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Bradycardia

A slow heart rate

Bradycardia is a heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute

About

Healthy adults usually have a heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM) during normal activities. Less than 60 BPM may be considered abnormally slow. You may have a slow heart rate if you're very fit or relaxed, on certain medications or have an underactive thyroid. It can also signify a problem with your heart's electrical impulses and cause symptoms like fatigue or dizziness.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of bradycardia icon plus

    Bradycardia may not cause symptoms, but if your heart rate is seriously low, your heart won't be able to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout your body effectively. If your brain or organs become oxygen-deprived, you may experience symptoms like:

    • fainting or blackouts (syncope)
    • chest pains
    • shortness of breath
    • weakness or fatigue
    • confusion or memory loss
    • tiring quickly or an inability to exert yourself
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your GP or consultant will speak to you about your symptoms. If they suspect you have bradycardia, diagnostic tests may include:

    • an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the electrical activity of your heart
    • an echocardiogram to visualise the chambers of your heart
    • wearing a device called a Holter monitor to track your heart's rhythm over time
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    If you're diagnosed with an abnormally low heart rate, your treatment will depend on the cause and severity of your condition. Your consultant will work with you to determine the best treatment options and may suggest lifestyle changes to improve your condition. This may mean stopping or changing some medications or making certain lifestyle changes. If your bradycardia is related to an underlying condition, such as hypothyroidism or a congenital disease, your treatment will usually focus on managing that condition. In some cases, especially if the cause is an abnormality of the heart’s electrical system, you may need to have a pacemaker fitted.

Types of bradycardia (bradyarrhythmias)

Sick sinus syndrome

Sick sinus syndrome is a condition where the heart's natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial node, doesn't work as it should.

Heart block

Heart block is an abnormal heart rhythm caused by a problem with the electrical signals that tell your heart when to beat.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

Bradycardia is an abnormally slow heart rate, which is caused by a problem with the heart's electrical impulses

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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