Many people email us asking for information about heart block, a fault with the electrical system of the heart.
Lots want to know about heart block treatment options and if heart block can be reversed. Here we go.
The brain controls the heart. It makes the heart go faster and go slower. Molecules and hormones circulating around the body also control heart rate.
At the top of the heart sits a tiny electrical fuse box called the sinus node. The sinus sends electrical signals through the atrial (top 2 chambers), to the AV node, then to the ventricles (bottom 2 chambers).
The ventricles then squeeze blood to the lungs and to the rest of the body.
When the electrical signals are slowed down or do not even make it from the top to the bottom parts of the heart, we cardiologists call that heart block.
There are three “degrees” of heart block: first, second and third. The block itself is usually at the level of the AV node.
Pharmaceuticals, thyroid disease, infection, and other conditions may impact the electrical system leading to heart block. Cause of heart block has not been well studied in the literature and there are many other possible reasons (see below).
If someone has symptoms and no reversible cause can be identified, an implantable pacemaker is often recommended.
If there is a cause, we can find the cure. Or at least try, without immediately reaching for a pacemaker implant.
Unfortunately, if you have a second-degree heart block Mobitz Type 2 or 3rd degree block, time may have run out, especially if you have symptoms. The pacer must be installed.
But the CAUSE still exists, and we need to find it.
For those without symptoms, we should try to find the CAUSE.
In this scenario, I look for everything and try every modality to reverse the heart block.
If we find abnormalities in the above, we need to fix it. Maybe the conducting system of the heart will heal itself. You’re worth the effort.
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