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Left bundle blanch blockA left bundle branch block sounds like something that might impede the progress of Thomas the Tank Engine in one of his cheerful trundles through the gently wooded interior of Sodor. Alas, no.

Regular readers will recall a very irregular encounter with an ECG machine back in the summer which led, amongst other things, to my temporary detention by elements of the Provisional NHS. This is a slight exaggeration – I could have left, but it would have created more paperwork than any of us have dreamed of in our wildest imaginings. Anyway, one of the other things that this led to was a series of tests at the John Radcliffe Heart Centre (“just in case”). I passed the echo test (echo test) with flying colours a little while back and yesterday saw me at the at the Arrythmia Clinic.

ECGThis involved another ECG and a consultation with a nice young doctor. Unlike my previous visit, there wasn’t much waiting: this was just as well as somebody had beaten me to the solitary copy of the BBC History magazine which shone like a beacon of hope amongst fading copies of Homes and Gardens and Country Life. There was nothing for it but to look at the lightly clouded sky (actually, backlit pictures of lightly clouded skies set into the ceiling – very tasteful, but a bit incongruous in the middle of December).

Anyway, I was just about to pounce on the History magazine, when I was called in.

The doctor was very nice, showed me pictures of my heartbeat and explained about the left bundle branch block (strictly speaking, rate related left bundle branch block).

So what is this and should I be worried?

Well, it’s something to do with electrical conductivity and seems to be one of those things that people live with for years in blissful ignorance. On the other hand (and this is basically the way medicine seems to work) it might signifiy something more serious, so they’re booking me in for a myocardial profusion scan (basically, an ECG with a treadmill or (and this is where it begins to sound a bit sinister) the chemical equivalent of a treadmill) in about ten weeks time. Just in case.