Sick sinus syndrome (SSS) is a relatively uncommon heart rhythm disorder. SSS is not a specific disease, but rather a group of signs or symptoms that indicate the sinus node, the heart’s natural pacemaker, is not functioning properly. A person with SSS may have a heart rhythm that is too slow (bradycardia), too fast (tachycardia), or one that alternates between the fast and slow (bradycardia-tachycardia).
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Because the heart’s electrical system is complicated, diagnosing abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias) can be difficult and requires heart rhythm experts who use special testing equipment. To find the problem, a doctor will take a medical history, ask about symptoms, give a thorough physical exam, and order specific tests.
Syncope is a symptom that can be caused by many different factors. When it comes to treatment, there is no "one size fits all" approach, making an accurate diagnosis very important. Treatment should address the underlying cause of syncope.
The risk of cardiovascular syncope increases with age. Cardiovascular syncope usually is sudden. There may be no warning signs that an individual is about to faint. Review our list of risk factors and causes here.
Fainting (syncope) is a sudden transient loss of consciousness. It most often happens when the blood pressure is too low (hypotension) and the heart does not pump enough oxygen to the brain. Typically, a fainting spell lasts only a few seconds or minutes, and then the person regains consciousness. Fainting is common and a single spell usually is not serious.
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