Sick Sinus Syndrome
Click above to view an animation of Sick Sinus Syndrome
In a normal heart beat, or normal sinus rhythm, an electrical impulse originates at the SA node which is located in the upper right atrium. This electrical impulse travels through the atria to the AV node where there is a brief pause. The AV node then transfers the electrical impulse to the ventricles which completes a heart beat.
Sick sinus syndrome is a condition in which the heart beats too slowly or irregularly. It may be caused by a problem with the heart’s natural pacemaker, the SA node, or a problem in the conduction pathways of the heart (electrical impulses are not conducted from the atria to the ventricles). This condition may require treatment with a pacemaker. A pacemaker is utilized to regulate a slow heart rate.
Sick Sinus Syndrome is a catch all term for arrhythmias caused by dysfunction of the SA Node which is where a heart beat originates. Sick Sinus Syndrome most often occurs in elderly patients with heart disease.