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Left posterior fascicular block

William H Sauer, MD
Section Editor
Ary L Goldberger, MD
Deputy Editor
Brian C Downey, MD, FACC


In the discussion that follows, it is assumed that the reader understands the general concepts of cardiac vectors, asynchronous activation of the ventricles (delayed as in fascicular or bundle branch block, or early as in pre-excitation), and the effects that asynchrony has on the duration, morphology, and amplitude of the QRS complex. (See "ECG tutorial: Physiology of the conduction system" and "General principles of asynchronous activation and preexcitation".)


The classic hypothesis proposed by Rosenbaum and his coworkers was that the left bundle branch divides into two fascicles of rapidly conducting Purkinje fibers (ie, phase 0 dependent on the rapid inward sodium current) (figure 1) [1]. These fascicles primarily affect the direction of depolarization:

The left anterior fascicle crosses the left ventricular outflow tract and terminates in the Purkinje system of the anterolateral wall of the left ventricle.

The left posterior fascicle appears as an extension of the main bundle and fans out extensively posteriorly toward the papillary muscle and inferoposteriorly to the free wall of the left ventricle.

In addition, a third fascicle, called the left septal or median fascicle, is found in nearly 65 percent of people [2,3]. This fascicle runs to the interventricular septum, and can arise from the common left bundle or from the anterior, posterior, or both fascicles.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 24, 2017.
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