Also known as: atrioventricular block, AV block, bradycardia, arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythm
What is Heart Block?
Heart block is a problem that occurs with the heart’s electrical system. This system controls the speed and the rhythm of the hearts’ beats. Heart block occurs when an electrical signal is slowed or is disrupted. For example a heart that beats too slowly, also known as bradycardia, is one potential cause of heart block. The block can either be a complete or partial and there are three types- first degree, second degree and third degree, with third degree being the most severe.
What causes heart block?
Some individuals are born with heart block as a congenital abnormality. Other times, it occurs later in life after a medical condition such as heart failure, rheumatic fever, heart disease or a heart attack.
What are the symptoms of heart block?
Signs and symptoms depend on the type of heart block. When heart block is mild ( first degree heart block ) the heart compensates, and the condition causes no symptoms. As it worsens, however, it can lead to fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and even fainting.
What are heart block care options?
Mild cases of heart block require no treatment, only careful monitoring. When heart block begins causing symptoms, the typical treatment is surgery to implant a pacemaker in the heart to regulate the heartbeat.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 11:54:16 AM
From the Newsdesk
Naialee Perez had just given birth to her first child, a baby boy named Liam, when a category five hurricane was making its way towards her hometown in the island of Puerto Rico. Liam was on a ventilator and undergoing treatment for a congenital heart defect in Hospital del Niño in San Juan while those on the island prepared for what would become one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in its history.
While he was still inside his mother’s womb, Luife was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect. Shortly after birth, Luife was taken by ambulance to the cardiac team at Nicklaus Children’s. The pediatric cardiology team took Luife’s heart apart, piece by delicate piece, and successfully, put it back together. Today, Luife is a healthy, active and outgoing 8-year-old boy who wears his “Scar of Honor” with pride.