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Left Bundle Branch Block: Overview

By HERWriter
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Left bundle branch block related image Photo: Getty Images

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), ʺFor people over age 65, heart failure is the number one cause of death, with nearly 290,000 people dying from this disease each year. Nevertheless, although heart failure produces very high mortality rates, treatment advances in hypertension, heart surgeries, and heart pacemakers are improving survival rates.ʺ

More than 30 percent of patients with heart failure may develop a left bundle branch block.

The UMMC website stated ʺa left bundle-branch block is an abnormality in electrical conduction in the heart.ʺ

To understand a left bundle branch block or LBBB, you have to know the difference between your heart’s rhythm and conduction. The American Heart Association’s website explained it like this, ʺYour heart’s rhythm is its pace or beat. Conduction is the progression of electrical impulses through the heart which cause the heart to beat. You can have a conduction disorder without having an arrhythmia, but some arrhythmias arise from conduction disorders.ʺ

The Texas Heart Institute at Luke’s Episcopal Hospital website revealed the following general information about bundle branch blocks, ʺThe medical terms for bundle branch block are derived from which branch is affected. If the block is located in the right bundle branch, it is called right bundle branch block. If the block is located in the left bundle branch, it is called left bundle branch block.ʺ

In general, a person with LBBB will not have any symptoms. The only way an LBBB can be diagnosed is with an electrocardiogram. The UMMA confirmed, ʺA left bundle branch block shows up as an abnormality when the electrical impulses through the heart are recorded with an electrocardiogram (ECG).ʺ

According to Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, ʺA left bundle branch block usually is a sign of an underlying heart disease, including dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, aortic valve disease, coronary artery disease and other heart conditions. While left bundle branch block can appear in healthy people, it most often does not.ʺ

However, the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute website also stated, ʺa block in the left bundle branch can sometimes be benign and not cause problems. However, it always interferes with using an electrocardiogram to diagnose heart disease.ʺ

In regards to treatment, the American Heart Association claimed, ʺUsually no treatment is required, but your healthcare provider will want to see you regularly to be sure no other changes occur. You may have bundle branch block for many years and still feel fine, but it's important to have regular check-ups.ʺ

Consequently, if your doctor believes there is the possibility of an underlying heart issue, he may request additional tests.


Bundle Branch Block - Cedars-Sinai. Cedars-Sinai – A Non-Profit Hospital in Los Angeles . Retrieved December 13, 2011, from

Bundle Branch Block - Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center. Texas Heart Institute. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://texasheart.org/HIC/Topics/Cond/bbblock.cfm

Conduction Disorders. www.heart.org. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/AboutArrhythmia/Conduction-Disorders_UCM_302046_Article.jsp

Heart failure - Complications. University of Maryland Medical Center | Home. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/who_gets_congestive_heart_failure_what_risk_factors_000013_4.htm

Reviewed December 14, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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April 13, 2012 - 7:40am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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