Medical Questions > Left Bundle Branch Block

I have been diagnosed with left bundle branch block, although apparently I have never had any symptoms or effects from it. I know this means somehow the electrical impulses to my heart are blocked and have to take an alternate route, but I can't get clear answers from my doctor as to what this really means. Are there any symptoms I am to watch out for? How do I know if this is going bad? What can the doctors do about it? Am I going to just drop dead of this someday? Incidently, I had one chemical stress test last year and they want me to have another one this year.
Actually, I had the stress test in 2004 and they want me to have another one this October. The stress test results were normal. Also, I had an echocardiogram which showed no problems.
January 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Echols
Dear Carol:
If there is nothing else wrong with your heart, you probably will not feel any symptoms of bundle branch block (BBB). In fact, some people may have bundle branch block for years and never know they have the condition.
So why should we worry about bundle branch block? Because it can be a warning sign of other, more serious heart conditions. For example, it might mean that a small part of your heart is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Also, researchers have found that people who have left bundle branch block may be at greater risk for heart disease than are people who do not have the condition.
In the heart we have a normal pacemaker, called the SA node. This is a specialized group of cells located in the heart's right upper chamber (right atrium). Somewhere between 60 and 100 times a minute, this pacemaker emits an electrical impulse. This impulse then travels throughout the heart on a specified route. As the impulse passes through the heart, the heart muscle contracts (beats). The impulse first travels through the upper chambers (the atria). Before it can go to the lower chambers (the ventricles), it must pass through one small group of cells called the AV node. The AV node is located between the atria and the ventricles. After the impulse goes through this AV node, it goes along a track called the "bundle of His." From there, this bundle divides into a right bundle and a left bundle. These two bundles go to the right and left lower chambers of the heart. All of this is much like following the roads on a freeway map.
Normally, the electrical impulse travels down both the right and left branches at the same speed. Thus, both ventricles contract at the same time. But occasionally there's a block in one of the branches. This doesn't mean that one of the ventricles won't contract. It just means that impulses must travel to the affected side by a detour that slows them down. That means one ventricle contracts a fraction of a second slower than the other. Usually if there's nothing else wrong, a person with bundle branch block shows no symptoms. But since we can record the electrical impulses through the heart with an electrocardiogram (ECG), a bundle branch block shows up on the ECG as an abnormality.
If you have bundle branch block, it may have only been noticed when you had an ECG. You may feel fine. However, there's something wrong with the blocked bundle. That's why, if you have bundle branch block, your physician will want to see you regularly to be sure no other changes occur. You may have bundle branch block for many years and still feel fine, but it's important to have regular check-ups
There is no specific therapy for BBB. Patients are usually treated for associated heart diseases. Symptoms of heart disease vary according to the type of heart disease. Unfortunately, some heart diseases cause no symptoms early in their course. When symptoms occur, they vary from person to person. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue, palpitations (the sensation of the heart beating in the chest), light-headedness, and fainting, or feeling about to faint. This link may be of interest to you. http://www.tmc.edu/thi/bbblock.html
Because LBBB may proceed heart disease, you may find this information is helpful to you in aiding heart disease prevention. Many factors increase the risk of developing coronary artery/heart disease, and stroke. They include: family history of premature coronary heart disease, high levels of cholesterol in the blood, diabetes, menopause without estrogen replacement therapy, smoking, high blood pressure (hypertension), sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and poor stress management. In some cases, atherosclerosis cannot be prevented. Atherosclerosis is a common disorder of the arteries. Fat, cholesterol and other substances accumulate in the walls of arteries and form "atheroma" or plaques. Although you cannot change your age, gender, or family history, you can take steps to lower the other risks For any person with CAD or heart disease, there are important lifestyle changes necessary to preserve optimum health and/or prevent further damage. One should adhere to a healthy diet, free of saturated fats and cholesterol, and containing plenty of fiber (as found in fruits, vegetables and cereals). Also of importance is regular physical exercise, losing extra weight, and maintaining normal weight. Also stress management, NO smoking, and no more than 1-2 glasses of red wine daily are best. The links for these topics are below "How to start exercising" (However, all exercise is good as long as it is regular), stress management and diet advice.. http://www.healthandage.com/Home/gid2=713 http://www.nmha.org/infoctr/factsheets/41.cfm http://wso.williams.edu:8000/orgs/peerh/stress/relax.html
low fat low cholesterol high fiber diet http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=515 http://www.cbvcp.com/heart/aharecip.htm http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/apr97/Dash.htm http://www.healthandage.com/Home?gid2=675 http://www.healthandage.com/Home/gm=20!gc=9!l=2!gid2=2211
January 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather R.N.

I have LBBB, which, it has been suggested, I developed as a result of chemotherapy. For the past 6 months I have experienced extreme fatigue, effecting my energy levels and my cognitive ability. I have had many blood tests, and have been pro-active about taking vitamin supplements and eating the right foods (no animal fats whatsoever; only organically grown produce, etc.), and I am not overweight. Could the fatigue be related to LBBB? And, if so, what shoudl I do about it?

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPari

hi, i am no expert but i know from family experience that chemotherapy is very hard on you. it may be the cause of your low energy. i also have a left bundle block and i got really scared i went for a regular check up my doc did a ekg she freaked out rushed me to the emergency room where they kept me in the heart unit for two days and ran extensive test. my blood pressure dropped in the middle of the night when a half ass nurse case in and stuck a big needle in my hand. i almost blacked out . they scared the hell out of me. my advice to you is dont smoke cut caffine almost completely. it is so important. it really makes a differance it can mess with your heart rate. i take a good womens mulit vitamin cal mag &zinc and omega 3 fish oil. i work out daily try trendmill walking free weights what ever you can do . and you must eat healthy. imean no junk no sweets . i eat eggbeaters fake sausage fresh fruit for mid morning snack salad for lunch fresh vegtables for mid afternoon and a healthy dinner. i cut out white flour everthing is whole grain. and for dessert fat free pudding or angle cake. i do have one or to at most glasses of red or white wine. i drink decaff water and unsweet tea. sounds like a lot of hard work and it is. but you are worth it and once you get use to it you will feel great. i sure hope this helps you. take care brenda

August 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbrenda

heather i am sorry for the nurse statement. she was not a r.n.

August 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbrenda

I was diagnosed recently with a murmur, SVT, and bundle block. Are they all realted? I'm female, 39 and in good health. My main complaints are arryythmia and fatigue. The fatigue is getting to be a problem.

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Julie:
A murmur is not usually associated or linked to a heart block - a murmur usually comes from a heart valve disorder (though this may be quite benign), while SVT and other arrythmias can be due to heart block. Please see: http://www.texasheart.org/HIC/Topics/Cond/bbblock.cfm
Yours, Bob G.

October 18, 2009 | Registered CommenterRobert Griffith

Hi Carol, I have been diagnosed with LBBB and they did a CT angiogram just to make sure there were no blocked arteries. Everything came out normal but unlike you I have had symptoms of major flip flopping of my heart. I have found out that it is nothing to worry about, but it is annoying. Hopefully, you won't have to worry about that but you should see a cardiologist, just in case there's something else wrong.

February 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah S

Diagnosed with LBBB. First I was scared. Later you become a different person 'cause you appreciate life and others. Several important things; take prescription grade Omega-3,better quality, no mercury. Next, no salt, alcohol, cafeen, smoking etc. Locate a Cardio MD, get checked out, learn your ejection factor. Have your heart valves checked as well. You may have an enlarged L-ventricle. I rec'd a pacemaker and Meds. Take benacar and Coreg. After you do all that, find another Cardio Specialist, MD and get a second opinion. Also, I recommend a "Sleep Apnea" Test. Sounds crazy, but Apnea
does cause heart damage. Sounds like I'm really screwed but it's just the opposite!
At age 60, I still bike / walk several miles daily, I can jog, play tennis/racketball and swim.
Once diagnosed with HF, it's forever but, it doesn't mean stop living. Trust me, Every Day is a Gift from God. Check out Jesus and the Bible, learn the meaning of life and our purpose and start living. Please remember, it's not a death sentence. It is just the opposite......it opens your mind to life and eternity. Sorry to get carried away, Hope
it helps someone.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbadgeman4@hotmail.com

You are all right, I have been diagnosed over 2 years ago with LBBB and when I looked up
what it is there was not much Information.
Also my Doctor talked around it and I just don't know what it was, how it could
happen to me, how it will go away and so on.
I am 52 and menopausal, use to smoke till 1999 but have not smoked since( Not my credit, but Jesus). Agree with badge-man!!!!!!
The best information about it I got from Blackmore who is a Vitamin/Health company they have the right vitamin treatment for you and also give you advise direct to YOUR needs on line.
Heather RN, thanks a lot for the information as you are a gem, this makes things more clear I just wonder why a Doctor cant tell as this.
I save this side just in case I have to go back to it.
Thanks again.
Thanks a lot.

April 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeike L

Hi

Good info. Thx to all.

Wanted some advice if you had any similar situation. I'm healthy 45
old male with controlled high bp since 2005. I went for my annual checkup
in nov last year. My ECG and echo were all good along with bloodwoork border line
high on cholestrol but nothing alarming. I was having on and off chest pain especially
when I exercised or climbed stairs. Though not always. My gp said if I was concerned and
wanted to go for nuclear stress test. I had exercise stress test in 2006 which was negative

I went got the nuclear scan and before I could start the stress test on the treadmill the doc noticed lbbb at rest ECG. He stopped the test and said they will need to do medicine induces stress test. I did that and everything came normal.

Given that the lbbb was noticed my gp asked me to go see my cardologist who did my stress test in 2006. I saw him day befor and he said I already have done nuclear stress which is normal. He said nuclear test is very good but not certain. It is a very good indication but not 100%. He said I could go for angiography but there is no rush. It is my decision. he said I was 45 had controlled bp but have change in ECG from last time I saw him in 2006 so angiography can be done or we could review after I year

Any advice if angiograhy will provide anything useful given recent nuclear stress test, echo , xray are all good. I do regular exercise with no sob or pain. I know angio is gold standard but it is very invasive.

Thx in advance.

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSv

Sv:
You are seeking advice form the wrong people, I think. I doubt that many cardiologists read this blog. I suggest you ask your family docotr to refer you to another cardiologist, for a second expert opinion. You need an expert opinion to give you the percentages for your likely progress, given that you have no symptoms and are exercising. But how are your weight and lipid levels? You can end up asking him/her "what would you do in my shoes, doctor?"
Bob G.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Griffith

I am 44 and consider myself to be a relatively healthy female. I've recently been diagnosed with LBBB after having extensive tests at the hospital and in fact I'm having my last test in two weeks. I also have a heart murmur and heart beat at around 60 which is great if you're an athlete but I'm not. I don't smoke and don't drink that much as wine gives me head cold symptoms. My exercise is walking my two dogs twice a day and thinking about using the multigym in the garage.
I have received very little information about this diagnosis and don't know if the symptoms that I have and have always had are connected to this. I often feel light headed, I've always complained about being tired, I have never had any stamina for cardio exercise, I get palpatations at times but more so after drinking wine! For my height I am within my weight range.
Any info would be greatly received
thanks

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLou

Thx Bob. I will. I have taken copies of my test results. Will try to speak with experts. Thx again.

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSv

sv:
On Tuesday May 4th I'm posting a blog about coronary calcium scores - an 'additional' risk factor that might help someone in your position to decide what to do . . .But ask your cardiologist!
Yours, Bob

May 1, 2010 | Registered CommenterRobert Griffith

I was diagnosed with Complete left bundle branch block that continued through teh recovery phase during my exercise stress test...was advised to go for angiograpghy as had tightness of chest, severe fatigue, pain in shoulders, sweating, chills and even whistles blowing in my ears...surprisingly the cholesterol was at 300 and i am a smoker with average of 5 packs a day witha job thats HIGH STRESS...

Strange...angiogram came ou all ok with onset but not significant Coronary / plague build up

But what do I d as my physocal conditin persists and heart feels palpitations, anxiety attacks, severe fatigue and i am now ttally confiused...can ngiogram be misleading and i could still have had a stroke? I was diagnosed as having had Transient iscemic attcak 2 months back and a induced myocardial ischemia in 2004

Am i diagnosed rihtly and nothing to worry or should i persist and get more tests?

Anyone?
I am just 38..played squash and swim daily etc but now cannot walk even for last 2 months

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFJ

FJ
You definitely should keep looking for solutions for your problems if you are not feeling 100%.
I would suggest you help yourself by doing a smoking cessation of some kind. This is definitely not helping your heart, and probably flattening your wallet. Cigarettes are expensive.
Next, check in with your dr about how to lower your cholesterol. Our bodies are a marvelously intricate balance of chemicals and tissue that interact to keep us ticking If we put it out of whack by eating crazy, or by loving comfort more than we love our lives, then our body pays for it.
About the high stress, have your tried meditation? The other thing I found helpful when I had a high stress job is to get the noise out of my life. I had to learn to turn off the things I could turn off,(radio, tv, etc) and that lowered my stress a lot. Also I turned to prayer. This was the most effective of all for lowering stress.

Sorry you are having so much trouble with walking For a person your age, this is a tragedy. Keep pursuing treatment, until you find something that works. God bless.

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercarol

left bundle branch block means the cells av modes the electrical current is delayed...called conduction delay,,...the current still goes through but a bit of a new or different route which causes it to show up on the ekg,,,,,no need to worry unless you have other heart symtomns that need treated as they are different...stop worrying about it even top athletes have it and go on normal lives and energy...

November 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdenise g.

Appreciate all your info on this site. I am a 51 year old female who got that Lifeline Screening that comes in your mail and is a mobile unit for checking plaque in arteries. They found an 'incidental' electrical condition in my left heart ventricle known as LBBB. AKA Left Bundle Branch Block. I've been healthy all of my life, no smoking, exercise, still overweight by 35 lbs. I was scared. I've researched this a lot and found some good info from the mayo clinic and even an animated heart showing the electrical impulses going through both the right and left ventricles. Best we can do is take care of our health by eating fresher, healthier food choices, and exercise moderately. I do like the idea of meditation for stress reduction and turning off the TV on occasion. Pets are a wonderful way to de-stress yourself. I'm seeing my cardio Dr. today to get his opinion of my stress echo treadmill test taken at his office but ordered by my primary Dr. I never got his take on it. So going in to get the whole story, I do not have obvious symptoms. I need to lose the extra weight. I sometimes feel the need to 'breathe' exta breaths, but lately I think its related to the stress caused by my Dr.'s less than good bedside manner relating thisto me. Best Advice, keep calm.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

WOW!! Finally, some other people with LBBB. I found out last Oct. I have complete LBBB with no symptoms. I am healthy, jog, bike, swim and found out during a simple dr. visit from the EKG. The next month was test after test and all came back normal. But I worry all the time. I feel so alone with this abnormality. Thanks to all of you for posting for I found out a lot of information. Some I already knew but it is great to have it verified. My dr. was great! Spent 1.5 hrs. explaining and drawing me pictures. He made sure I knew what I have. I think I need a support group for LBBB.

Thanks Again,
Debby

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebby