Anesthesiology/bradycardia

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Question
Hello, thank you for taking the time to read this. My question is A) How many heartbeats per minute, on the slow side, (during surgery) is considered dangerous? and B) How is bradycardia during surgery treated-what is done to the patient? If this info helps: I am a 28 year old female, healthy, no health issues whatsoever except the reason for the surgery-robotic pyeloplasty to treat a congenital defect causing hydronephrosis. Thank you.

Answer
I was asked a very similar question in July 2011, but I'll try to answer your specific concerns.

A "slow" heart rate is relative...that is, it depends on what your normal, or resting, heart rate is.  60 to 90 beats per minute is about average, but a healthy active young adult may run around 50; an elderly person who takes beta blockers may run the same; a 10 year-old may be 110.  

Based on your info, I'd probably be concerned if, during your operation, your heart rate decreased to the 40's. It's only dangerous if it significantly decreases your blood pressure or oxygenation...both of which are continually monitored during surgery.  In abdominal surgeries, like the one you're having, a decreased heart rate is common. Without getting into the technical details, it would not be a surprising occurrence, and a number of IV medications, like atropine, glycopyrrolate, and epinephrine, are immediately available to the anesthesiologist if the heart rate does not return to a higher level spontaneously.  

I suspect when you speak to your anesthesiologist prior to surgery, he or she will give you a fairly similar answer. Good luck with your surgery!

Anesthesiology

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Arjav Shah, M.D.

Expertise

I have a broad anesthetic experience in my Dallas practice, so I can answer most questions about anesthesia, but defer to other's expertise in chronic pain management

Experience

Board-certified in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, in practice since 1999. I have been in private practice in Dallas since 2001, and am a strong supporter of physician-only anesthesia.

Education/Credentials
Residency in Surgery and Anesthesiology at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at Wake Forest University

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