HEART BLOCK

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Cardiology;Interventional Cardiology;Cardio-thoracic and Vascular surgery

Cardiology , Interventional Cardiology , Cardio-thoracic and Vascular surgery

ABOUT THE DISEASE

In a normal heart, the heartbeat is initiated from a specific area in the upper right chamber of heart termed as Sino atrial node (SA node). This electrical signal then travels down through the heart to the atrioventricular (AV) node, from where it passes to the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) along special fibers embedded in the heart wall. In people with heart block, also called AV block, this electrical signal that controls the heartbeat is partially or completely blocked from reaching the ventricles.

It may be present since birth(congenital) or may develop later in life (acquired).

Depending on the severity, it may be of three types- first degree, second degree, and third degree. First degree is the least severe, and may be seen in athletes, young adults, people with a highly active vagus nerve, etc and usually does not require any treatment. Third degree is the most severe, and requires prompt treatment.

Heart block

SYMPTOMS

First-degree heart block may not cause any symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of second- and third-degree heart block include:

  • • Fainting
  • • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • • Shortness of breath
  • • Chest pain

CAUSES

- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Cardiomyopathy
- Rheumatic fever
- Certain medicines, including beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers
- Diseases, such as sarcoidosis, Lyme disease, SLE
- Heart or heart valve surgery
- Congenital heart defects

DIAGNOSIS

- Physical examination
- ECG
- Holter monitoring
- Electrophysiology studies
- Echocardiogram
- Cardiac stress testing
- Coronary angiography

TREATMENT METHODS

Treatment depends on the type of heart block. In case of first-degree heart block, treatment is generally not required.

In some cases of second-degree heart block, and all with third-degree heart block, will need a pacemaker.


You may also like to learn about:

Cardiomyopathy
Heart failure
Heart valve disease
Coronary Artery Disease
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD)
Chest pain


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