Heart Block or Conduction Delay (Left Anterior) in Cats
Left Anterior Fascicular Block in Cats
Left Anterior Fascicular Block (LAFB) is a condition that affects the heart's conduction system, which is responsible for generating electrical impulses (waves) that propagate throughout the musculature of the heart, stimulating the heart muscles to contract and pump blood. If the conduction system is disrupted, not only will contraction of the heart muscles be affected, but the timing and frequency of heartbeats too.
This is the most commonly described form of bundle branch block in cats.
Symptoms and Types
There are no specific symptoms related to this condition itself, rather, related to the underlying cause of the LAFB.
- Heart surgery
- Electrolyte abnormalities
- Heart problems (e.g., hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, ventricular septal defect, aortic valvular disease, etc.)
You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination, as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC) -- the results of which may reveal electrolyte imbalances.
Electrocardiography, however, remains the most important tool for diagnosis. Your veterinarian will record your cat’s electrocardiogram (ECG) and compare it with a normal ECG to see if any abnormalities are present. Further evaluation of the heart is usually done with echocardiography. This helps in the diagnosis of underlying heart disease or problem, and the extent of heart involvement.
Your veterinarian will also take X-rays of both the thoracic and abdominal regions to see if there are any abnormal masses, tumor, foreign body, and/or abnormal heart position.
The form of treatment recommended for your cat grossly depends on the diagnosis and may vary patient to patient. Therefore, correctly diagnosing the underlying cause of the LAFB is paramount.
Living and Management
Prognosis and follow-up exam schedules varies greatly depending on the underlying disease. However, in cases of severe or advanced heart problems or cancer, prognosis is not good. Consult with your cat's veterinarian in all cases.
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