right bundle branch block
For most people, a right bundle branch block (RBBB) is not a concern since it doesn’t result in symptoms and treatment is not required. Here is when it may be a concern.

A right bundle branch block (RBBB) refers to a total or partial blockage of the right branch of the heart’s conduction system. Many people have had RBBB for years without knowing it. However, an RBBB that develops after a heart attack in a previously normal heart is a matter of concern.

In people with a structurally normal heart, RBBB is not a concern since they won’t experience any symptoms, which means treatment is not required for many cases. However, people who simultaneously experience other heart or lung conditions may need to treat these underlying conditions.

In some cases, RBBB could be a warning sign for some severe heart conditions, such as:

Besides the above, other conditions that an RBBB may indicate include:

What is the right bundle branch block?

Right bundle branch block refers to the heart’s inability to conduct electric signals. It is usually harmless unless accompanied by severe heart disease.

The heart’s conduction system

The heart has four chambers:

  • Two upper, called atria
  • Two lower, called ventricles

In a healthy heart, the electrical signal originates in the sinoatrial node (SA node). The SA node is present in the upper right chamber of the heart. The signal then travels through the left atrium to the ventricles.

Two groups of fibers called the right bundle branch and left bundle branch aids the transfer of signal from the atria to the ventricles. The right bundle branch sends the signal to the right ventricle of the heart.

When there is a block in the right bundle branch, the signals fail to reach the ventricles through the usual pathway. On the contrary, the signal must pass through the left side before entering the right ventricles. As a result, the ventricle takes some time to contract, causing the heart to eject less blood.

Some of the risk factors that can increase the chance of getting the right bundle branch block include:

  • Age
  • Underlying heart or lung problem
  • An interventional heart procedure

What are the complications of the right bundle branch block?

Right bundle branch block (RBBB) blocks the electrical signaling of the heart, so signaling problems can gradually lead to:

Because RBBB may alter the electrical activity of the heart, it may create obstacles to identify other heart diseases, such as heart attacks. It could cause a delay in the appropriate management of the condition. A further intervention, such as sonography, may be advised.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2021
References
Mayo Clinic. Bundle Branch Block. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bundle-branch-block/symptoms-causes/syc-20370514

Texas Heart Institute. Bundle Branch Block. https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/bundle-branch-block/

Cleveland Clinic. Bundle Branch Block. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16815-bundle-branch-block