Sick sinus syndrome (SSS) is a disease in which the heart's natural pacemaker located in the upper right heart chamber (right atrium) becomes damaged and is no longer able to generate normal heartbeats at the normal rate. It may be a result of other medical conditions that damage the sinoatrial node (SA node) over time or may be a result of certain medicines. This can result in heartbeats that are too slow, too fast, or heartbeats that alternate between slow and fast.
You may have sick sinus syndrome with few or no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may include:
Your healthcare provider may suspect sick sinus syndrome based on your symptoms, but they are common in many other diseases. To diagnose your condition, your healthcare provider will do an electrocardiogram (ECG). This is a machine that records your heart's rate and rhythm. If you do not have symptoms at the time of your ECG, it may look normal.
Other possible tests include:
You may have sick sinus syndrome without symptoms and not need treatment. However, if you do have symptoms and need treatment, there are options, such as:
Sick sinus syndrome often progresses over time. When your heart beats too slowly, or too quickly, it can lead to complications:
The aging of your SA node causes most cases of sick sinus syndrome, and there’s no way to prevent that. But you can help prevent complications by learning as much as you can about the disease and working closely with your cardiologist to find the best treatment.
You can also make healthy lifestyle changes:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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