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Heart Block, Congenital

Abstract

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Synonyms of Heart Block, Congenital

  • Atrioventricular (AV) Block

Disorder Subdivisions

  • First Degree Congenital Heart Block
  • Second Degree Con. Heart Block (Wenckebach [Mobitz I]; Mobitz II; included)
  • Third Degree Congenital (Complete) Heart Block

General Discussion

Congenital heart block is characterized by interference with the transfer of the electrical nerve impulses (conduction) that regulate the normal, rhythmic, pumping action of the heart muscle (heart block). The severity of such conduction abnormalities varies among affected individuals.

The normal heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers are the atria and the two lower chambers are the ventricles. Within the right atrium of a normal heart is a natural pacemaker that initiates and controls the heartbeat. The electrical stimulus travels from the pacemaker (sinoatrial or SA node) to the ventricles along a very specific path consisting of conducting tissue and known as the AV (atrioventricular) node. As long as the electrical impulse is transmitted normally, the heart behaves normally.

If the transmission of the signal is impeded, the blocked transmission is known as a heart block or an AV block. If the heart block occurs in the fetus or newborn, the condition is known as congenital heart block. This condition has nothing at all to do with the flow of blood or with the blockage of a major or minor coronary artery. It is an electrical problem rather than a hydraulic one.

Heart blocks are categorized according to the degree of impairment of the patient. The categories are first, second and third degree heart block.

Organizations related to Heart Block, Congenital

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