Bradycardia is a slower than normal heart rate. The heart usually beats between 60 and 100 times a minute in an adult at rest. If you have bradycardia (brad-e-KAHR-dee-uh), your heart beats fewer than 60 times a minute.

Bradycardia can be a serious problem if the heart doesn't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. For some people, however, bradycardia doesn't cause symptoms or complications.

An implanted pacemaker and other treatments may correct bradycardia and help your heart maintain an appropriate rate.

Symptoms Causes Complications Risk factors Prevention

If you have bradycardia, your brain and other organs may not get the supply of oxygen they need. As a result, you may experience these bradycardia symptoms:

  • Near-fainting or fainting (syncope)
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Easily tiring during physical activity

When a slow heart rate is normal

A resting heart rate slower than 60 beats a minute may be normal for some people, particularly for healthy young adults and trained athletes. For these people, bradycardia isn't considered a health problem.

When to see a doctor

A number of conditions can cause signs and symptoms of bradycardia. It's important to get a prompt, accurate diagnosis and appropriate care. See your doctor if you or your child experiences any symptoms of bradycardia.

If you faint, have difficulty breathing or have chest pain lasting more than a few minutes, get emergency care or call 911 or your local emergency number. Seek emergency care for anyone experiencing these symptoms.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use