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Heart block

A condition that causes a slower than normal heartbeat

Heart block is an abnormal heart rhythm caused by a problem with the electrical process that tell your heart when to beat

About

Heart block means that the electrical signals in your heart are slowed down or blocked as they travel from the top chambers of your heart to the bottom chambers. There are different levels of heart block. First-degree heart block usually causes no problem, whereas third-degree heart block can be life-threatening.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of heart block icon plus

    Depending on the level of heart block you have, you may not experience any symptoms. Some people always have heart block, but in others the condition can come and go. Symptoms can include:

    • dizziness
    • fainting (syncope)
    • feeling like your heart skips a beat
    • shortness of breath
    • fatigue
    • irregular heartbeat
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Heart block may be diagnosed during routine tests for other conditions. The main test used to diagnose heart block is an electrocardiogram (ECG), which measures the electrical activity of your heart. Other diagnostic tests may include a Holter monitor test, where you'll wear an ECG device continuously over a period of time to track your heart's rhythm; and/or an implantable loop recorder, which is a small device that's placed underneath the skin in your chest and records your heart rhythm for up to three years.

  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Some levels of heart block do not need treatment. Your treatment options depend on the level of heart block you have and on your symptoms. For second or third-degree heart block, you may need to have a pacemaker fitted. Your consultant may also make changes to any medicine that you're taking. Your consultant will let you know your treatment options and help to determine the best approach for you.

Degrees of heart block

First-degree heart block

First-degree heart block doesn't usually cause symptoms or need treatment. It's usually diagnosed when someone is being tested for other conditions.

Second-degree heart block

There are two types of second-degree heart block, Mobitz type one and Mobitz type two. Type two can progress to third-degree heart block.

Third-degree heart block

Third-degree heart block is the most serious as the electrical signals do not go from the top chambers of your heart to the bottom chambers at all.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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