Dear Julie, thank you for your question. I think the term you mention relates to an overactive parasympathetic nervous system that slows down the electrical conduction of the heart during sleep. The parasympathetic nervous system generally slows the body down and promotes resting activities like digestion and sleep. Conversely, the sympathetic nervous system causes a "fight or flight" response by increasing alertness, heart rate, etc. The vagus nerve innervates the heart and its conduction system and carries impulses from each nervous system. At night, the parasympathetic fibers take over during sleep and the resting heart rate slows down. However, there are some people who are overly sensitive to this response and the conduction through the heart tissue is dramatically slowed. In this case, the normal sinus impulses are unable to transverse the atrioventricular node and AV block develops. This signifies that certain sinus impulses are not being conducted to the ventricles. If the heart rate gets too slow, fainting spells may result.
I hope you find this information useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. Please feel free to write back with additional questions. Good luck!
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter. The Heart
Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.
Copyright 1994-2017MedHelp International.All rights reserved. MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.