Second-degree atrioventricular block

Circulation. 1979 Sep;60(3):465-72. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.60.3.465.


1) While it is possible only one type of second-degree AV block exists electrophysiologically, the available data do not justify such a conclusion and it would seem more appropriate to remain a "splitter," and advocate separation and definition of multiple mechanisms, than to be a "lumper," and embrace a unitary concept. 2) The clinical classification of type I and type II AV block, based on present scalar electrocardiographic criteria, for the most part accurately differentiates clinically important categories of patients. Such a classification is descriptive, but serves a useful function and should be preserved, taking into account the caveats mentioned above. The site of block generally determines the clinical course for the patient. For most examples of AV block, the type I and type II classification in present use is based on the site of block. Because block in the His-Purkinje system is preceded by small or nonmeasurable increments, it is called type II AV block; but the very fact that it is preceded by small increments is because it occurs in the His-Purkinje system. Similar logic can be applied to type I AV block in the AV node. Exceptions do occur. If the site of AV block cannot be distinguished with certainity from the scalar ECG, an electrophysiologic study will generally reveal the answer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrioventricular Node / physiology
  • Bundle of His / physiology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart Block / classification
  • Heart Block / diagnosis*
  • Heart Block / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Purkinje Fibers / physiology