Slow heart rate or Bradycardia: Will my heart stop?

This video is about Slow heart rate or Bradycardia: Will my heart stop?
Hi Guys…my name is Sanjay Gupta and I am a cardiologist in York. To speak with me , visit

Today I wanted to do a video (as requested by my facebook friend Leah) on slow heart rates or as we doctors refer to it…Bradycardia.
The normal range for heart rate at rest is between 60-100 beats per minute. If you heart rate is over 100 at rest then it is described as tachycardia and if it is below 60.min then it is called bradycardia.

It is not uncommon for people to measure their heart rates and find it to be low or sometimes patients have holters and get told their heart rates are down to 30-40 beats per minute and this causes a great deal of anxiety because the automatic assumption is that the heart could slow down so much that it will stop

Truthfully this almost never happens and is an unjustified concern. In this video I will be able to explain why.

1) it is important to understand the electrics of the heart. The heart is myogenic i.e the electricity is produced within the heart cells itself. All the muscles of the heart are capable of producing electricity but there is one area of the heart which can produce the electrical impulses at the highest rate and this cluster of cells is called the Sinus node or the pacemaker of the heart. The sinus node can be likened to a man with a drum…he hits the drum and waits for the echo to die down and hits the drum. There are certain external influences which will tell the drummer to speed up or to slow down…

so adrenaline for example which is generate when you are exercising or stressed or scared or even ill will
tell the drummer to beat faster
And then there is acetylcholine which is influenced by the vagus nerve when you are resting or sleeping or even digesting which will tell the drummer to slow down

So the heart rate is situational…ie the normal heart rate is different for different situations….and therefore a heart rate of 30-40 may be completely fine when you are sleeping but will be slow for someone who is on the treadmill.

Secondly if you remove the pacemaker, that doesn’t mean the heart stops beating… another cluster of cells will take over but they wont beat as fast or strong as when the natural pacemaker is.

1) What is the heart rate and why is it important?
The heart function is to pump oxygen rich round blood round the body and to be able to pump the blood round, it has to beat at least a certain minimum number of times to get the blood round. If it doesn’t beat the minimum number of times, not as much blood will get round.. and therefore our vital organs wont get as much blood and therefore they will not function as well. Although a heart rate of less than 60 is considered slow, it often has no impact on us because as the heart slows down, the heart has more time to fill with blood and therefore although it is slower it will push more blood with each beat and therefore probably the overall same amount of blood gets round. At a certain rate however, the filling of blood will not compensate for the slow heart rate and I would say that this value would probably be even less than 45/min. Now the most sensitive part of our body to a reduction in blood supply is our brain and if our brain doesn’t get as much blood as it needs, we feel dizzy and therefore one of the first signs of our heart rate being too slow is dizziness or even blackouts if the heart rate is very slow and if these happen most people go and ask for help and the slow heart rate is picked up.

40 Comments on “Slow heart rate or Bradycardia: Will my heart stop?”

  1. My heart rate has gone to 38 at times, and my blood pressure shoots up periodically. My left arm, and left jaw gets tight daily, when my blood pressure shoots up. My medication, losartan 50mg qd does not control my pressure very well. I've tried amlodipine, nifedipine, and lisinopril to no avail. I don't feel dizzy, but the tightening bothers me alot. My physicians are watching to determine if I need a pacemaker. I haven't been able to work in a year and a half. I've had many tests, and my physician has not found anything. My quality of life has declined significantly, and my doctor blames my problems on anxiety. I am not anxious and really would like to know what is wrong.

  2. Today, I drank 2 cups of coffee in the afternoon. After that I took a nap for around 30 minutes. When I woke up I felt dizzy and shaky. Then I counted my heart rates and it appeared that it was under sixty. Is it because I consumed too much caffeine? a cup of coffee I drank contains around 50 mg caffeine. I don't think 100 mg caffeine is too much.

  3. I developed tachycardia following heart surgery last year. It lasted a month before flipping to bradycardia. My HR went into the 30’s but I was symptom free. A reduction in medication in recent weeks means I’m now have a resting HR of 50 BPM. Feeling great and exercising a lot

  4. Thank you so much for this video. I quit alcohol and drugs 3 months ago and I’ve been suffering terrible anxiety, especially about my heart. I’ve been really concerned that my resting heart rate gets into the low/mid 50s. This video has helped reassure me. Thank you!

  5. I'm due to get a pacemaker in two days, you have put my mind at ease. Thank you so much! I'm 77 yrs. Old and don't really have any outer symptoms but my pulse is up to 70 and down to 35 and anywhere in between, even lower while sleeping. It never gets high. So because of my age and history, I think it's a good move. Wish me luck.

  6. hi doc..i'm confused my ecg shown that i do have sinus bradycardia as it has being check by ink but everytime i listen to my pulse it's always 60 physician prescribed me propranolo inderal 10mg for palpitation as i've said i'm hearing my heart beats to my left ear more often but sometimes not..

  7. I wake up and feel like I can't breath my kidneys hurt and was recently positive for some type of lupus or connected tissue disease I'm so scared all the time I already have hashimotos and since covid 2 times my hearts never been the same I'm 33 and now I'm healthy but I had an eating disorder so ibfeel like I caused this

  8. My resting bpm is 46. Everyday. It used to be 130 bpm all the time. Taking a shower my heart rate gets to be 160 to 170 zone. Doctors say my heart is strong. They can't explain why. Can the heart slow if electrical energy in body is low.

  9. Exercise and improved fitness will also lower your resting heart rate as your heart increases in efficiency. It's a goal of those who exercise for better fitness. So if you work out a lot and your resting heart rate has gotten slower over the months and you have no negative symptoms, that's your reward!

  10. hey doc I am 85 and some kid scribbles on my ecg before the doc gets it returned ,often I get down to 32 yet have no symptoms and when we round up the cattle the guys ride horses and I run but dont want suddenly at 92 yrs that I must have a pacemaker cos I live on my own

  11. It helps me right now. Thank you doc! i just want to ask if the anti histamine like prednisone and zykast can cause bradycardia i feel dizziness but my heart beat is 62 is the lowest

  12. I'm two weeks out from having covid and my heart rate is dropping low 50s. It's gotten down to 47 at one point. I've been having chest pains and shortness of breath. My oxygen levels have all been normal. Went to the hospital vitals were normal minus the low heart rate, ekg was normal, bw was all normal. They told me to follow up with a cardiologist. 😔

  13. Wonderful video doctor thank you so much my question would be how do I know if my dizziness in my lightheadedness is caused by my heart? How would I know the heart is responsible for those symptoms? Meaning what test would you recommend to identify if I am indeed, getting less blood in my brain?

    Doctor sometimes my heart just dropped to 44 bpm or in the low 50s and then it goes up a bit after few seconds

  14. Dr. Thank you for taking the time to put these videos out. Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a resting heart rate around 55 and when I sleep it sometimes dips to around 48. When I get up and walk around it goes up into the 90-100 mark. I had Covid in sept 2021 and since then have had major anxiety. I’ve went to the ER twice and two different hospitals have said they see no issues with my heart. The reason I went is because I was light headed and felt fatigued and with that my slower heart rate. In December 2021 I wore a heart monitor for two weeks and that result was I had some PAC’s and PVC’s, no signs of blockage or abnormal arrhythmia. They didn’t see any cause for concerns. To this day however I am still light headed and fatigued. I didn’t feel this particularly way before Covid. I’m still trying to get it in my mind that it’s just Covid symptoms.

  15. Thank you! I am fasting for 3 days (my first time) ending day 2 currently and my blood pressure is wonderful but my bpm is 58. I intermittent fast daily 20/4 and wanted to fast for personal reasons not related to weight loss. I was concerned until watching this video. Thank you so much. Day 3 here I come!

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