Heart blocks and electrical currents in the heart


My fil was just diagnosed with a 2:1 heart block. They’re installing a pacemaker. It appears to be a 3rd degree block. Can someone explain what this means? Everything online is geared to medical professionals and extremely hard to decipher.

In: 7

A 2:1 heart block refers to a type of abnormal heart rhythm where every second electrical signal from the upper chambers of the heart (atria) fails to reach the lower chambers (ventricles). A 3rd-degree heart block is more severe, where no electrical signals from the atria reach the ventricles. This can lead to a slow heart rate and other complications. The pacemaker is being installed to regulate the heart’s rhythm and ensure proper electrical signals are transmitted, helping to maintain a healthy heart rate.

A 2:1 is a second degree block. Another user described that. A third degree block is more dangerous and can be fatal. A pacemaker is installed to prevent a second degree block from progressing to a third degree block, which is where the top and bottom of the heart beat independently of one another.

The heart beats when an impulse is sent from the SA node (top of heart) to the bottom of the the heart (ventricles). The SA node helps keep the heart rate regular and orderly and the ventricles are the real workhorses that pump blood. If the SA doesn’t work right or it’s signal gets interrupted when it’s traveling to the ventricles, the ventricles will still fire but the heart rate will tend to wander a little. A third degree block means the SA node and ventricles are both working fine, but not talking to each other at all (like my parents). A pacemaker will bypass the blockage the SA node is encountering and take over it’s function. This make the heart rate orderly and regulated again.

I’m going to stick closer to the sub’s name.

Let’s say you and I want to a) advertise our love of Mac & Cheese and b) annoy the shit out of everyone around us. So I buy a metronome (little ticky time thing for musicians), and on the beat, I yell “MAC”. But you can’t see the metronome, so just just listen for me and then you hear me and yell “CHEESE”. Mission accomplished.

In a 2:1 block, you only yell “CHEESE” every second time. In a 3rd degree, you often don’t yell it at all. I’m doing my part, but you’re losing your hearing, so you don’t get triggered regularly enough. The pacemaker gives you a hearing aid so you can now yell reliably after I yell, thus allowing us to annoy people with our love of Mac & Cheese for many more years.

Imagine the atria (the two chambers at the top of the heart) and the ventricles (the two chambers at the bottom of the heart) as a relationship between wife and husband.

A normal sinus rhythm is where the husband (ventricles) comes home from work predictably to the wife (atria) at the same time every day at 5pm. Steady, reliable and predictable relationship!

A first degree heart block is where the husband starts coming home at 8pm instead of 5pm, he’s late but consistently late at the same time every day. The relationship is doing okay, the couple adjust to the new schedule.

A second degree type I block is where the husband starts staying out at 9pm, then 11pm, 12am and then one night doesn’t come home at all. He feels terrible so comes home right at 5pm the next day but the cycle of going out late continues over and over again. The relationship is rocky but stable.

A second degree type II block is where the husband randomly picks a day where he won’t come home at all. All the other days he’s home right at 5pm. But he might not come home on a Sunday one week, a Thursday the next week, a Tuesday the week after, etc. The relationship is heading downhill, there’s no consistency!

A third degree heart block is where the husband and wife are each doing their own thing, they might run into each other at home just by happenstance but it’s not planned. Divorce is imminent and the couple are staying in the same house while waiting for negotiations to be worked out.