Heart is one of the most important part of the body. It is responsible for the supply of oxygen, mineral and nutrients in all the parts of the body. Heart has four chambers namely right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium and left ventricle. Any blockage in these chambers or the main arteries or veins connected to the heart may lead to many life-threatening consequences. Hence it becomes very necessary to take proper care of any blockage found in the heart of the main arteries.
As we know, there are four chambers in the heart, right atrium and right ventricle is separated by tricuspid valve whereas left atrium and left ventricle is separated by bicuspid valve. The deoxygenated blood enters the right side of the heart and oxygenated blood is released out from the left side of the heart. When there is a transfer of blood from atrium to ventricle there is an electrical impulse which is known as Atrioventricular (AV) node. These rhythmic impulses are known as heartbeat and can be recorded through the cardiogram. A miss in the heart beats or impulse, is caused due to the heart blockage. Lack of oxygen is also a factor which contributes towards heart blockage.
Classification of Heart Blockage
According to the heart blockage test, it can be classified into three degrees: first degree heart block, second degree heart block and third degree heart block. Following are the details about these degrees.
- First Degree Heart Blockage: When the AV node takes more than the normal time i.e. more than 0.2 seconds to transmit, then this condition is known as first degree heart blockage. This condition is not so serious and just need some basic precaution and treatments.
- Second Degree Heart Blockage: When the first degree conditions increases to a level where the heartbeats are delayed till they skip a beat or may be the heartbeat is very slow. This condition may take a serious turn, hence it needs heart blockage treatment.
- Third Degree Heart Blockage: In the third degree, the heart is not able to transmit even a very slow AV node. Hence, in this condition the heart pump blood from atrium to ventricle but in a very slow rate. This condition can be dangerous and hence requires immediate treatment. It may also result in heart attacks.
Causes and Symptoms of Heart Blockage
There are many reasons behind heart blockage. Change in lifestyle, change in food habits and lack of exercises are some of the most common causes of heart blockage. Apart from this atherosclerosis, physical and emotional stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, high level of cholesterol, etc. also contribute towards heart blockage. Smoking, alcohol, drugs can also lead you to blockage. Symptoms of heart blockage may be accompanied by pain in heart, nausea, breathlessness, excessive sweating, etc. Severe chest pain can be one of the warning signs of heart blockage. In extreme cases, it may also lead you to heart attacks, strokes, etc.
Heart Blockage Treatment
Treatment for heart blockage depends upon their degrees. These may be similar to the other artery blockage treatments like carotid artery blockage treatment, which involve similar dietary and medicinal measures. Following are some of the treatments according to the degree of heart blockage.
- First Degree Heart Blockage: The first degree blockage does not require any treatment. As the blockage is very minor, it can be treated just by taking rest and eating healthy food. Some cases may require implantation of a temporary pacemaker but usually it is not required.
- Second Degree Heart Blockage: Let's divide second degree into two parts. Part-I is just the next stage after first degree and part II is the last stage of second degree and previous to the third degree. So, in part-I there is no need of any surgeries or implantation. It can be treated by medications like atropine or other blood thinners or anticoagulants. But in case of part-II you may need to get serious, as this blockage may result in dangerous consequences. This stage may require a permanent implantation of a pacemaker and until the permanent is not implanted, the person is kept under temporary pacemaker.
- Third Degree Heart Blockage: This stage is also known as complete blockage or complete AV block. At this degree, the patient has no other option than to have a permanent pacemaker implanted. He needs to take proper care and even when he is cured, he has to take a proper follow-up with the doctor about his health. A proper diet, rest and some precautions like stop smoking, avoid drinking alcohol, etc. can be very helpful.
There are many surgeries which may be suggested by the heart surgeon according to the condition of your heart or the percentage of blockage. Following are some of the surgeries.
- One of the most trusted and commonly used methods to open the blockage is angioplasty. In this surgery a balloon is inflated inside the blocked artery which opens the blockage. To keep this blockage open, a stent is placed at the place of blockage which keep away the arteries from narrowing and reduce the chance of plaque formation.
- If there is blockage in more than one artery or in the main artery then open heart surgery is conducted. In this surgery the blocked artery is replaced by a healthy artery taken from some other body parts of the body for example leg. Till this process continues the person is connected to a bypass machine which performs the function of the heart. This method is considered very useful and safe too.
- One more surgery is the coronary bypass. This surgery is conducted when the blockage is only in the coronary artery.
A proper, low cholesterol diet is must for heart patients. It is also very important to do regular exercise in order to keep your heart healthy. So, take care of your health and if you observe any symptoms of heart blockage then consult a doctor immediately.