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Glossary of Terms

Heart Block

A condition in which the normal electrical impulses of the heart are interrupted. The interruption causes a change in the normal heart rhythm. The heart muscle normally contracts in a regular, coordinated, rhythmic fashion. These contractions are stimulated and coordinated by tiny electrical impulses from different locations in the heart referred to as "nodes". These electrical impulses from the "nodes" travel down tiny nerve fibers to the heart muscle, helping to stimulate the muscle to contract in a coordinated, synchronized sequence. Different conditions, such as a heart attack, can injure these nerve fibers leading to a blockage of the electrical energy, hence the name "heart block" There are several different types of heart block, which can vary from no symptoms to the heart stopping or beating very slowly and irregularly. The treatment of heart block depends on the type of heart block and its severity. In some instance a pacemaker is necessary to treat heart block.

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