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Bradycardia Causes & Risks


Bradycardia may be caused by:

  • Normal responses to:
    • Deep relaxation
    • Being in excellent physical shape
  • The heart’s natural pacemaker developing an abnormal rate or rhythm
  • The normal electrical conduction pathway being interrupted
  • Another part of the heart taking over as pacemaker

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance for getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for bradycardia include the following:

  • Advancing age
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Drugs such as (most commonly used for):
    • Clonidine and other centrally acting alpha-2 adrenergic agonists ( high blood pressure )
    • Cholinesterase inhibitors ( Alzheimer’s disease )
    • Calcium antagonists (high blood pressure, heart disease)
    • Digitalis and other cardiac glycosides (heart failure and arrhythmias )
    • Lithium
    • Beta-blockers (high blood pressure, heart disease), also used in some eye drops
  • Exposure to certain toxins
  • Cardiac disease, such as:
    • Heart attack
    • Degeneration, calcification, or “wearing out” of the conduction system
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Valvular failure
    • Heart conditions that are inherited or present at birth (congenital heart defects)
  • Electrolyte imbalances (high or low potassium levels)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Rarely seen with lupus or other collagen vascular diseases
  • Head injuries
  • Hypothermia
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Infectious diseases, such as:

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