Proper monitoring for sedation for dental procedures is critical. Not only is it important for safely administrating anesthesia but also, monitoring can sometimes pick up an unidentified pathology in a patient.

Many patients needing oral surgery haven’t gone to their physicians in months or years. For some patients, it may be the first time they get an EKG.

Yesterday, 70-year-old patient presented without any history of previous heart problems. Prior to beginning the procedure, EKG heart monitoring was performed. His EKG looked like the picture above. There was clearly an abnormality.

The EKG showed a right bundle branch block. This is a problem in the normal conduction of the heart where half the heart doesn’t get proper electrical stimulation. It may occur without any outward symptoms but is very important to diagnose since the arrhythmia can be a sign of other heart or lung problems and progress to more severe types of arrhythmias.

The patient was referred to his primary care physician to get a full workup to fully diagnose and treat this arrhythmia prior to having the procedure completed.