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Right bundle branch block consists of a change in the normal pattern of the electrocardiogram (ECG), more specifically in the QRS segment, which becomes slightly longer, lasting more than 120 ms. This means that the electrical signal from the heart has some difficulty traveling through the right branch of the heart, causing the right ventricle to contract a little later.
In most cases, right bundle branch block is not serious and is even relatively common, not being an immediate sign of heart disease, although it can also arise due to changes in the heart, such as infection of the heart muscle or a clot in the lung.
Once this blockage is identified by the doctor on a routine ECG, an assessment of the person's history and symptoms is usually done to assess whether treatment is necessary. However, it may be advisable to make some frequent consultations with the cardiologist to keep the alteration under surveillance.
In many people, the right bundle branch block does not cause any type of symptoms and, therefore, the alteration is usually only identified during routine exams.
However, some people may experience symptoms related to the blockage, such as:
- Feeling faint;
Although some of these symptoms are relatively common, if they appear very frequently they can indicate a heart problem and therefore, even if they are not a sign of right bundle-branch block, they should be evaluated by a cardiologist.
Check out other symptoms that could indicate heart problems.
What causes right bundle branch block
In some cases there is no specific cause for the appearance of the right bundle branch block, appearing as a normal alteration of cardiac conduction.
However, when it is caused by a specific cause, the blockage usually arises from:
- A congenital heart defect, such as a defect of the septum or a heart valve;
- Heart muscle infection;
- High pressure in the pulmonary artery;
- Clot in the lungs.
Thus, although it is almost always a benign change, it is important to perform other tests, such as chest X-rays or echocardiograms, to ensure that there is no problem causing the blockage, which requires more specific treatment.
How the treatment is done
In most cases, right bundle-branch block does not cause symptoms and, therefore, often does not require treatment. In these cases, the person can lead a completely normal life with no increased risk of heart disease and no decrease in quality of life.
However, if symptoms exist or the blockage is caused by a specific cause, the cardiologist may recommend treatment with:
- High blood pressure medications such as Captopril or Bisoprolol: help relieve pressure on your arteries if this is the main cause of the blockage;
- Cardiotonic Remedies, such as Digoxin: strengthen the heart muscle, facilitating its contraction;
- Using a temporary pacemaker: although relatively rare, a device is placed under the skin that is connected to the right ventricle through two small wires that help regulate electrical activity of the heart.
In addition, if the person has very frequent fainting, the doctor may also assess whether there is a left bundle branch block and, in these cases, may recommend the permanent use of a pacemaker or cardiac resynchronization therapy, which is similar to the use of a pacemaker, but which has a third wire that is connected directly to the left ventricle, coordinating the heartbeat of the two ventricles.