Sick Sinus Syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome (SSS) is not one specific disease. It is the term is used to describe several heart rhythm disorders. Sick sinus syndrome disorders include:
- Bradycardia —abnormally slow heart rate
- Tachycardia —abnormally fast heart rate
- Bradycardia-tachycardia—the heart alternates between too fast and too slow
Anatomy of the Heart
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SSS is caused by a problem with the electrical signals of the heart. The problem begins in an area of the heart called the sinoatrial (SA) node. This node is considered to be the heart’s natural pacemaker. When the SA node is defective, the heart’s rhythms become abnormal. The dysfunction in the SA node can be due to:
- Intrinsic causes (problems within the heart tissue), such as degeneration of the sinus node, long-term illness, or surgical injury
- Extrinsic causes (outside factors acting on the heart tissue), such as exposure to toxins or certain pharmacological agents
Last reviewedDecember 2014by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.