Wenckebach Periods in the Bundle Branches
Two cases of intermittent bundle-branch block in which Wenckebach periods could be directly visualized are reported. The conduction ratios were either 3:2 or 4:3, as are commonly seen in cases of the Wenckebach phenomenon of atrioventricular (A-V) conduction. Other groups of beats apparently showing 3:1 and 4:1 bundle-branch block were interpreted as indicating incompletely concealed Wenckebach periods in the bundle branches, with actual conduction ratios of 3:2 and 4:3, respectively.
Three prerequisites are necessary for the occurrence of either direct or incompletely concealed Wenckebach periods in the bundle branches: (1) The opening beat should be normally conducted (in the affected bundle branch); (2) the second beat should be conducted with a delay of no more than 0.04 to 0.06 sec; (3) the damaged bundle branch should not be activated retrogradely in the closure beat.
Wenckebach periods in the bundle branches may be completely concealed if the conduction delay lasts more than 0.04 to 0.06 sec in the opening beat. In cases of bilateral bundle-branch block, Wenckebach periods in the bundle branches may be indirectly visualized through changes in the A-V conduction.
- © 1969 American Heart Association, Inc.