Heart & Circulatory Health

Sick Sinus Dysfunction - Dysfunction of the Sinus Node

Written by Dr. Isaac Gana and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

 
Image: Sick Sinus Dysfunction - Dysfunction of the Sinus Node

The sinus node is a structure located in the upper part of the right side of the heart, which serves as the heart's pacemaker. Electrical impulses are produced there and travel from the sinus node down to the ventricles, that is the lower part of the heart.

What Is Sick Sinus Dysfunction?

Sick sinus dysfunction is the inability of the sinus node to perform its duty of sending the right amount of electrical impulses to the other parts of the heart. It is commonly presented in three forms:

  1. Tachy-Brady syndrome: A situation where there is an either too fast heartbeat or too slow heartbeat.
  2. SA (sinoatrial) nodal exit block: The duration of the impulse traveling is increased because of blockage. It could be partial or total, like in the case of AV (atrioventricular) block.
  3. Sinus arrest: Is when there is prolonged blockage, leading to the absence of an impulse.

This disease is more common amongst older adults.

What Are the Causes of Sick Sinus Dysfunction?

  1. Long years of poorly managed arterial hypertension.
  2. It could occur after undergoing heart surgery.
  3. Old age, because in elder people, there is degeneration of tissues of the heart.
  4. Diseases like amyloidosis and sarcoidosis.
  5. Prior history of a heart attack.
  6. Hypothyroidism.

What Are the Presenting Signs and Symptoms?

  1. Dizziness.
  2. Shortness of breath.
  3. Fast or slow heart rate.
  4. Syncope or lightheadedness.
  5. Weakness.

What Are the Tests Necessary to Diagnose This Disease?

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): This can show an abnormality of P wave, which indicates depolarization of the atrium.

Ways to Treat Sick Sinus Syndrome.

  • It is advised that patients with this problem reduce the amount of physical activity.
  • Normally patients without symptoms do not require treatment.
  • A pacemaker might be needed in patients who have a chronic history.

For more information consult a cardiac arrhythmia specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/cardiologist/cardiac-arrhythmia

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018

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