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sick sinus syndrome




Also known as sinus node dysfunction, abnormal functioning of the sinoatrial node (the natural pacemaker of the heart) that leads to various arrhythmias, including brachycardia (slow heart-rate), alternating brachycardia and tachycardia (fast heart-rate), or very short episodes of cardiac arrest (complete stoppage of the heartbeat.


Causes

The most common cause of sick sinus syndrome is coronary artery disease, but the conduction can also be stopped by a cardiomyopathy.


Symptoms

Symptoms of sick sinus syndrome include light-headedness, dizziness, fainting, and, occasionally, palpitations (awareness of the heartbeat).


Diagnosis

The diagnosis is confirmed by a 24-hour, ambulatory walking electrocardiogram (ECG) recording.


Treatment

Treatment is usually by antiarrhythmic drugs and the fitting of an artificial pacemaker.


Related category

   • HEALTH AND DISEASE