Monday, 14 November 2016

3rd Degree AV Block

Third-degree atrioventricular block (AV block), also known as complete heart block, is a medical condition in which the impulse generated in the sinoatrial node (SA node) in the atrium of the heart does not propagate to the ventricles.

Because the impulse is blocked, an accessory pacemaker in the lower chambers will typically activate the ventricles. This is known as an escape rhythm. Since this accessory pacemaker also activates independently of the impulse generated at the SA node, two independent rhythms can be noted on the electrocardiogram (ECG).
  • The P waves with a regular P-to-P interval (in other words, a sinus rhythm) represent the first rhythm.
  • The QRS complexes with a regular R-to-R interval represent the second rhythm. The PR interval will be variable, as the hallmark of complete heart block is lack of any apparent relationship between P waves and QRS complexes.
Patients with third-degree AV block typically experience severe bradycardia (an abnormally low measured heart rate), hypotension, and at times, hemodynamic instability.