the patient may feel very nauseated or vomit, having trouble walking or standing, and lose balance and fall.
Complications of Bradycardia
Severe, prolonged untreated Bradycardia can cause:
- Angina pectoris (chest pain)
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Syncope (loss of consciousness; fainting)
Causes of bradycardia in elderly
Bradycardia can occur for any number of reasons. The activity of the heart is controlled by an internal electrical system known as the sinoatrial node (SA node) which is the natural pacemaker. This carefully coordinated mechanism can become interrupted at some point which eventually leads to a slower heart rate.
The most common causes of Bradycardia in the elderly are :
- Age-related changes in the heart and its pacemaker.
- Heart failure.
- High blood pressure.
- Medication, particularly those drugs for controlling irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and certain psychiatric disorders.
Symptoms and Treatment of Bradycardia
Cause and Treatment – Sinus Bradycardia
Bradycardia: Symptoms of a Slow Heart Rate
Low Heart Rate – Causes, Symptoms, Dangers
ACLS 07 – Bradycardia