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Bundle Branch Block

Overview :

Bundle branch block belongs to a group of heart problems called intraventricular conduction defects (IVCD). There are two bundle branches, right and left. The right bundle carries nerve impulses that cause contraction of the right ventricle (the lower chamber of the heart) and the left bundle carries nerve impulses that cause contraction of the left ventricle. The two bundles initially are together at a junction called the bundle of His. Nerve impulses come through the sinus node of the heart to the bundle of His and then move into the right and left bundle branches. Bundle branch block is a slowing or interruption of nerve impulses. A problem may exist in any of the three bundles.

Patients with BBB are generally without symptoms unless the disease is severe enough to cause a complete infranodal A-V block and very slow heart rate. In patients with right bundle branch block (RBBB), the nerve impulse is conducted slowly or not at all. The right ventricle finally receives the impulse through muscle-to-muscle spread, outside the regular nerve pathway. This mechanism of impulse transmission is slow and results in a delayed contraction of the right ventricle. There are several types of left bundle branch block (LBBB), each producing its own characteristic mechanism of failure. In each case, the nerve impulse is blocked or delayed. Patients with LBBB may have left ventricular disease or cardiomyopathy.

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