I visited a doctor after having intermittent chest pains on the left side of my chest. It used to be severe and when I visited a doctor my EKG was "improper;" in other words, all the numerous times I went to the doctor, the EKG revealed that my heart wasn't normal.
Last Saturday the doctor told me that I have what is called a "right bundle branch block."
Previously he'd found that I have heartburn that keeps bothering me, along with a H. pylori infection. It was treated and I went back for a different type of testing and they found that this infection was gone. That severe pain has also gone, but the pain still comes and goes. It used to be severe and in my upper abdomen, a bit up in the chest, and sometimes in my back. It also feels like heat sometimes and becomes itchy.
Now I have this diagnosis of the right bundle branch block. Is that something I should be worried about. What should I do?
The electrical impulse that stimulates your heart to beat splits into two directions, traveling to the both right and left ventricles of the heart. The nerve fibers that conduct the impulse to the right ventricle are called the right bundle branch, and when these fibers are damaged so that they don’t conduct the impulse the condition known as right bundle branch block develops. The right heart must then rely on the signal that went to the left ventricle to travel around back to the right side. You can see a nice picture of this at the following website: http://www.emedicine.com/ped/images/Large/11541154Untitled-5.jpgThere are various causes of right bundle branch block (RBBB). In most cases RBBB doesn’t cause any symptoms or long term health problems, but there are some situations in which RBBB can be more serious—including genetic RBBB and RBBB linked to heart failure. You should be evaluated by a cardiologist who will want to know your family history (ie. do you have relatives that died suddenly of an unknown cause) and will also probably want to perform an echocardiogram to check the function of your heart.
Thanks for your question. There are two types of bundle branch block: left bundle and right bundle branch block. When the normal electrical current travels through the heart, it splits into two branches (left and right bundles) before it causes the two large chambers to contract and pump blood. When one or the other branch is delayed, there is a characteristic appearance on the electrocardiogram. This delay is a small fraction of a second and does not affect the pumping action of the heart. A right bundle branch block does not cause symptoms of chest pain.
Right bundle branch blocks are often found on routine electrocardiograms, and sometimes occur as a result of underlying heart disease. They often occur in young adults with no symptoms. Your doctor will determine if further cardiac testing is needed in your situation.
It sounds like your symptoms have improved with the treatment of your H. pylori and your heartburn. Certainly follow-up with your physician, and if your symptoms persist, he may decide to go further with additional testing.
Our site has additional information that might be helpful to you. Please click on the following links:
What is "Right Bundle Branch"
What is a Bundle and is it Harmful?
Best wishes. I hope this information has been useful to you.
Martin Cane, M.D.