ABC Medical Center > Sick sinus syndrome

What is Sick sinus syndrome?

22:10 - 4 December , 2023


It is a rare heart rhythm disorder that damages the so-called sinus node, which is responsible for keeping the heartbeat stable and regular.

Sinus node disease is also known as sinus node dysfunction or SA node and is characterized by slow, irregular heartbeats and pauses. Although they can also alternate with rapid heartbeat episodes.

As the years go by, the risk of suffering from it increases and sometimes a pacemaker is necessary so that the heart can maintain a normal rhythm.

Sick sinus syndrome, which generally occurs in people over 50 years old, can be due to various factors, such as:

  • Scars from cardiac surgery or alterations in the sinus node.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Deterioration of cardiac tissues due to aging.
  • Inflammatory diseases that damage the heart muscle.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Medications to treat arrhythmias and high blood pressure.
  • Neuromuscular pathologies.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Sleep disorders.

Signs and symptoms Sick sinus syndrome

People who suffer from sick sinus syndrome usually have no symptoms or they are usually mild, the most common being:

  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Confusion.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Bradycardia.
  • Sensation of rapid and fluttering heart palpitations.
  • Vertigo or dizziness.

Sinus node syndrome risks and complications:

  • Stroke.
  • Arrhythmia.
  • Heart failure.
  • Heart attack.

Diagnosis and treatment Sick sinus syndrome

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination and request the following tests to make an accurate diagnosis:

  • Electrocardiogram.
  • Holter monitor.
  • Portable or implantable event recorder to monitor heartbeats.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and the factors that trigger it, but you will likely be prescribed antiarrhythmic medications to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.

In more extreme cases, a surgical procedure with catheters or the placement of a pacemaker may be necessary.
At the Cardiovascular Center, we offer you a wide range of prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and follow-up services to care for you through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary care model. Come to us, we want to hear your heart.


  • Mamani CSL, Dorantes SM, Castañeda CO. Disfunción sinoauricular. Rev Cubana Cardiol Cir Cardiovasc. 2021;27(1):2-4.

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