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Heart Block

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Heart block is a problem with the flow of electrical signals in your heart. The electrical signals control the way your heart beats. With heart block, these signals are delayed or interrupted. This affects the way your heart pumps blood.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Heart medicine helps your heart beat more regularly.

  • Antiplatelets , such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. Take your antiplatelet medicine exactly as directed. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.

  • Anticoagulants are a type of blood thinner medicine that helps prevent clots. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. These medicines may cause you to bleed or bruise more easily.

    • Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth and a soft toothbrush. If you shave, use an electric razor. Avoid activities that can cause bruising or bleeding.

    • Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take because many medicines cannot be used with anticoagulants. Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Tell your dentist and other caregivers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.

    • You will need regular blood tests so your healthcare provider can decide how much medicine you need. Take anticoagulants exactly as directed. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.

    • If you take warfarin, some foods can change how your blood clots. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, grapes, and other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you take warfarin.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your PHP or cardiologist as directed:

You may need to return for other tests. If you have a pacemaker, your cardiologist needs to make sure that it is working as it should. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Heart monitoring at home:

You may need to use a heart monitor at home to provide more information about your condition. This device is also called a Holter monitor, event monitor, or mobile telemetry. You wear this monitor while you do your daily activities. Bring your monitor with you to follow-up visits with your PHP or cardiologist. Ask for more information about the Holter monitor.


Manage your symptoms:

  • Manage other health conditions that are causing your heart block.

  • Take your pulse regularly to check for any changes. Write down this information and take it with you to your visits with your PHP.

Contact your PHP if:

  • You feel lightheaded or faint.

  • You continue to have a slow or uneven heartbeat.

  • You have a hard time exercising.

  • You have questions about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:

    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns

    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm

    • Trouble breathing

    • Nausea or vomiting

    • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing

  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:

    • Part of your face droops or is numb

    • Weakness in an arm or leg

    • Confusion or difficulty speaking

    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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