What is included in patient education about third-degree atrioventricular (AV) block?

Updated: Jul 05, 2018
  • Author: Akanksha Agrawal, MBBS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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Answer

Educate patients that third-degree atrioventricular (AV) block (complete heart block) occurs when the electrical signal starting from the heart's upper chambers, the atria, cannot pass normally to the lower chambers, the ventricles. This can occur spontaneously, due to certain medical conditions, medications, or postoperatively. 

Discuss signs and symptoms with patients, including lightheadedness, palpitations (skipping, fluttering in the chest), fatigue, chest pressure or pain, shortness of breath, or fainting spells. Occasionally, patients can be asymptomatic. 

Explain that the diagnosis is made using one or more of the following: electrocardiography (ECG/EKG), holter monitoring, an event recorder, electrophysiologic study, etc, and that treatment usually includes implantation of pacemaker.


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