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Third-degree heart block usually results in symptoms such as fainting, dizziness and sudden heart failure, which require immediate medical care. A physical exam and ECG confirm the presence of heart block.
Some second- and almost all third-degree heart blocks require an artificial pacemaker. In an emergency, a temporary pacemaker can be used until an implanted device is advisable. Most people need the pacemaker for the rest of their lives.
Most people with first- and second-degree heart block don't even know they have it. For people with third-degree block, once the heart has been restored to its normal, dependable rhythm, most people, live full and comfortable lives.
McGoon, Michael D., ed. Mayo Clinic Heart Book: The Ultimate Guide to Heart Health. New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1993
Grady, Thomas A., et al. "Prognostic Significance of Exercise-induced Left Bundle-branch Block." Journal of the American Medical Association 279, no. 2 (14 Jan.1998): 153.
American Heart Association. 7320 Greenville Ave. Dallas, TX 75231. (214) 373-6300. <http://www.americanheart.org>.
Dorothy Elinor Stonely
Author Info: Dorothy Elinor Stonely, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 2002
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