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Exams and Tests

Bradycardia is most often suspected based on a report of symptoms, by taking your pulse, or both. 

Your health care provider may recommend additional tests to confirm that you, in fact, have bradycardia. Further tests also can help determine its cause. These tests may include:

  • Electrocardiogram to measure and produce tracings of your heart’s electrical activity. However, this test is limited in that you would have to be having an episode of a slow heart rate while the test is being done.
  • Holter monitor (a portable wearable monitor) to record your activity level and heart rhythm, usually worn for 24 to 72 hours.
  • Heart rate monitors on certain wearable smart watches, but talk with your clinician first.

Your health team will also consider and try to rule out other conditions that might be contributing to a slower heart rate. For example, sleep apnea — a sleep disorder that results in shallow or pauses in breathing — can cause bradycardia due to a lack of oxygen. 

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Published: November 2018
Medical Reviewers: Mikhael F. El-Chami, MD, FACC; Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA, FASPC

Infographic: Bradycardia

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