Home > Health Library > Sick Sinus Syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome is the name given to a group of arrhythmias that
occur because the normal pacemaker of the heart (the sinus node) does not work
properly. Sick sinus syndrome is also called sinus node dysfunction.
For more information on other types of sinus node problems, see Types of Bradycardia.
Sick sinus syndrome can occur for various reasons. It most commonly
results from the effect of age on the sinus node. As we get older, scarring of
the sinus node can occur and, in some people, it can be so severe that it
causes this syndrome.
Various irregular heart rates (arrhythmias) or combinations of
arrhythmias can occur in this condition. People with this syndrome can have
slow arrhythmias or a combination of fast and slow arrhythmias. These
Treatment of sick sinus syndrome depends on the type of rhythm problem. Treatment typically is a pacemaker, and sometimes medicines is used too.
In tachy-brady syndrome, also called tachycardia-bradycardia syndrome, the
heart sometimes beats too quickly (tachy) and sometimes beats too slowly
(brady). This abnormal heart rhythm problem is often seen in people who have
been diagnosed with
atrial fibrillation. It can occur when the heart's
natural pacemaker is damaged.
Other Works Consulted
Olgin JE, Zipes DP (2012). Specific arrhythmias: Diagnosis and treatment. In RO Bonow et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 771–824. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Vijayaraman P, Ellenbogen KA (2011). Bradyarrhythmias and pacemakers. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's The Heart, 13th ed., pp. 1025–1057. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
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