Hello Doctor - A little history for you...
Age: 29, Male, started having symptoms of bradycardia on 4th July. Have had an ECG 3 times, all completely normal. Holter showed that at some points during the 24hours my heartrate dropped to 30 bpm. Have had several blood tests, all normal. My cardiologist says that he is convinced I have a healthy heart and using the analogy of a car, my engine is fine it's just the accellerator that has trouble at points during the day. I now have an appointment with another cardiologist to discuss possible pacing. I'm having trouble sleeping due to worry and would much appreciate any answers you can give to the following questions:
1. How life threatening is this problem?
2. What changes should I make to my lifestyle until I am treated.
3. Can bradycardia just 'start' ?
4. If my heart is healthy, what could be causing the problem - all the information I can find refer to heart problems.
5. Isn't a pacemaker just masking the problem ? should we not find the cause of the bradycardia and fix that ?
Thanks in advance for any information you can give me.
1. It depends on when your heart rate drops to the 30s. If it is only during sleep that is not so unusual for a young healthy person. If it is while working or exercising, that could be a serious problem.
2. If you are having symptoms such as dizziness or lightheadedness associated with the bradycardia, you should not drive or put yourself in a position where passing out could be dangerous.
3. Bradycardia can just develop, though typically in older patients with disease in the conduction system of their heart.
4. Again, it depends on whether your symptoms coincide with the periods of bradycardia.
5. A pacemaker would be the treatment of significant bradycardia causing symptoms, unless the bradycardia was being caused by medications.
I hope this has been useful. I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to write back.
Information provided here is for general purposes only. Specific questions should be addressed to your own doctor. 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.
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