beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Regular Electrocardiograms

If no underlying heart disease is detected, your heart's response to exercise is normal, and there are no symptoms of low cardiac output, treatment may not be required. Your doctor may choose to monitor your heart rate and rhythm periodically, typically by regular electrocardiograms. People with cardiac symptoms and conditions usually receive treatment, however.

Treatments for Symptomatic Bradycardia

Treatments for symptomatic bradycardia may include:

Adding or Discontinuing Certain Medications

  • Discontinuing any medications that slow the heart rate.
  • Intravenous (IV) atropine. This medication may be used to temporarily increase heart rate. 
  • If you have episodes of atrial fibrillation as well as bradycardia, you may need to take a blood thinner to reduce the risk of blood clots developing.

Diagnosing and Treating Other Conditions

This could include underlying conditions such as coronary artery disease, thyroid disease, sleep apnea or electrolyte disorders. In addition, if you have tachycardia-bradycardia syndrome (alternating fast and slow signals), you may need treatment for both fast and slow rates.

Artificial Pacemaker

Implanted Under Your Collarbone

This device may be either temporarily or permanently implanted under the skin in the chest wall. It is the most common treatment for bradycardia that causes symptoms such as fainting.

Wallet-Sized, Battery-Powered Device

The wallet-sized, battery-powered device has wires and electrodes attached. The electrodes are threaded through your veins and into your heart, while the pacemaker itself is implanted under your collarbone.

Provides Electrical Impulses Through Electrodes

The pacemaker provides electrical impulses through the electrodes to regulate your heartbeat. In some cases, a dual-chamber pacemaker may be implanted. It has electrodes in both the atria and the ventricles. A traditional pacemaker only has electrodes in the ventricles.

When your heart rate slows, the pacemaker takes over, providing the impulses required to maintain a normal rhythm. Blood thinners may be prescribed along with the pacemaker, at least initially.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215