Left bundle branch block (LBBB) may not be serious if you do not have any underlying heart conditions. Many people with LBBB have no symptoms, and some don’t require any treatment at all.
However, whether or not you have symptoms, LBBB requires careful medical assessment. A newly diagnosed left bundle branch block may indicate an underlying health condition that requires medical evaluation and treatment.
LBBB is more serious if you have conditions such as heart failure, heart attack, hypertension, bacterial or viral infection of the heart muscle (myocarditis), or thickened, stiffened, or weakened heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).
What is left bundle branch block?
LBBB is a condition in which there is a problem with the heart’s electrical conduction system. The heart is supplied by a web of nerve tissue that causes the heart to beat. Electrical signals through these nerves help the heart to pump normally.
Your heart is made up of four chambers: the upper two chambers are called atria, whereas the lower two chambers are called ventricles. The right atrium and right ventricle are called the right heart, and the left atrium and left ventricle are called the left heart. Each chamber of the heart is separated by partitions, each of which is called a septum.
Electrical signals that cause the heart to pump are generated in the sinoatrial node (SA node), which is a small mass of muscle cells at the top of the right chamber atrium. The SA node is also called the master pacemaker of the heart:
- Electrical signals from the SA node travel through the heart muscles and cause the atria to contract and pump blood into the ventricles.
- Signals from the SA node are received by another structure called the atrioventricular node (AV node) that in turn sends a signal to the ventricles.
- Muscle fibers from the AV node split into two branches called the bundle branches.
If there is a problem with the branch that sends the electrical signal to the left ventricle, this may interfere with the heart’s pumping activity and result in left bundle branch block.
What are symptoms of left bundle branch block?
Left bundle branch block may not cause any symptoms. However, if symptoms are present, they may include:
How is left bundle branch block treated?
Left bundle branch block may not require any treatment, particularly for people with no symptoms or without any underlying heart condition. However, if LBBB causes symptoms or is severe, or if the patient is older, treatment may be necessary:
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT):
- For people who have heart failure and LBBB
- CRT helps correct the heart rhythm by using pacemaker therapy that ensures that the ventricles contract at the same time, which helps improve the pumping of blood from the heart and minimizes symptoms
- Permanent pacemaker:
- For patients who exhibit symptoms or have another conduction issue in addition to LBBB
- Helps keep the heart beating at a normal rate
- Temporary pacemaker:
- For patients undergoing right heart catheterization or those with acute myocardial infarction (MI) along with a first-degree atrioventricular (AV) block
- Helps keep the heart beating at a normal rate
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Serious Is Left Bundle Branch Block Related Articles
Foods That Are Bad for Your HeartIf you want a healthy ticker, there are some foods you’ll want to indulge in every now and then only. Find out which ones and how to make healthy substitutes.
Heart Attack Prevention OverviewHeart attacks are the major causes of unexpected, sudden death among men and women. A heart attack also is a significant cause of heart failure. The process of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) begins early in life. Heart attack prevention should begin in childhood because the atherosclerosis process can not be reversed. The risk of having a heart attack increases if you have diseases or conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and other heart conditions.
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
CAD SlideshowWhat is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease, arrhythmias and myopathy. Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Explore heart disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Heart Disease QuizTake our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes, symptoms, treatments, testing, and procedures for medically broken hearts.
Heart Failure QuizWhat is heart failure? Learn about this dangerous condition, as well as who is at risk, and what to do about it.
Heart Health: What Is a Healthy and Normal Heart Rate for My Age?Learn normal heart rates by age, for young adults, seniors, and others. What's a healthy resting heart rate? What is your target and maximum heart rate for men and women by age group? Learn these and more here.
Illustrations of the HeartThe muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. See a picture of the Heart and learn more about the health topic.
How Can I Take Care of My Heart at Home?Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in many countries. Keeping the heart healthy no matter how old you are may limit heart diseases and complications.
Is It Normal to Have Irregular Heartbeat After Ablation?Cardiac (heart) ablation is a procedure performed to correct heart arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm/beat). Cardiac ablation works by intentionally injuring or destroying (ablating) and scarring the tissue in the heart that triggers the abnormal heart rhythm.
What Are the Four Main Functions of the Heart?The heart is a muscular organ situated in the chest just behind and slightly toward the left of the breastbone. The heart works all the time, pumping blood through the network of blood vessels called the arteries and veins. The heart is enclosed within a fluid-filled sac called the pericardium. The pericardium is a protective covering that produces fluid, which lubricates the heart and prevents friction between the heart and the surrounding organs.
What Is a Good Resting Heart Rate by Age?Normal resting heart rate (RHR) values can range from anywhere between 60-100 beats per minute (bpm). As cardiovascular fitness increases, the resting heart rate value decreases. Resting heart rate is the number of beats per minute the heart takes while a person is fully rested.
Heart Health: What to Know About Your Heart RateUnderstanding your heart rate and what's healthy for you is an important part of taking care of yourself. Get the facts about heart rates.