Sick sinus syndrome

Bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome; Sinus node dysfunction; Slow heart rate - sick sinus; Tachy-brady syndrome; Sinus pause - sick sinus; Sinus arrest - sick sinus

Normally, the heartbeat starts in an area in the top chambers of the heart (atria). This area is the heart's pacemaker. It may be called the sinoatrial node, sinus node or SA node. This keeps the heart beat steady and regular.

Sick sinus syndrome is a group of heart rhythm problems due to problems with the sinus node, such as:

  • The heartbeat rate is too slow, called sinus bradycardia
  • The heartbeat pauses or stops, called sinus pauses or sinus arrest
  • Episodes of a fast heart rate
  • Slow heart rhythms that alternate with fast heart rhythms, called bradycardia-tachycardia or "tachy-brady syndrome"

A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated electronic device which is inserted under the skin to help the heart beat regularly and at an appropriate rate. The pacemaker has leads that travel through a large vein to the heart, where the wires are anchored. The leads send the electrical impulses to the heart to tell it to beat.



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When to Contact a Medical Professional