What Is a Right Bundle Branch Block? Everything to Know
Read on to find out more about RBBB. This guide includes information about what can cause RBBB, related symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for heart conditions, and more.
There are three areas of the right bundle branch where damage can occur. This includes:
- proximal right bundle, which is the most common area where damage occurs
- distal right bundle
- terminal right bundle
Damage or stretching in one of these areas can prevent impulses from traveling through the right bundle branch. This shows up on an ECG as a right bundle branch block (RBBB). RBBB is a degenerative disease that is typically slow to progress.
Conditions that may cause RBBB include:
Other possible causes of RBBB include:
- trauma, such as minor trauma to the chest
- right heart catheterization
- structural changes
- pressure on the right ventricle
Can anxiety cause a right bundle branch block?
I am not aware of any definite relationship between anxiety and right bundle branch blocks. Anxiety can lead to palpitations and, maybe in the workup of palpitations, which include[s] an ECG, a right bundle branch block may be identified.
However, there is no well-established cause and effect relationship between anxiety and right bundle branch blocks.
Uzochukwu Ibe, MD, MPH Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
A bundle branch block refers to a widened QRS complex and vector changes in an ECG reading.
An incomplete RBBB has a QRS duration of 100–119 milliseconds (ms). A complete RBBB has a QRS duration of 120 ms or greater.
A typical QRS duration is between 60–100 ms. A 2021 study of 76,220 individuals finds that the median QRS duration was 86 ms.
An incomplete RBBB is a common ECG finding that can occur in people of all ages. It more frequently occurs among males (assigned at birth) and athletes. In most cases, you will not require further tests for an incomplete RBBB unless any other anomalies are present.
A complete RBBB may indicate a more serious complication with the right bundle branch. Your doctor can explain to you what the reading means and may recommend further tests.
You will not usually experience any symptoms with a right bundle branch block (RBBB).
Your doctor will typically identify RBBB when you have an ECG during a checkup or examination.
You may not require any treatment if you do not experience any symptoms alongside a right bundle branch block (RBBB).
However, you may require treatment for a heart condition occurring alongside RBBB. This treatment can include cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) if you have RBBB with a QRS duration greater than 150 ms.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy
Cardiac resynchronization treatment (CRT) uses a pacemaker to detect irregularities in your heart rate. It emits small pulses of electricity to correct the irregularities and help resynchronize your heart rate.
CRT can help improve blood flow and reduce irregularity in the rhythm of your heart. It may also reduce symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath.
Your doctor can explain any treatments they recommend for heart failure or other heart conditions.
Your doctor will usually detect a right bundle branch block (RBBB) during an ECG.
You will typically not have any symptoms with RBBB. However, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as you have concerns about your heart health.
- shortness of breath, particularly during daily activities
- breathing difficulties when you lie down
- weight gain
- swollen stomach, ankles, feet, and legs
- weakness or tiredness
Learn more about symptoms of heart conditions.
If your doctor detects a right bundle branch block (RBBB), they may arrange for more tests to check your overall heart health. These tests can assist with diagnosing any underlying heart conditions.
Tests your doctor may arrange to monitor your heart health and determine the possible cause of RBBB include:
- blood pressure test
- blood tests
- chest X-ray
- echocardiogram ultrasound
- stress test or exercise tolerance test
- tilt test
- cardiac CT scan
- thallium scan
- coronary angiogram
- ambulatory ECG
Ambulatory ECG involves wearing electrodes that connect to a small device you can attach to a belt. This monitors your heart over the course of 24 hours.
Find out more about how doctors diagnose heart failure.
If you do not have significant heart disease, there may not be any complications of a right bundle branch block (RBBB).
However, RBBB may increase your risk of loss of life if you have heart disease or heart failure. Following any treatment plan your doctor recommends can help reduce this risk.
Contact your doctor if you have concerns about RBBB.
A right bundle branch block (RBBB) may not affect your life expectancy. It is generally a benign ECG finding for which you may not require any treatment.
However, RBBB may occur alongside cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease can affect your life expectancy, so it is important to follow any treatment plan for RBBB your doctor recommends.
Staying on top of your heart health can help prevent or reduce the risk of heart conditions and complications.
You should aim to have a medical professional check your blood pressure at least once per year if you have low blood pressure. Your doctor may wish to monitor your blood pressure more regularly if you have high blood pressure.
A right bundle branch block (RBBB) is a common ECG finding that occurs when there is damage or stretching to the right bundle branch. This can prevent pulses from properly traveling through.
A left bundle branch block (LBBB) is also a common ECG finding. It occurs when there is damage or stretching to the left bundle branch.
Similar to RBBB, LBBB can occur in otherwise healthy individuals. However, it can often indicate significant heart disease.
A right bundle branch block (RBBB) is a frequent ECG finding that may indicate damage or stretching to the right bundle branch. It is often a benign finding. However, in some cases, it can be a sign of heart failure or cardiovascular disease.
You will not usually experience any symptoms of RBBB. In turn, you may not require any treatment. If you do experience symptoms alongside RBBB, your doctor may arrange for further tests to monitor your heart health and identify underlying conditions.
Contact your doctor if you have concerns about your heart health. They will be able to carry out tests, including an ECG. If RBBB is present, they will be able to advise on whether or not they recommend any further tests or treatment.