DISEASE MANAGEMENT
BRADYCARDIA

Learn about the treatment options for Bradycardia:


Consult with your doctor to make the best decisions


When discussing with your doctor, you may want to use this document to help guide the conversation

When discussing with your doctor, you may want to use this document to help guide the conversation

1
IDENTIFY


An electrocardiogram records the electrical activity of the heart via electrodes that are placed on your chest and sometimes on your limbs. It is a noninvasive and painless method to help diagnose a heart problem.

A medical assessment can identify if you are at risk of malignant arrhythmias, i.e. those that originate from the ventricles, which are the chambers responsible for pumping blood from the heart to the whole body.

Continuous heart monitoring is useful for capturing irregular heartbeats that happen infrequently — in some cases, you may not even feel any symptoms.

Holter Monitor: This portable ECG device may be used for up to seven days to record the electrical activity of the heart while performing your daily routine. Performing a record of your ECG will allow your doctor to analyze your heart rate and identify any abnormalities that may be occurring.

Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM): The ICM is a small device that is implanted under the skin in the chest area. The ICM detects and stores abnormal heart rhythms for about three years.

  • Based on your treating doctor’s consideration, an echocardiogram may be performed to evaluate the size of your heart and its functioning.
  • Another diagnostic test is coronary angiography, which makes the blood flow through the arteries of your heart visible. Like the echocardiogram, this procedure will be requested by your doctor if considered necessary.
  • An electrophysiological study (EPS) may be performed to observe the functioning of the heart’s electrical system in more detail and confirm the presence or absence of electrical abnormalities.

You can determine how quickly your heart beats by taking your pulse. If you identify that your pulse is irregular or slow, consult a doctor.

Example on how to take the pulse in the wrist. Taking care of your heart.

Flip one hand, palm up. Gently place the index and middle finger of your opposite hand in the internal part of your wrist below the base of the thumb; the position is correct if you feel your heartbeat. Count the total number of heartbeats for 1 minute, or for 30 seconds, and multiply this number by two.

Example on how to take the pulse in the neck. Taking care of your heart.

The pulse can also be found in the neck, always using the same fingers and performing the process similarly to the previous one.

2
MANAGE


If you are diagnosed with bradycardia, you may be a candidate for a pacemaker.

Pacemakers are small devices that are implanted under the skin and help restore a normal heart rhythm when the heart beats too slowly.

The pacemaker continuously monitors the heart rhythm and sends electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate when it is too slow. These electrical impulses generated by the pacemaker are so small that you cannot feel them.

Every pacemaker can be adjusted according to your specific condition.

Untreated bradycardia can cause serious problems; these may include fainting and subsequent injuries, as well as seizures or even death.

3
MAINTAIN


Maintaining healthy habits can help prevent or reduce the severity of heart disease and improve your quality of life.

  • Maintain a healthy diet: Eat fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods, lean meats, fish and unsaturated fats like olive oil. Reduce alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages.
  • Exercise regularly: Try to get physical activity every day for at least half an hour.
  • Avoid harmful habits like smoking.
  • Control your blood pressure regularly: If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice to lower your salt intake and take all prescribed medications.
  • Control your cholesterol: Have your cholesterol levels checked regularly. Eat fewer high-cholesterol foods, and if necessary, take cholesterol-lowering medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Manage your stress levels: Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy techniques for managing stress such as muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and exercise.
  • Treat sleep apnea and thyroid disorders: If you have sleep apnea or thyroid disorder, it’s important to go to the doctor to treat them properly.

Medical problems such as hypothyroidism, or electrolyte imbalance, or in some situations some of the medications you are taking, may cause a slow heart rhythm. When you suspect that these problems could be related to your bradycardia, talk to your doctor so she/he can treat the medical condition or adjust or modify your medication.

Keep a close communication with your doctor and report to him/her when you are not satisfied with the treatment, if you have new symptoms or side effects.

Seek help in case of an emergency. Contact your doctor or the ER right away if your heart rate is slower than usual, if you feel you’re going to faint, or if you notice shortness of breath.

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When discussing with your doctor, you may want to use this document to help guide the conversation

When discussing with your doctor, you may want to use this document to help guide the conversation