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Left bundle branch block: prevalence, incidence, follow-up and outcome

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 1075-1079 First published online: 2 October 1987


In a randomly selected population screening study of 8450 men and 9039 women 33 to 71 years of age conducted in Iceland in 1967–1977, 27 men and 17 women were found to have left bundle branch bock (LBBB). The prevalence of LBBB at that time was 0.43% for men and 0.28% for women. The incidence of LBBB was 3.2 per 10 000 per year for men and 3.7 per 10 000 per year for women. All except one of 37 alive patients with LBBB were examined in 1984 including chest X-ray, echocardiography and exercise testing (Bruce protocol). Eight men had had myocardial infarction (P<0.05), 12 had angina pectoris, 15 had hypertension, 7 had cardiomyopathy, 13 had primary conduction disease, and 3 had pacemakers. Five men and two women had died in comparison with 18 men and 1 woman in an age-matched control group of 176 people (P ns). Three of 5 decreased LBBB men had cardiomyopathy at autopsy. Three men died suddenly. The two women died of noncardiac causes. Only one patient in the control group had cardiomyopathy (P< 0.01). There was no significant difference in other cardiac diagnoses between the groups. Eleven LBBB women out of thirteen had a normal exercise duration (≥6 min) and 11/17 men exercised normally (≤7 min). In comparison with the control group, the LBBB patients had an increased LV diameter 2.85±0.38 vs 2.58±0.38 cm m-2 body surface area (P<0.01). There was no difference between the groups in left atrial diameter or LV wall thickness. In conclusion, the prevalence of LBBB was 0.43% for men and 0.28% for women of middle age. The incidence was 3.2 per 10 000 per year for men and 3.7 per 10 000 per year for women. The prognosis of LBBB is relatively benign apart from its association with dilated cardiomyopathy. Few patients require pacemakers. The mean LV diameter is increased in randomly selected patients with LBBB, but only those with an underlying disorder.

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • myocardial infarction


    • Received October 17, 1986.
    • Revision received February 12, 1987.

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