Back to Cardiovascular Diseases
Sick sinus syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome, also called Bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome is a
group of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) presumably caused by a
malfunction of the sinus node, the heart's "natural" pacemaker.
Sick sinus syndrome is a relatively uncommon syndrome. It can result in
many abnormal heart rhthyms (arrhythmias), including sinus arrest, sinus
node exit block, sinus bradycardia, and other other types of bradycardia
(slow heart rate).
Sick sinus syndrome may also be associated with tachycardias (fast heart
rate) such as PSVT and atrial fibrillation. Tachycardias that occur with
sick sinus syndrome are characterized by a long pause after the
Abnormal rhythms are often caused or worsened by medications such as
digitalis, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, sympatholytic
medications, and anti-arrhythmics. Disorders that cause scarring,
degeneration, or damage to the conduction system can cause sick sinus
syndrome, including sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, Chagas' disease, and
Sick sinus syndrome is more common in elderly adults, where the cause is
often a non-specific, scar-like degeneration of the conduction system.
Cardiac surgery, especially to the atria, is a common cause of sick
sinus syndrome in children.
Coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and aortic and mitral
valve diseases may be associated with sick sinus syndrome, although this
association may only be incidental.
- fainting or near fainting
- dizziness or light-headedness
- sensation of feeling heart beat (palpitations)
- chest pain or angina
- shortness of breath
Note: Usually no symptoms are present.
Are you a doctor or a nurse?
Do you want to join the Doctors Lounge online medical community?
Participate in editorial activities (publish, peer review, edit) and
give a helping hand to the largest online community of patients.
Click on the link below to see the requirements:
Doctors Lounge Membership