What is the role of medications in the treatment of sinus bradycardia?

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Mark W Livingston, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Answer

Drug treatment of sinus bradycardia is usually not indicated for asymptomatic patients. In symptomatic patients, underlying electrolyte or acid-base disorders or hypoxia should be corrected. Intravenous atropine may provide temporary improvement in symptomatic patients, although its use should be balanced by an appreciation of the increase in myocardial oxygen demand this agent causes. [10]

Although in the past, isoproterenol was used quite commonly in patients with bradycardia, further appreciation of its substantial risks has diminished its role. Temporary pacing is recommended in symptomatic patients who are unresponsive or only temporarily responsive to atropine, or in whom atropine therapy is contraindicated. Transcutaneous pacing, where available, is the initial procedure of choice.


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