A person’s heart is a pump that beats according to a particular rhythm. Every individual’s heartbeat is different and will speed up and slow down according to their individual level of activity.

The sinus rhythm refers to a person’s heartbeat. In this case, the word sinus does not refer to the sinus cavities in the face, but the sinoatrial node. Also called the “sinus” node, it is located in the upper chamber located on the right side of the heart (right atrium). An abnormal heartbeat, or sinus arrhythmia, is any disruption that occurs during a person’s resting phase.

The heart can begin to beat in a different rhythm when a person breathes differently, becomes excited or performs strenuous activity. As long as the heart beats in a steady rhythm, it is said to be normal. If it deviates, especially during the period between heartbeats, a sinus arrhythmia has occurred.

What Is Sinus Arrhythmia?

An irregular heartbeat often occurs when a person’s heartbeat begins to speed up as they breathe in. Known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia, this is rather harmless. It occurs more frequently in children than adults and is considered to be a psychological response to a stressful event or physical activity.

The sinus node is also referred to as the “pacemaker” of the heart. When the heart’s rhythm is off, especially when it refers to the arrhythmia associated with reception, it is not thought of as a significant health problem. It will normally correct itself when the stressor goes away or the physical activity is completed.

Is It Dangerous?

While respiratory sinus arrhythmia is not considered a major health concern, non-respiratory sinus arrhythmia may have substantial repercussions. This is when the heart beats abnormally at other times, aside from during a regular breathing cycle. This type of arrhythmia often occurs in the elderly and may be indicative of various stages of heart disease.

While the exact cause of both types of arrhythmia is unknown, when it pertains to the elderly, the arrhythmia occurs most often when the heartbeat is slow or the person is at rest. People who suffer from sleep apnea may be more apt to suffer from irregular heartbeats or an arrhythmia than someone who breathes normally when sleeping.

How is Sinus Arrhythmia Treated?

Depending on what type of sinus arrhythmia a person has, a doctor has various ways to treat the condition. If the condition persists and has been associated with other types of heart disease, certain procedures may be recommended. Pacemakers, for example, are commonly considered for elderly individuals who may exhibit an abnormal heartbeat. For some people, a slight abnormality in their heart rate may be normal. For others, it may indicate the need for immediate treatment.

When an irregular heartbeat occurs in a child, the condition often rectifies itself as he or she gets older. A child’s heart is still growing and developing, so an abnormal heartbeat is often times attributed to the changing of the heart muscle as the body grows. Although the doctor will closely monitor a child’s heart if an abnormal rhythm presents itself, most will not attempt to treat the problem unless it becomes extremely severe. If the child does not grow out of the sinus arrhythmia, a doctor may choose to treat it as the child begins adolescence.

American Sinus Institute

At the American Sinus Institute, our doctors can answer any questions a person may have about sinus arrhythmia. Individuals who have trouble breathing due to blocked sinus passages may experience respiratory sinus arrhythmias that can eventually damage the heart if not treated effectively. Contact us for more information.