Bradycardia (Low Pulse Rate)


BackgroundSymptoms / Diagnostic TestsTreatment


What is Normal heart rate?

A normal resting heart rate for most people is between 50 and 100 beats per minute (bpm). A resting heart rate slower than 50 bpm is considered bradycardia. Athletic and elderly people often have a heart rate slower than 60 bpm when they are sitting or lying down and a heart rate less than 60 bpm is common for many people during sleep.

What is Bradycardia?

Bradycardia is a slow heart rhythm, usually less than 50 beats per minute. At lower rate, the heart may not able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to your body during normal activity or exercise.

What causes Bradycardia?

Bradycardia can occur for several reasons. Some common causes of bradycardia include:

  •  Congenital Abnormality in the conduction system (condition you were born with)
  •  Sick sinus syndrome, also called sinus node dysfunction (the heart’s natural pacemaker is not working correctly)
  •  Heart block (the electrical impulse that travels from the upper to the lower chamber of the heart is irregular or blocked)


What are the symptoms of Bradycardia/ Low heart rate?

When your heart beats too slowly you may experience various symptoms which includes :

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting/ Syncope [Loss of consciousness]
  • Memory impairment

How is bradycardia diagnosed?

  • ECG
  • 24hrs Holter Monitoring
  • External Loop recorder [ELR]
  • Insertable cardiac monitor [ILR]
  • Electrophysiology study [EP study]


What are the available treatments for patient with bradycardia?

  • Treatment for bradycardia depends on the type and severity of electrical conduction problem, the severity of symptoms and the cause of your slow heart rate.
  • If the Bradycardia is related to drugs / Obstructive sleep apnoea / acute heart attack, those conditions needs to be treated.
  • When other treatments aren’t possible and symptoms require treatment, a permanent pacemaker is necessary.

What is Pacemaker?

Pacemakers are small devices that are implanted under the skin, most often below your collarbone on the left or right side of your chest, to help restore the heart’s rhythm. By sending tiny electrical signals to the heart to increase the heart rate, a pacemaker can relieve the symptoms of bradycardia. Read More

Dr. A.M.Karthigesan

-Senior Consultant Cardiologist & Electrophysiologist

-Chief, Cardiac Pacing and Arrhythmia Services

-Department of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology

-Apollo Hospitals, Greams Road, Chennai.

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