Your Heart Rhythm

A Primer On Cardiac Arrhythmias

Permanent Pacemaker

Sick Sinus Syndrome

Sick Sinus Syndrome ("SSS") is the name given to the medical condition in which disease of the sinus node causes severe slowing of the heart beat associated with significant symptoms. Sometimes the sinus node stops firing temporarily, and long pauses in the heart rhythm may result. This condition causes symptoms of fatigue, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and even fainting. It can occur at any age over 30, although it is rare in patients under the age of 50 years. There can be "intrinsic" disease of the sinus node from aging, ischemia, scarring, or physical damage. There can also be "extrinsic" sinus node problems due to medications, hormonal conditions (such as an underactive thyroid gland) or neurological imbalances. Sick Sinus Syndrome is usually treated with a Permanent Pacemaker, which is a small electronic device that is designed to keep the heart beating from beating too slowly. Using local anesthesia, the pacemaker is implanted under the skin in a simple operation. The pacemaker keeps the heart beating by supplying a small electrical signal to replace the one normally provided by the Sinus Node. A pacemaker can eliminate all the symptoms of the Sick Sinus Syndrome.