Heart block is a condition where the heart beats much more slowly than normal. It is caused by a delay, or disruption, of the electrical signals that control the heartbeat.
A healthy heart beats between 60 and 80 times a minute. A heartbeat is when the muscles of the heart contract and push blood around the body. These muscle contractions are controlled by electrical signals that travel between the heart’s upper chambers (the atria) and lower chambers (the ventricles).
If these electrical impulses are delayed or stopped), then your heart may not beat regularly. If the electrical signals are stopped completely (complete heart block), then the heart will only beat around 40 times a minute.
Heart block reduces your heart’s efficiency in pushing blood around the body. This means that your muscles and brain may not be getting enough oxygen for them to work properly.
There are three different types of heart block:
© St. Joseph's Hospital 2019