Sick-sinus-syndrome (sss): Compare Costs for a treatment abroad

Sick sinus syndrome is a chronic slowing of heart rhythm. During the sick sinus syndrome the sinus code, which acts as a pacemaker in the heart, weakens or stops functioning. Sick sinus syndrome usually manifests in heart rate. Slow heart rate is also known as bradycardia. It can also result in ectopic arrhythmia. The biggest complication of sick sinus syndrome is sudden cardiac arrest, which may result in death. Sick sinus syndrome mostly affects people over 60-70 years of age. In rare cases sick sinus syndrome can develop among children. It is equally common in both females and men.

In general, sinus node is a pulse generator and it controls the heart rate. Generally, sinus node generates electrical pulses at a frequency of 75-85 per minute. For patients with sick sinus syndrome frequency of electric pulses much less.

Sick sinus syndrome causes

Sick sinus syndrome can develop because of the scar left in the heart after some heart surgeries.

In this case the heart rhythm may not function as it used to do, due to valves of the heart which were damaged during the incision due to full recovery. In rare cases people with diseases of other organs may also develop sick sinus syndrome. Some drugs such as beta or alpha blockers or calcium blockers can result in either too high or too slow heart beat. Nevertheless, the most well-known reason for sick sinus syndrome is age, when heart is fatigued and can not function properly anymore because it served for a long time. 

Sick sinus syndrome symptoms

There are different manifestations of sick sinus syndrome. They are as follows:

  1. arrhythmia
  2. headaches
  3. dizziness
  4. development of cardiac asthma
  5. pulmonary edema
  6. coronary artery disease
  7. angina
  8. myocardial infarction

In general, there are two types of sick sinus syndrome: cerebral and cardiac. Symptoms of cardiac sick sinus syndrome include heart rhythm abnormalities accompanied by fatigue, irritability, forgetfulness and emotional instability. Elderly people suffer from the memory loss and discordance of some speech functions.

People who have cardiac sick sinus syndrome can often lose consciousness. A patient may faint several times per day for one or two minutes. Before fainting he may hear noise in the ears and feel weakness, which are also symptoms of cardiac arrest. Usually fainting happens without any warning.

Skin of patients with sick sinus syndrome is pale and constantly cold. They can also experience cold sweats during the night  In this case blood pressure drops sharply. Fainting sometimes may be provoked by cough or by sharp turn of the head. Also wearing shirt with tight collar can result in fainting episode.

People recover very quickly, but sometimes ambulance is need to restore heart rhythm. After fainting there may be further blackouts, words missing, irritability, insomnia and memory decline.

With the progression of sick sinus syndrome patients may develop tachycardia or fibrillation, which may result in sudden cardiac death.

Sick sinus syndrome diagnosis

Usually people are diagnosed with sick sinus syndrome after the doctors find out that the cause for their slow heart beat is bradycardia. Bradycardia is diagnosed during the ECG monitoring. Sick sinus syndrome may be diagnosed if heart beats are less than 90 per minute. Doctors can also identify sick sinus syndrome by MRI screening.

Another common sick sinus diagnosis is the so-called Holter monitoring, when patient is being observed by doctors for the period of 24 hours. The main purpose of Holter monitoring is to understand if there is a sinus node dysfunction. Another way to determine if a patient has sick sinus syndrome is to make him exercise. Usually healthy people experience heart rate increase while running, jumping or moving fast.. This is not the case for people with sick sinus syndrome. Although their heart rate accelerates a bit, it still remains very slow comparatively to people who do not have the similar problem. Sometimes doctors try to assess the response of patients to an excessive amount of oxygen by giving them oxygen masks and seeing the reaction of the heart . Patients with sick sinus syndrome have a decreased heart rate, which is another indicator of brachicardia.  

Sick sinus syndrome treatment

The choice of sick sinus syndrome treatment (SSS) depends on the degree of heart rhythm abnormalities, arrhythmia and severity of medical symptoms.

If there are no or only minimal manifestations of sick sinus syndrome, atrial fibrillation, therapy usually consists of dynamic observations at the cardiologist.

Drug treatment is carried out in order to fight the complications of arrhythmia and brachicardia, but usually drugs are not very ineffective.

Main method of treatment of sick sinus syndrome is pacemaker. It is required if there is chronic heart failure and there is a possibility of sudden cardiac death. The pacemaker generates impulses and increases heart beat until it becomes normal. It is also good for the elderly, because usually their heart welcomes the introduction of the device, which can support the heart rhythm. The only problem is that heart can get used to the pacemaker very quickly, that`s why it patients who undergo this kind of therapy are likely to have to wear the pacemaker for the rest of their lives. There were no known complications; although there is a slight possibility that pacemaker may bring some kind of infection. The chances of that are very slim. 

Future treatment and prevention sick sinus syndrome

Sick sinus syndrome (SSS) usually has a tendency for progression, so if the treatments is suddenly sropped the clinical symptoms may worsen and the patient may develop other heart diseases.

Sick sinus syndrome prognosis is variable and depends on the extent of brachicardia. If there is no treatment, the life expectancy can vary from several weeks to 20 years or more. Nevertheless, antiarrhythmic drugs and timely implemented pacemaker may prolong life expectancy for many years. Pacemaker may also prevent sinus arrest, when heart slows to the point a patient may die. Person also needs to avoid stressful situations, lead a healthy diet and not physically overwork. Diet must exclude any fatty food and red meat. Also smokers often need to quit. Normal heart rhythm may be supported by the pacemaker, as it was mentioned above, but people with SSS should also do their best to avoid all the negative situations, which can result in anger, overexcitement or screaming. Sometimes, when people become too agitated or when they are emotionally exhausted, their heart rhythm can experience dysfunction.    

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location_onCountry: Germany
location_searchingCity: Gummersbach

Gummersbach District Hospital of the Klinikum Oberberg

The Department of Internal Medicine I at the Klinikum Oberberg in Gummersbach provides treatment to patients with all diseases from the field of internal medicine apart from drug treatment of malignancies (cancer) and blood disorders (hematology / Department of Internal Medicine II).

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location_onCountry: Germany
location_searchingCity: Essen

Alfried Krupp Hospital in Essen-Ruettenscheid

The main treatment areas of the Department of Internal Medicine I, headed by Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Budde, are invasive and non-invasive cardiac diagnostics and therapy of all cardiac diseases.

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