Heart Block and auto immune disease

Hi all

My name is John I'm 45 and I had my pacemaker fitted Tuesday. A complete out of the blue situation.

I was found to have bradycardia as low as 30 and a varying mobitz 1 and 2 heart block.

I'm still in shock but starting to come to terms with it.

Before this I have been extremely fit and healthy. I run 20 miles a week and bike a few hundred miles a month. My normal resting heart beat was around high 50s.

What I would like try and understand is what has caused my heart block and why so sudden. I also have an autoimmune disease called Ankolysing Spondylitis. 

I was wondering if anyone else on here has an autoimmune disease which they think may have caused their heart block? 

Kind regards



Welcome John

by Gemita - 2020-11-14 09:05:10

If you look through the posts below yours, you will see another post from another member PacedNrunning on the possible causes for heart block.  Might be worth a read.

Yes autoimmune conditions are frequently linked to electrical/heart rhythm disturbances. Conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Thyroid conditions, Type 1 diabetes, Sarcoidosis come to mind.

Sometimes no cause for heart block can be found and it may just be due to wear and tear and aging, but certainly the following may also trigger these electrical disturbances:  infection, inflammation, scarring, ischaemic heart disease, lung disease, medication, electrolyte imbalances to exercise induced cardiomyopathy.  I hope your doctors have given you a full work up to try to find the cause for your sudden problems, but you obviously needed your pacemaker, so you are protected now thankfully.

My husband has type 2 Mobitz heart block and has a pacemaker too.  But his cause was found to be ischaemic heart disease.  Diabetes and high blood pressure led to worsening symptoms.

I hope you are healing well

I like the way you drop in the vital information at the end

by crustyg - 2020-11-14 10:48:52

I have no particular expertise with AS - and the treatment + prognosis/outlook has improved massively in the last decades, but there's a well documented link between AS and cardiac conduction issues.

I haven't checked the refs but they are on the page at the bottom if you click the 'View References' caret:




by quikjraw - 2020-11-14 13:13:06

Thanks both of you for your responses. Clearly there does seem to be some link between my AS and the heart conduction system.

Everything came out clear echo, MRI , blood tests so no cause was found.

My wound is still quite painful at the moment so not getting a lot of sleep but I'm sure that will change 


Kind regards


We have something in common...

by amanda_shanti - 2020-11-15 06:38:29

Reading you post, I feel like looking at my own story... 

My name is Amanda and I'm 43. I had my PM implanted early this month and just like you... completely out of blue.

I have no big health issue as long as I remember, do yoga and hit the gym 4-5 times a week.

One day, all of a sudden, my heart rate starts to drop to around 40-50 (around 35 when I was sleeping in the hospital), after 2 days of observation, 48 hours ECG and blood tests in the cardiology ward, cardiologist told me I have complete heart block and advised me to have a pacemaker implant surgery. I went to another cardiologist for 2nd opinion and with the same diagnosis at the end. They both ruled out other reversible causes for low heart rate and suspected that it is congenital cause.

My wound was painful in the first couple days and subsided quick. However, mentally... I'm still coping with this sudden situation. But, I know I will get better day by day.

Hope your wound is now less painful and can sleep well.



by quikjraw - 2020-11-15 11:55:17

Thanks Amanda

I, as you were, still in a bit of denial that I needed this pacemaker. I will of course come to terms with it and hopefully go back to my running and cycling.

I hope you also start to get better able to accept and cope with your situation as well and that it is not causing you discomfort.

Kind regards




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