Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Mayo Clinic doctors diagnose your condition based on a physical examination and tests that help your doctor determine why you have bradycardia. Doctors trained in diagnosing and treating heart rhythm disorders (electrophysiologists) work with doctors trained in heart and vascular diseases to offer you appropriate treatment options.

To find out what triggers your bradycardia, your doctor may ask whether you've been told you have a heart disease or if you take medications. To complete the diagnosis, you may need one or more tests including:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). In this test, doctors place sensor patches (electrodes) on your skin to measure the timing and rhythm of each electrical phase in your heartbeat.
  • Blood tests. These tests can help your doctor learn whether a medication or some medical problem is causing your bradycardia.
  • Stress test. Your doctor may have you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike while closely watching your heart activity with an electrocardiogram (ECG).

Some tests involve monitoring your heart while you go about your daily activities.

  • Holter monitor. Your doctor may ask you to wear this portable ECG device for a day or more to record your heart's electrical activity.
  • Event monitor. If your slow heart rate comes and goes from time to time, your doctor may ask you to wear a portable ECG event monitor at home that you start when symptoms appear. You may also have an implanted recorder.
  • Electrophysiology (EP) testing and mapping. This test involves threading thin, flexible tubes (catheters) with electrodes at the tips through your blood vessels to precisely map the spread of electrical impulses through your heart.
May. 26, 2011