One of the conditions often found in the later stages of heart disease is known as heart block. We have seen that the function of the heart is in perfect balance. This balance or rhythm is maintained by the nervous system and a special control in the heart muscle, the sinus rhythm. When this special control becomes impaired, an imbalance between the upper and lower chambers of the heart develops. While the upper chambers function at a normal range, the lower chambers are unable to keep in step. This manifests itself in a slowing of the pulse.
However, a slow pulse is not necessarily a sign of a diseased heart. When a normal heart is at rest, its pulse too slows down, an indication that the heart is merely working at a slower rate and is conserving its energy.
Failure Affects Both Sides of the Heart When doctors discuss a heart case, they often mention left side failure or right side failure, implying that either one or the other side of the heart has broken down and is unable to do its work. In reality, no breakdown limits itself exclusively to one side of the heart. Failure in most cases begins with the left side but usually will affect the right side as well. When the left side of the heart is unable to pump the blood it receives from the lungs, the lungs cannot empty any more blood into it, and as a result there is a backing up to the right side of the heart. The engorgement that results causes a stretching or dilating of the heart, and causes trouble.
Heart Block Photo Gallery
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