What's the treatment for sick sinus syndrome?
If drugs are causing the problem, their withdrawal may effectively eliminate the disorder. However, the treatment of sick sinus syndrome is normally delayed until a patient shows symptoms. Once treatment is indicated, most patients will receive a pacemaker. This is a permanent treatment involving implantation of a small device under the skin below the collarbone.
Small electrodes run from the device to the heart; they deliver and regulate the electrical signals that cause the heart to beat. Patients with sick sinus syndrome should generally receive dual chamber pacing systems to prevent atrial fibrillation (involuntary contraction of the muscles of the atria). Some drugs are used to treat sick sinus syndrome, but digitalis should be used with caution. Often the use of drugs to regulate the heartbeat should be implemented only after the pacemaker has been placed, since these drugs may further worsen the slow heart rate.
The reduction or elimination of certain foods and substances, such as alcohol or caffeine, may be advised to control heart rate. Stress reduction may also assist with changes in rate. Homeopathic treatment can work on a deep healing level, while acupuncture and botanical medicine can offer supportive treatment for symptoms.
If a person with sick sinus syndrome is having significant symptoms, a permanent device to help control the heartbeat is often used. This device is called a pacemaker. This device causes the heart to beat by creating tiny bursts of electricity that are sent to the heart. It only "fires" when it is needed, but can be lifesaving.