Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate)
Having bradycardia means that your heart beats very slowly. For most people, a
heart rate of 60 to 100 beats a minute while at rest is considered normal. If
your heart beats less than 60 times a minute, it is slower than normal.
Sometimes bradycardia is normal. For example, healthy young adults
and well-trained athletes often have resting heart rates of less than 60 beats
Bradycardia is abnormal when the heart's normal pacemaker does not
work correctly or when the normal electrical system of the heart has been
damaged. Abnormal bradycardia (also called bradyarrhythmia, sick sinus
syndrome, or sinus node dysfunction) is an abnormally slow heart rate that is
caused by certain medical conditions—including heart disease, hypothyroidism,
and electrolyte imbalances—and some medicines. In severe forms of bradycardia,
the heart beats so slowly that it does not pump enough blood to meet the body's
needs. This can be life-threatening.
How bradycardia is treated
depends on what is causing it. Treatment also depends on the symptoms. If
bradycardia does not cause symptoms, it usually is not treated. A pacemaker is often needed to restore a normal heart rate.
Current as of:
February 20, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.