Medical Definition of Rhythm, sinus

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

Rhythm, sinus: The normal regular rhythm of the heart set by the natural pacemaker of the heart called the sinoatrial (or sinus) node. It is located in the wall of the right atrium (the right upper chamber of the heart). Normal cardiac impulses start there and are transmitted to the atria and down to the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart).

Sinus arrhythmia refers to the normal increase in heart rate that occurs during inspiration (when you breathe in). This is a normal response and is more accentuated in children than adults.

Sinus tachycardia refers to a fast heartbeat (tachycardia) because of rapid firing of the sinoatrial (sinus) node. This occurs in response to exercise, exertion, excitement, pain, fever, excessive thyroid hormone, low blood oxygen (hypoxia), stimulant drugs (such as caffeine), etc.

The lack of normal sinus rhythm is an arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018