What is sinus arrhythmia?

Sinus arrhythmia is a normal variation in the beating of your heart. Having a sinus arrhythmia may sound frightening because the term arrhythmia is also used to refer to an irregular or disorganized heart rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation or ventricular fibrillation. These irregular or disorganized heart rhythms can be serious or life threatening. However, having a sinus arrhythmia is a normal condition.

A sinus arrhythmia occurs when your heart rate cycles with your breathing. When you breathe in, your heart rate speeds up slightly. When you breathe out, your heart rate slows back down. This is also referred to as a respiratory sinus arrhythmia.

Sinus arrhythmia can occur at any age, in both males and females. However, it tends to be more obvious and common in children.

Sinus arrhythmiashould not be confused with potentially serious cardiac arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, and heart blocks. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have serious symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure, palpitations, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or fainting. These symptoms may be combined with pale or bluish lips, fast heart rate, sweating, and anxiety.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of sinus arrhythmia?

Sinus arrhythmia is a normal variation in heart rate when your heart rate cycles with your breathing. In this type of arrhythmia, your heart rate speeds up when you breathe in and slows down when you breathe out. If you have sinus arrhythmia and you know how to take your pulse, you may notice a slight change in pulse rate as you breathe in and out. Otherwise, there are generally are no symptoms... Read more about sinus arrhythmiasymptoms

CAUSES

What causes sinus arrhythmia?

Sinus arrhythmia, also known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia, is a normal variation in your heart rate. It is caused by normal variations in vagal tone. Vagal tone refers to signals from the vagus nerve. Your vagus nerve runs from your brain to your chest and abdomen. Signals from the vagus nerve help regulate your heart rate. Variations in vagal tone are common in children and will lessen, but... Read more about sinus arrhythmiacauses

TREATMENTS

How is sinus arrhythmia treated?

Because a respiratory sinus arrhythmia is a normal variation in heart rate, no treatment is needed. If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as heart palpitations or skipped heartbeats, contact your healthcare provider for proper evaluation.

What are the potential complications of sinus arrhythmia?

Sinus arrhythmia is a normal variation in heart rate and does not le... Read more about sinus arrhythmiatreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 8, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation