Expert care to correct fluctuations in the speed of your heartbeat
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
The heart’s sinus node produces electrical signals that control the speed of heartbeats. If you have sick sinus syndrome, your sinus node produces abnormal electrical signals that can cause heartbeats that are too fast or slow, or beats that have long pauses between them. The doctors in our Cardiac Electrophysiology Program are internationally recognized for advances in managing heart rhythm disorders.
Sick sinus syndrome can be caused by certain medications used to treat heart disease or high blood pressure. Scar tissue from previous heart surgeries also can affect the sinus node, as can age-related damage to the heart.
What are the symptoms of sick sinus syndrome?
Sick sinus syndrome symptoms can include:
- Bradycardia, a slower-than-normal pulse
- Chest pain
- Fatigue or shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations, or the sensation that the heart rate is skipping, slowing down or racing
You may not notice any symptoms, or they may come and go. Symptoms often are the result of reduced blood flow to the brain.
We are leaders in developing and using the latest procedures and technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders, and our cardiac electrophysiology laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in North America.
Your doctor will order an electrocardiogram to find evidence of an abnormal heart rhythm. You may need additional types of heart rhythm monitoring if a standard electrocardiogram isn’t enough to detect your heart’s rhythm problem.
An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
Electrophysiology testing is used to evaluate the cause and location of an abnormal heartbeat (known an an arrhythmia).
An event monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but where an electrocardiogram takes place over a few minutes, an event monitor measures heart rhythms over a much longer time.
A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.
A Holter monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram records over a few minutes, a Holter monitor records over the course of a day or two.
A loop recorder is a device that’s implanted underneath the skin of your chest to record your heart rhythm for up to three years.
Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms and chemically induced stress tests.
Tilt table testing allows your doctor to determine the cause of explained fainting while monitoring changes in your blood pressure and heart rate while tilted at different angles.
Transesophageal echocardiogram allows us to take very detailed images of your heart structure from a probe in your esophagus.
You may only need regular checkups if your symptoms aren’t severe. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend one or more possible treatment options.
Atrial fibrillation ablation uses extreme heat or cold to destroy tissue causing faulty electrical signals in the heart.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device implanted below your collarbone that monitors your heart’s rhythm. When it detects an abnormal rhythm, it delivers an electrical impulse or shock to the heart to correct it.
A pacemaker is a device that helps control various types of heart rhythm disorders.