Sick sinus syndrome is the name given to a group of arrhythmias that occur because the normal pacemaker of the heart (the sinus node) does not work properly. Sick sinus syndrome is also called sinus node dysfunction.
For more information on other types of sinus node problems, see Types of Bradycardia.
Sick sinus syndrome can occur for various reasons. It most commonly results from the effect of age on the sinus node. As we get older, scarring of the sinus node can occur and, in some people, it can be so severe that it causes this syndrome.
Various irregular heart rates (arrhythmias) or combinations of arrhythmias can occur in this condition. People with this syndrome can have slow arrhythmias or a combination of fast and slow arrhythmias. These include:
Treatment of sick sinus syndrome depends on the type of rhythm problem. Treatment typically is a pacemaker, and sometimes medicines is used too.
In tachy-brady syndrome, also called tachycardia-bradycardia syndrome, the heart sometimes beats too quickly (tachy) and sometimes beats too slowly (brady). This abnormal heart rhythm problem is often seen in people who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. It can occur when the heart's natural pacemaker is damaged.
Other Works Consulted
- Olgin J, Zipes DP (2012). Bradyarrhythmias section of Specific arrhythmias: Diagnosis and treatment. In RO Bonow et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 813–824. Philadelphia: Saunders.
- Vijayaraman P, Ellenbogen KA (2011). Bradyarrhythmias and pacemakers. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's The Heart, 13th ed., pp. 1025–1057. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology|
|Last Revised||June 2, 2011|
Last Revised: June 2, 2011
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