Hi! I am a healthy, 41-year-old female with no past medical history and no family history for heart disease. I was at my doc yesterday for musculoskeletal chest pain, he did an EKG just to be sure, anticipating it to be normal. However, it showed "Abnormal ECG. Right bundle branch block. Leftward axis." We are looking up an old EKG to compare, and doc says depending on if this is a new finding, may need to do a stress test. I know BBB is an electrical malfunction in the heart, but I do not know what this could mean for me in the future, if anything at all. Just how innocent is it? Could it be dangerous in the future? Just wondering if anyone else has experience and knowledge with this disorder. Thanks for any input!
Hi USAFMom. Do you have a bundle branch block eh? Well, i'll tell you a little bit about it. Your heart has some electrical wiring which helps it to coordinate its contractions so as to pump blood more effectively. There is a natural pacemaker in the heart which is located in the right ventricle, this goes down to the AV node and then splits in to two bundle branches. One bundle branch goes to deliver electricity to the right ventricle, while the other goes to deliver it to the left ventricle. In your case, with the right bundle branch block, it means that electricity is not going properly through the "right wire". This doesn't mean that electricity doesn't get there, it means that it must go through the heart muscle itself (instead of the faster conducting bundle branch) and thus your right ventricle is activated a little later than your left ventricle. RBBB is obviously not a good thing, but if your heart rate and blood pressure are controlled within limits, you can go without any complications. It sounds, obviously, that you are not feeling sick. BBBs however are bad if they come on all of a sudden and the patient is feeling very ill (i.e. shortness of breath, chest pain etc. etc.). In this acute case, it usually means that there is something blocking blood flow to the heart and one of the bundle branches is not receiving blood and therefore not working properly (in this case, it is usually a sudden onset LEFT BBB).
I'm glad, however, in your case, the BBB was caught early and you get the proper treatment.
Gosh! Thanks for that great info! Isn't it amazing how one can learn more from other people with the same experience as what they can from the professionals - and their the ones making the big bucks!! Being that this was an incidental finding, I did not feel like I should belabor the issue with the doctor, as my fifteen minutes was up He just said what he would do next, and to wait for a phone call, briefly explained that it had to do with the electrical conduction in the heart.
Can you tell me, is the "block" that is referred to, an actual block of something, or is it like a "short circuit" where conduction is not transmitted. I know in the arteries you have lesions of fat and cholesterol that block the arteries, but I'm not picturing it to be like this, but rather a "miss" in the conduction, or a weak spot along the line. I wonder if this could eventually over the years cause right ventricle hypertrophy, or over-tax that side of the heart? Maybe I'm thinking too much. Anyways, thanks for that great input!
I'm a 45 year old male, and about 5 years ago an ECG showed that I have a
'complete left bundle branch block', on another ECG that was taken
years ago there was no sign of LBBB.
A stress test and echo showed no other problems.
The DOC told me that there was nothing to do about it at the moment,
we would have to wait and see what happens in the future.
I go to the cardiologist once a year for a follow up, when I go and see him he always does the same tests : An EKG an
echo and a stress test.
If you 'google' around a bit you'll find quite a bit of information about BBB on the web, some of it is reassuring, some is very worrying.
Good luck to you.
Thank you Johan for that kind response. I have done some "googling" on the web since my first post and have found some real good info. Most of it was totally reassuring to me. I noticed you mentioned LBBB. One piece of info I got was that LBBB is more potentially dangerous and requires closer monitoring and scrutinizing tests than what RBBB does. I'm glad yours has thus far been totally innocent. I feel confident that my RBBB will be found as a normal variant, posing no significance or harm at all. I'm still waiting for a call from my doc as they are trying to get my last EKG done ten years ago to compare the current one with. If it is a new finding, then he will proceed with stress testing just to be sure.