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THE DISEASED HEART: YOUR QUESTIONS & DOCTOR’S ANSWERS - WHAT EXACTLY IS A HEART BLOCK ? DO SUCH BLOCKS AFFECT THE FUNCTIONING OF THE HEART ?

Q. What exactly is a heart block ?

A. You see, each heart beat arises spontaneously in the right atrium, from the SA and left branches. These conduction channels may be involved in the ischaemic process. Complete heart block may develop when no impulse can pass from the atria to the ventricles. The ventricles start contracting on their own at about half the normal rate in an effort to keep the life going. Any of the bundle branches may be similarly affected causing bundle branch blocks.

Q. Do such blocks affect the functioning of the heart ?

A. Proper functioning of the heart depends upon the various chambers contracting according to the proper timing and in unison. This activity is lost to varying degrees depending upon the type of block. The pumping function of the ventricles is, therefore, adversely affected. The heart may not be able to maintain blood circulation effectively, if this effect is severe.

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