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Definition of Bradycardia, Prevention and Consultation

Definition of bradycardia

Bradycardia is part of heart rhythm disorders and corresponds to a slower heart rate. The normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 and 75 beats per minute (bpm) and bradycardia is defined by a frequency lower than 60 bpm. Bradycardia from several mechanisms: some are physiological bradycardia (in athletes trained for example), others reveal heart disease must be diagnosed and treated.

Treatment of bradycardia

Bradycardia is often a symptom of heart disease or extracardiac need to detect and treat. Indeed, extreme bradycardia can lead to a heart attack. Antiarrhythmic drug therapy or cardiac cells (pacemaker) process each year more than 600,000 people worldwide for bradycardia. For example, equipment for pacemaker by 130,000 people over 65 years in the United States (Daley WR, RG Kaczmarek. Cardiac pacemakers The epidemiology of in the older U.S. population. Geriatr Soc Am J 1998 46: 1016-1019 .)

Causes of bradycardia

The heart beats with the transmission of electrical impulses that control the heartbeat. In case of slow or interrupt this transmission, it is called bradycardia. Bradycardia may be due to a slowdown in order inflows (sinus bradycardia of the athlete, for example) to abnormal conduction between the control and the heart muscle (sinoatrial block) or a conduction defect in the heart (between the atria and ventricles) influx (atrioventricular block). Heart disease (myocardial ...) or extracardiac (hypothyroidism) are possible causes of bradycardia.

Bradycardia Prevention

How is the bradycardia?

Bradycardia may not be clinically expressed: the person feels no symptoms, such as sports which normally resulted heartbeat slow and steady. This is physiological bradycardia and should be respected (no treatment).

Other patients resent slowing heart rate, responsible for fatigue, shortness of breath, or discomfort (dizziness or fainting true).

At one stage more important (and very slow heart rate), heart failure or sudden death are possible.
Symptoms also depend heavily on the underlying disease. They may also be intermittent if the bradycardia is not permanent.

With what should we be confused?

Do not confuse the athlete's sinus bradycardia with a heart rate naturally slow but very well tolerated, with other bradycardia, pathological and often poorly tolerated.

In addition, there are many causes of discomfort. The vagal example occurs when favorable environment (stress, heat ...) and causes dizziness and slow heart rate reflex bradycardia is not the cause but the consequence of the malaise.

Is there a prevention possible?

Like all diseases of the heart or vascular system, tobacco is an enemy to be eliminated faster. Similarly, physical activity (30 minutes three times per week) can stay in shape and is involved in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Consumption of stimulants (tea, coffee ...) may interfere with the heart rate and is therefore not recommended.

If you have a pacemaker, should carry a card stating the implanted device, be careful not to pass under the gantry magnetic (airports) and the appointment of monitoring (on average every 6 months) are required.

Bradycardia Preparing consultation

When to consult?

When bradycardia is symptomatic, even if the symptoms are temporary and reversible, should be consulted. Similarly, if the slowing of the heart rate is accompanied by chest pain or fainting, call the SAMU Centre 15 is essential.

What is the doctor?

Experienced signs, medical history, sport and risk factors cardiovascular part of the examination will lead the physician.

Second, the clinical examination can reveal signs of poor tolerance of the body (heart failure ...). The key consideration is the electrocardiogram (ECG) rest it determines the heart rate and confirm the diagnosis, possibly specifying the mechanism. In case of intermittent arrhythmia, a 24-hour recording (Holter) can make the diagnosis. Similarly, some problems do appear that effort, an exercise ECG (stress test) is sometimes necessary.

Based on these early non-invasive, more complex ones can be offered to you by the cardiologist: intracardiac ECG (electrode within the heart), ultrasound ...

A blood test is often prescribed to ensure that the functioning of the thyroid gland is not involved.
Treatment course based on the cause of bradycardia. Otherwise, medication or treatment "electric" may be useful: the pacemaker or "stack" sends an electric pulse and causes the contraction of the heart.

How to prepare my next visit?

Sports activities are recommended at a pace and should also avoid high-risk activities such as skydiving or scuba diving. If symptoms develop, consult quickly, specifying the circumstances trigger your doctor.

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