What Is Congenital Heart Block?


How does congenital heart block affect babies?


Congenital heart block is a rare congenital heart disease where a slowed heart rate is caused by defects in the heart conduction system. The condition is usually asymptomatic and harmless but in severe causes various symptoms and sudden death may occur.  

Thankfully, it is a rare occurrence. If affects only one to five percent of babies born to women with systemic lupus erythematosus.


What is congenital heart block?


Congenital heart block is characterized by interference with the transfer of the electrical nerve impulse that regulate the normal, rhythmic, pumping action of the heart muscle. The severity of such conduction abnormalities varies among affected individuals. The normal heart has four chambers, the two upper chambers are the atria and the two lower chambers are the ventricles. Within the right atrium of a normal heart is a natural pacemaker that initiates and controls the heartbeat. The electrical stimulus travels from the pacemaker to the ventricles along a very specific path consisting of conducting tissue and known as the atrioventricular node. As long as the electrical impulse is transmitted normally, the heart behaves normally.

If the transmission of the signal is impeded, the blocked transmission is known as a heart block or an AV block. So, if the heart block occurs in the fetus or newborn, the condition is known as congenital heart block. More importantly, this condition has nothing to do with the flow of blood or with the blockage of a major or minor coronary artery.  Actually, it is an electrical problem.


How is congenital heart block categorized?


The categories of congenital heart block are first, second and third degree of heart block.


Keywords: congenital heart block



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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.