Saturday, January 14, 2006

bradycardia, sinus (cardiac arrhythmia)

Sinus bradycardia is a cardiac arrhythmia characterized by atrial and ventricular rates of less than 60 beats per minute and a regular rhythm. Sinus bradycardia is normal in athletes and laborers who have enlarged hearts from regular strenuous exercise. Bradycardia is sometimes seen in people with increased intracranial pressure, hypothyroidism, digitalis toxicity, carotid sinus or eyeball pressure, with the Val salva maneuver, and during anesthesia.
Generally, sinus bradycardia is a benign rhythm. If, however, the heart rate is not adequate to maintain proper cardiac output, congestive heart failure or syncope may occur. Treatment for sinus bradycardia may involve the use of cholinergic blocking agents (atropine). If the bradycardia is chronic and not controlled well with medication a cardiac pacemaker may be surgically implanted. The purpose of the pacemaker is to generate a pulse and maintain effective cardiac output.
The person with a cardiac pacemaker should check his or her pulse once or twice daily. If any change is noted the physician should be seen since battery failure and displacement of wire electrodes is possible. Some physicians outfit their pacemaker patients with special equipment that transmits the
electrocardiagram (ECG) over the telephone.
See also ARRYTHMIAS, CARDIAC.
Phipps, W. J., et al. Medical Surgical Nursing. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.
Scherer, J. C. lntroductory Medical-Surgical Nursing. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1982.

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