Question: I have been diagnosed with heart block. How does this differ from blockage in one of my arteries?
Answer :Heart block refers to an electrical blockage of the heart's conduction system. Our heart depends on electrical signals to give it the instruction to beat. The signals start in the top of the heart and work their way towards the bottom of the main pump. If, anywhere along the path, that electrical signal is blocked, a heart muscle, which may be fully normal and ready to beat, doesn't get the signal that it needs to beat and sits waiting. This can lead to slow heartbeat and symptoms related to slow heartbeat, such as fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting spells. It's primarily an electrical problem.
In contrast to heart block, blockage of an artery is a plumbing problem, in which blood doesn't get to the heart muscle itself because an artery is narrowed or blocked. An abrupt blockage of an artery can cause a heart attack, called myocardial infarction, because heart muscle doesn't get the blood it needs. That can leave a permanent scar and weaken the heart muscle.
In heart block, or the electrical blockage, the treatment is often a pacemaker, an implanted device that gives the heart the small electrical signals it needs to increase the heart rate so that the person's symptoms related to the slow heartbeats are treated.