What is Heart Block?
In the heart, electrical signals are sent from the top chambers to the bottom ones to signal those chambers to pump. In heart block, there is either damage or delay in this electrical signaling.
The more severe the block, the slower the heart pumps. At worst, the heart block can prevent communication between the top and bottom chambers completely, leading to “complete heart block.”
Heart block can occur from medications, heart attacks, valve disease, or diseases that damage the electrical tissue in the heart, trauma, or normal aging.
Symptoms of Heart Block
In early stages and in milder forms, heart block often has no symptoms. As heart block worsens, it can lead to fatigue, slow pulse or shortness of breath.
In the worst cases, patients can experience dizziness and passing out spells.
UR Medicine's Treatments for Heart Block
- The first step is to decrease the dose of any offending medications or stop them altogether.
- If the cause is from blockages in the arteries of the heart, fixing those blockages can sometimes improve the heart block.
- If the heart block is severe enough and does not respond to medication or other treatment, the patient may require a pacemaker.
Diagnostic tests include electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram, Holter and event monitors, continuous ambulatory telemetry, and implantable loop recorders.
What Sets Us Apart?
We treat heart block in our Electrophysiology Lab, which offers some of the most advanced treatments available for heart rhythm disorders. In many cases, our treatments can permanently cure a heart rhythm problem so no further medication is needed.
Our program features:
- Specialists in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders who treat thousands of cases a year.
- Treatments unavailable elsewhere in the Rochester region.
- Expertise that attracts patients from all over the world.
- Patient access to clinical trials exploring new methods for treating heart rhythm disorders.
- Three fully equipped labs for ablation and device implants, staffed by expert nurses and technicians.
- World-class expertise in identifying who needs defibrillators to prevent sudden cardiac death.
UR Medicine Cardiac Care is the area's only center to receive a Gold Plus Performance Award from the American Heart Association, meeting the highest standards for treating heart failure, coronary artery disease, and stroke.
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