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Tachy Brady Syndrome

What is a Tachy brady syndrome?

It pertains to the abnormality in the conduction system of the heart. It is technically known as sick sinus syndrome or sinus node dysfunction. A tachy brady syndrome is described as the alternation of fast and slow heart rate.


It is a rare condition and can affect one out of 1,600 people ages 50 years old and above. The normal heart rhythm is 70 to 80 beats per minute. In people with tachy brady syndrome, the heart rhythm is too slow or too fast, which could lead to a sinus pause or a cardiac arrest. It could also lead to conditions like atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation. These conditions should be detected and treated in advance as they can be fatal. (1, 2, 3, 5)

Tachy brady syndrome affects any age but is more common in the elderly population. Why is that so? With aging comes geriatric changes leading to weakening of the sinus code. It can no longer function to its optimum.

The atrium and the conduction system of the heart weaken. However, you should keep in mind that it is not only the elderly population that is at risk. Children can have tachy brady syndrome too. It is a dangerous health condition which causes heart-related issues. It is a must to detect the condition at an early stage so that the patient will be able to receive the best treatment. (1, 2, 4)

An electrocardiogram report of a patient with a tachy brady syndrome.photo

Image 1: An electrocardiogram report of a patient with a tachy brady syndrome.
Picture Source: healthypathy.com

Pacemaker, a device placed inside the heart to regulate normal heart rhythm.image

Photo 2: Pacemaker, a device placed inside the heart to regulate normal heart rhythm.
Image Source: cdn2.newsok.biz

 

A pacemaker implant site.image

Image 3: A pacemaker implant site.
Picture Source: i.ytimg.com

Tachy brady syndrome symptoms

How do you know if you have sick sinus syndrome? What are the symptoms of sick sinus syndrome? The clinical manifestations are as follows:

  • Increased cardiac rhythm (tachycardia) that will then be replaced by decreased heart rhythm (bradycardia).
  • The patient feels dizzy at daytime due to the heart’s inability to sufficiently pump oxygenated blood.
  • The patient feels like passing out.
  • The patient complains of palpitation.
  • Sweating is profuse as a result of the heart’s compensatory mechanism.
  • The patient also complains of chest pain and difficulty breathing (dyspnea). (5, 9, 10)

What is the cause of sick sinus syndrome?

What are the possible causes of tachy brady syndrome? Who are at risk? What conditions could increase your possibility of having tachy brady syndrome? The exact cause of tachy brady syndrome is still unknown but a lot of conditions are linked with it. They include the following:

  • Old age – As the person grows old geriatric changes take place. There is a possibility of sinus node fibrosis, which could increase the possibility of abnormal heart rate.
  • Hereditary – Tachy brady syndrome can be linked with familial attribution. If any of your family member has it, then it could be possible that the condition can be passed on to other members of the family. (6, 7)
  • Underlying cardiac-related disease – A tachy brady syndrome is one of the manifestations of cardiac-related disease such as coronary artery disease.
  • Electrolyte imbalance – The rhythm of the heart is regulated sodium and potassium. Abnormality in the level of these electrolytes could lead to abnormal rhythm of the heart.
  • Side effects of medications – Some types of medication may cause tachy brady syndrome, especially anti-arrhythmic drugs, beta-blockers, and digoxin.
  • Health-related condition – Some health conditions could increase the possibility of tachy brady syndrome. Examples are high blood pressure, excessive smoking, chronic intake of alcoholic beverages, and increased level of cholesterol in the blood. (8, 11)

Diagnosis

What tests are needed to accurately diagnose tachy brady syndrome?

Laboratory work

A blood test is performed to check the level of electrolytes affecting the heart’s conduction system such as the sodium, potassium, and calcium. Any alteration in the level of essential electrolytes could affect the beating of the heart. (5, 6)

ECG (electrocardiogram)

To assess the underlying heart condition, an electrocardiogram study should be done. It assesses the state of the heart. A tachy brady syndrome ECG will detect any abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart. (6)

Tachy brady syndrome treatment

Surgical Approach

One of the best remedies for tachy brady syndrome is placing a pacemaker. Tachy brady syndrome pacemaker is a device placed in the heart that correct an abnormal heart rate by sending electrical impulses.

A patient with a pacemaker should wear a Med Alert bracelet to alert everyone that he/she has a pacemaker placed in the heart just so in the case of emergency. If you have a pacemaker, the electric wire is inserted into the heart and will then be linked to the electronic device that creates impulses to control the beating of the heart. (11, 12)

The functions of the pacemaker include the following:

  • It can sense a normal heart rate.
  • If it detects a fast heart rate (tachycardia), it will send a small electrical impulse thereby stimulating the heart to beat normally.

What to keep in mind when using a pacemaker?

  • You should wear a medical alert bracelet.
  • Some patients complain of pain at the pacemaker site. To alleviate the pain, you should take pain reliever like acetaminophen.
  • Stay away from magnetic objects as they can interfere the functions of the pacemaker.
  • Always bring your pacemaker card with you especially when you enter a building or an airport as pacemaker can trigger metal alerts.
  • You should inform your doctor right away for any unusual conditions such as chest pain, palpitations, rapid heartbeat, and too slow heart beating (less than 50 beats per minute).

Lifestyle changes

To significantly improve your overall condition, you need to let go of bad vices and unhealthy habits such as excessive drinking of alcoholic beverage, smoking, and too much intake of caffeinated drinks. It is important to keep your weight within normal range. Maintain a healthy blood pressure and strictly adhere with the treatment regimen. (12)

Are there any complications?

Tachy brady syndrome shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a fatal condition, especially when not treated right away. If the patient does not receive proper care, he will develop conditions like congestive heart failure, embolic cerebrovascular disorder, and cardiac arrest. All of these conditions are life-threatening.

Sick sinus syndrome prognosis

If you have a sick sinus syndrome/tachy-brady syndrome, you need to be very cautious all your life. many people could live a normal life even with tachy brady syndrome, but lifestyle changes should be make.

The key to improving the quality of life is to detect and manage the underlying cause the earliest possible time. If left unmanaged could lead to serious complications and death.

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/sick-sinus-syndrome-topic-overview
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000161.htm
  3. https://syndromespedia.com/tachy-brady-syndrome.html
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sick_sinus_syndrome
  5. https://www.gpnotebook.co.uk/simplepage.cfm?ID=-402259954
  6. https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/sick-sinus/
  7. http://www.secondscount.org/heart-condition-centers/info-detail-2/what-is-sick-sinus-syndrome#.Wduee_mCzIU
  8. https://www.healthline.com/health/sick-sinus-syndrome
  9. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sick-sinus-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20029161
  10. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sick-sinus-syndrome/basics/symptoms/con-20029161
  11. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sick-sinus-syndrome/basics/causes/con-20029161
  12. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/sick-sinus-syndrome-treatment

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