Sick sinus syndrome (SSS) is not one specific disease. It is the term is used to describe several heart rhythm disorders. Sick sinus syndrome disorders include:

  • Bradycardia —abnormally slow heart rate
  • Tachycardia —abnormally fast heart rate
  • Bradycardia-tachycardia—the heart alternates between too fast and too slow

This disorder can be treated very effectively. If you think you may have this condition, you should contact your doctor to discuss treatment.

Anatomy of the Heart
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SSS is caused by a problem with the electrical signals of the heart. The problem begins in an area of the heart called the sinoatrial (SA) node. This node is considered to be the heart’s natural pacemaker. When the SA node is defective, the heart’s rhythms become abnormal. The dysfunction in the SA node can be due to:

  • Intrinsic causes (problems within the heart tissue), such as degeneration of the sinus node, long-term illness, or even surgical injury
  • Extrinsic causes (outside factors acting on the heart tissue), such as exposure to toxins or certain pharmacological agents