Symptoms of Bradycardia

Often the symptoms of Bradycardia can be subtle such as dizziness, sweating, lethargy or confusion. However, there is a range of devices to assist in monitoring for abnormal heart rates.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Bradycardia?

There is a range of symptoms and signs that may elude to bradycardia as a possible diagnosis. Some of the signs may be subtle and others are more alarming, depending on the cause and the resulting heart rate.

Below are some of the potential signs and symptoms of Bradycardia:

  • Fainting or feeling dizzy,
  • Sweating,
  • Lethargy,
  • Shortness of breath, or
  • Confusion.


How to diagnose Bradycardia

Some people may not be aware of having Bradycardia until a routine examination with their General Practitioner or if they have an Electrocardiogram (ECG) which may demonstrate the abnormal, slow heart rhythm. Upon reviewing an ECG, it may reveal that there is an electrical abnormality within the patients’ heart. However, in some cases, a formal diagnosis may not be made quickly due to the transient symptoms outlined above.

In these cases, other diagnostic investigations for Bradycardia may include:

  • Blood tests to identify electrolyte or hormonal abnormalities
  • Exercise stress echocardiography testing
  • Electrophysiological study: a clinical test performed in a cardiac catheter lab to test the electrical pathways of the heart through catheters that are temporarily inserted into the heart
  • Holter monitor: is a wearable, portable ECG device that constantly monitors heart rates typically over a 24 hour period, however, there are extended periods available if required
  • Event Recorders: patient activated devices that are used to link heart rhythms to specific symptoms, however, these devices may have limited applications
  • Implantable loop recorders may be used to continuously monitor the heart for signs of bradycardia as well as faster heart rates such as ventricular tachycardia. These recorders may be used for up to 3 years and can have the potential to auto-capture heart rhythms and then send this information to a patients’ Cardiology team through a home monitoring system
  • Wearable monitors: a growing trend in monitoring heart rates through a variety of wearable monitors that can be “worn” for a period of time and the collected data will be reviewed by a doctor.
  • Smart Watches: an increasing number of smartwatches are able to monitor and record heart rhythms and alert patients if it records an abnormal heart rate. The Apple Watch is currently approved in some countries as a suitable technology to accurately monitor heart rates and notify patients and in some cases their doctors.
  • Hand-Held devices: there is also a growing number of “monitors” that record heart rates and connect to an app on a patient’s smartphone to transmit this information to a clinic for review.2


Below are a variety of technologies available to monitor for bradycardia:

Holter Monitor: 

Image of an Holter monitor
Source: Mayo Clinic


Wearable Heart Monitor:

Image of wearable heart monitor
Source: Comunicati


An example of an Implantable Loop Recorder:

Image of of an implantable loop recorder
Source: Clark County Blog


An example of a handheld device that records heart rates:

Image of example of a handheld device to record heart rates
Source: Alive Technologies


What are the complications of Bradycardia?

Bradycardia can lead to several complications ranging from:

  • Fatigue,
  • Lethargy,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Inability to self-care,
  • Falls or collapsing,
  • Injuries associated with a fall, and in the worst case,
  • Sudden death.3


Patient Disclaimer: All content on the Hope For Hearts site is created and published online for general information purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Please see your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.