Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment for bradycardia depends on the type of electrical conduction problem, the severity of symptoms, and the cause of your slow heart rate.

Treating underlying disorders

If an underlying disorder, such as hypothyroidism or obstructive sleep apnea, is causing bradycardia, treatment of the disorder may correct bradycardia.

Change in medications

A number of medications, including some to treat other heart conditions, can cause bradycardia. Your doctor will check what medications you're taking and may recommend alternative treatments. Changing drugs or lowering dosages may correct problems with a slow heart rate. When alternative treatments are not possible and symptoms require treatment, a pacemaker is necessary.

Pacemaker

A pacemaker is a battery-operated device about the size of a cell phone that's implanted under your collarbone. Wires from the device are threaded through veins and into your heart. Electrodes at the end of the wires are attached to heart tissues. The pacemaker monitors your heart rate and generates electrical impulses as necessary to maintain an appropriate rate.

Most pacemakers also capture and record information that your cardiologist can use to monitor your heart. You will have regularly scheduled follow-up appointments to check your heart and ensure the proper function of your pacemaker.

May. 26, 2011