Heart Information Center
Ask a Heart Doctor
  Back to previous page


Help us improve this service.

Your feedback will help guide us in developing this site.

Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor 
Informed patients make better patients.


What could be causing my slow heart rate and what should I do?

I have been diagnosed with bradycardia. At times my heart rate is in the low 40's and low 50's. I have very little energy. I used to be very active. I am 63 years old and I can do only small amounts of physical activity now...I get very winded and cannot do physical tasks. I saw a heart electrician and he thinks I have sleep apnea. I am now wearing a mask to sleep and after 60 consecutive days my heart rate is still low. Things have not changed. The slow heart rate is not detected when EKG's are done...the slow rate is not constant...happens without warning or reason. I can feel when it happens. My chest feels strange when the heart rate slows. What could be wrong? And what should I do...see another doctor?

submitted by Rebecca from North Carolina on 12/03/2013


by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, J. Alberto Lopez, MD  

J. Alberto Lopez, MDSymptomatic Bradycardia may sometimes be due to drugs that decrease heart rate or prevent it from increasing to the required level.  Your medication list should be reviewed with your doctor.  If there are no external causes for the low heart rate, the solution may be a pacemaker to increase your baseline heart rate with the capability of increasing heart rate with exercise.  This is called "activity rate response".

See also on this site:

Has your question or a similar one already been answered?
Search all the Heart Doctor questions and answers.

To search for a doctor or access St. Luke's physician referral service, use the "Find a Doctor" link at the top of this page.

Updated December 2013
Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to us on YouTube Find Us on Flicikr Follow Us on Pinterest Add us on Google+

Please contact our Webmaster with questions or comments.
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
© Copyright 1996-2014 Texas Heart Institute.
All rights reserved.
This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. U.S. NEWS America's Best Hospitals 2013-14