How is Third Degree Treatment for Heart Blockage Becoming the Talk of the Town?

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In a total heart block, there is no AV conduction. Neither of the supraventricular signals is carried to the ventricles.

Instead, junctional and ventricular escape rhythms keep the perfusing beat going. Alternatively, the patient could have a ventricular stoppage, resulting in syncope (if self-terminating) or abrupt cardiac death (if prolonged).

The 3rd-degree heart block is extremely common, while third-degree AV blocks are uncommon in patients. However, the incidence is minimal in the general population, at around 0.02 percent to 0.04 percent.


A variety of factors can cause complete heart block:

The causes of Mobitz I and Mobitz II second-degree heart block are the same.

  • Myocardial infarction in the inferior chamber.
  • Drugs inhibit AV nodes (e.g., calcium-channel blockers, beta-blockers, digoxin).
  • True trifascicular block is caused by idiopathic degeneration of the conducting system (Lenegre's or Lev's disease).

Clinical relevance:

  • Patients with third-degree heart block have the risk of a ventricular standstill and abrupt cardiac death.
  • They require immediate hospitalization for cardiac monitoring, temporary backup pacing, and, in most cases, permanent pacemaker implantation.

Patients with 3rd-degree heart block might present it in a variety of ways. Patients are asymptomatic in a small percentage of cases. Generalized exhaustion, tiredness, chest pain, breathlessness, presyncope, and syncope are common symptoms. They may be obtunded as well as have substantial hemodynamic instability. Depending on the concurrent condition and the rate of the escape rhythm, the status at the time of diagnosis can change. Ischemic symptoms such as chest discomfort or dyspnea are common in patients with total AV-block and acute myocardial infarction. The existence of cardiovascular disease and its health conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and smoking, will be included in the past medical history.

Bradycardia is commonly detected during a physical examination for a 3rd-degree heart block. Because the atria and ventricles contract at the same time, JVP testing frequently reveals cannon A-waves. As a result, a massive pressure wave is experienced against the vein. Diaphoresis, tachypnea, altered mental status, retraction, chilly skin, as well as impaired capillary refill are all signs of decompensated heart failure, respiratory distress, and hypo perfusion.

Any new murmurs should be noticed because there is a strong link between total AV block and cardiomyopathies, mitral calcification, aortic calcification, and endocarditis. Therefore, urgent pacing is essential if there is coexisting cardiac failure, as demonstrated by S gallop, peripheral edema, or hepatomegaly. In addition, any indicators of infection or skin rashes, including rheumatic fever, Lyme disease, or endocarditis, which induce heart blockages, should be taken seriously.



The use of intravenous atropine to treat 3rd-degree heart block, as recommended by advanced cardiac life support, is the first step in treating symptomatic bradycardic patients. Unfortunately, because atropine operates on the AV node, it is rarely successful in patients with full heart block boosting their heart rate. In third-degree AV block, medicinal alternatives for treating symptomatic bradycardia include dopamine and epinephrine; however, these may only act as a temporary support measure and may be ineffective in boosting the patient's heart rate. Pacing is frequently required in patients with third-degree heart block. Transcutaneous pacing is faster, but it requires both electrical and mechanical capture.

If transcutaneous pacing fails, a transvenous pacemaker will be required. A cardiologist/electrophysiologist consultation for the insertion of a permanent pacemaker is most suited in stable patients. Pacing may not be effective if the underlying conditions triggering the heart block are not treated; this is especially true in the case of drug toxicity. Although pacing may be attempted in these patients, the clinician's first concern should be to deal with the underlying problem. Temporary pacing is an option in the cath lab for individuals with heart block caused by an acute myocardial infarction. In individuals with an acute inferior infarct caused by an obstructed right coronary artery, prompt recovery of arterial perfusion can typically result in complete heart block improvement.

Complete 3rd-degree heart block caused by an anterior infarction, on the other hand, is more likely to necessitate the implantation of a permanent pacemaker than those with an inferior infarction. Complete heart block was reported to be about 2.2 percent in acute ST-elevation MI patients in a big recent investigation using the National Inpatient Sample databases in individuals with STEMI. It was discovered that individuals with total cardiac block had a considerably greater in-hospital death rate than those who did not. Although temporary pacing was more common in inferior MI patients, the necessity for a permanent pacemaker was far more common in anterior MI patients.

In patients with acute MI and total heart block, cardiac catheterization and attempts to successfully restore perfusion should not be postponed. Perfusion at the right time increases the chances of restoring the natural rhythm.