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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.
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 cause this syndrome. Other causes include medicines and diseases that affect the sinus node.
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 what is causing it. Treatment also depends on the symptoms. If the syndrome doesn't cause symptoms, it may not be treated. Treatment may be a pacemaker. You and your doctor can decide what treatment is right for you.
One example of sick sinus syndrome is tachy-brady syndrome.
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.
If you have this syndrome, you may have symptoms such as palpitations and lightheadedness. You might pass out. You might have a higher risk of stroke.
Treatment may include a pacemaker to prevent the heart from beating too slow. Medicines might be used to prevent the heart from beating too fast. Blood-thinning medicines may be used to help prevent a stroke.
Current as of:
June 25, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review BoardAll Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: June 25, 2023
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
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