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Avatar universal

Can LBBB caused by electrolyte imbalance?

I am a healthy 52 year old female, fit, and exercise daily, non smoker.  No history of chest pain.  I went to Mexico and took my first scuba dive lesson.  Due to a malfunctioning regulator, my lungs filled with sea water and I almost drowned.  I struggled to breath for almost 2 hours before reaching a clinic.  I was given diuretics, steroids to dry out my lungs and put on oxygen.  I'm  not used to the heat and lost a lot of fluids.  I also had diarrhea and intestinal distress, likely due to the antibiotics or the bacteria in the water my body isn't used to.  Anyway, two weeks later and back home I went to the doctor for a follow up and because I'm continuing to have chest pain.  THey found an LBBB on my ekg.  I'm convinced it was caused by the near drowning and the following electrolyte imbalance.  Is this possible?
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Avatar universal
Causes for LBBB:
•Heart disease
•Congestive heart failure
•Thickened, stiffened or weakened heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
•High blood pressure (hypertension)
Nothing about nearly drowning and/or electrolyte imbalance.
Helpful - 0
63984 tn?1385437939
The first thing I would do is take the cardiac investigation to the next level.  ECG tests often show false positives, in my opinion, sometimes it is simply a matter of re-arranging the leads and a totally different result is recorded.  Certainly I'd ask for a re-do of the test, and then probably the next test might be a 24 or 48 hour Holter monitor that you would wear when you sleep, awake, work or whatever.  
Is it also possible that your near-drowning experience caused you to try so hard to breathe that you hurt your chest ligaments, joints, etc?  
You have been through a lot, I hope you can follow up to find the cause.  
Another thought is that blood tests should show any mineral/electrolyte imbalances, I'm checked every two weeks as I have to take gorilla doses of diuretics because of CHF.  
Keep yourself tested, keep us informed.  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
LBBB is a conduction anomaly and the result of things like these:

longstanding cardiovascular disease,
a bad throw of the genetic dice,
an acute MI,
certain kinds of infections.  

More than likely, you had your LBBB before your diving misadventures in Mexico.

The good side of things is that if your heart is otherwise functioning well, and IF your left ventricular ejection fraction is above 35%, you are probably OK in the cardio department.

I would suggest a thorough workup by a cardiologist (plus some reading, because to self-diagnose LBBB is difficult for those without a good understanding of physiology).  You will probably wind up quite reassured.
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Avatar universal
Thank you kindly for taking the time to respond.   I wish you were telling me what I want to hear.  I was running everyday prior so it's hard to believe I had something wrong with my heart.  I'm an active person so I feel depressed at the thought of a less active life.  I have an 11 yr old daughter and another one at college.  also eat pretty healthy and have historically had low cholesterol and good high cholesterol.  I am scheduled for a nuclear stress test next week and the week following a echo cardiogram and a treadmill.  The chest pain (which I've not had before) is most uncomfortable when I am lying on back at night.  Obviously the near drowning brought whatever this is to the surface but I struggled to breath so hard it definitely stressed my heart. My oxygen levels were in the 80's upon arriving at the first clinic.  You sound fairly certain a near drowning doesn't damage the heart this way....  Thanks for your honesty.  It's important to know the facts but I am sad.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I'm going to guess that you have had your LBBB since you were young, and that--as in many cases--it was so minor as to not interfere in any way in your active lifestyle.  If your stress test confirms no heart disease, what you've got is an 'incidental finding,' and ticker-wise, you should be able to resume your activities without worries about your heart.

However, I am going to suggest that you ought to be seeing a pulmonologist for your chest pain.  Although you did not drown, and apparently were not unconscious at any point during the dreadful incident you describe, your lungs were traumatized by being flooded with sea water.  In addition, the pressure from your regulator might itself have been traumatic.  I suspect your chest pain is probably more related to these factors than anything to do with your heart.  
Helpful - 0
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