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What is "complete heart block?"

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  • What is "complete heart block?"

    [What is "complete heart block?"]

    Author: Erica Stolzenberg (---.atlnga1.dsl-verizon.net)

    Date: 11-10-02 12:13

    Reading a report about a procedure and unclear of something. Please explain ...

    -What is "complete heart block?"

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    [Re: What is "complete heart block?"]

    Author: Linda (---.wmnsmd.adelphia.net)

    Date: 11-10-02 15:39

    The heart has a natural "pacemaker"(sinoatrial node or SA node) which initiates the heartbeat in the upper right chamber - the right atrium. This electrical impulse spreads from the right atrium to the left atrium, and down to both ventricles or lower chambers through specialized tissue referred to as the "conduction pathway". The electrical signal passes through the atrioventricular node (AV node), at the lower point of the atrial septum, the junction of the atria and ventricles. It then passes through the ventricular septum via the "Bundle of His" and through the "Purkinje fibers" which transmit the electrical impulse to the muscle cells of the ventricles causing the ventricles to beat or contract. If any part of the electrical pathway is interrupted, it can result in a "block". "Complete heart block" would imply that the upper chambers or atria are beating normally, but the impulse is blocked from passing to the ventricles. This blockage may occur at the AV node or very high in the Bundle of His, before it splits into it's right and left branches. Fortunately, the heart, being the wonderful machine that it is, has backup pacers in the AV node and lower in the conduction system, but the lower down the conduction system the beat is initiated, the lower the heart rate will be. The lower rate allows them to be backup systems. The heart functions most efficiently with the impulse starting at the top as intended. Heart block can occur for any number of reasons, damage from a heart attack, a medication side effect, other diseases,etc. It can be an unintended consequence of alcohol septal abblation. Fortunately, pacemakers are readily available and not the mystery they must have been in their early days. This is surprising a brief summary of the conduction system. The web site has pictures and explanations of the same, making it much more easily understood. Take a look, hope this all helps. How are things going with Dad? Linda

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    [Re: What is "complete heart block?"]

    Author: Erica Stolzenberg (---.ipt.aol.com)

    Date: 11-10-02 17:48

    Linda ... thanks for this detailed reply! Things are ok with dad so far. We leave early tomorrow morning. I read that the ablation can cause "complete heart block." Does this mean that those who have this happen to them will become permanently 'pace maker dependant?' ~ Erica

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    [Re: What is "complete heart block?"]

    Author: Linda, Bd of Directors (---.wmnsmd.adelphia.net)

    Date: 11-10-02 18:31

    Yes, but rest assured, this is only a warning of a possibility. Even if it did occur, it could resolve over a time period. In any case, they would be prepared ahead of time and the pacemaker would be in and working in a very timely fashion. Just keep thinking in terms of how fortunate we are in this day and age to have so much technology and talent available to use it. Not so long ago, HCM-ers weren't given all these options. Safe journey! Linda

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    [Re: What is "complete heart block?"]

    Author: Lisa Salberg (---.dyn.optonline.net)

    Date: 11-10-02 19:28

    Erica -

    I would expect that your dad will have at least a temporary pacer after the procedure...so do not become alarmed whould you see him with one. If he needs a perm. pacer, this is really no big deal either...it is far more simple then the ablation!

    Give your dad our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    Best wishes...and remember... breath, think and just be his daughter!

    Lisa

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    [Re: What is "complete heart block?"]

    Author: Lisa Salberg (---.dyn.optonline.net)

    Date: 11-10-02 19:37

    Oh one more thing... Great reply Linda! I told you all she was good!

    Love,

    Lisa
    NOTE: This is a post from the previous forum message board.

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