Atrioventricular Block impairs electrical communication between the heart's upper and lower chambers. It may affect a person's capacity to work and enjoy life, and its symptoms can vary from minor to severe. Veterans with AV block may be eligible for VA disability compensation.
Learn more about the AV block, how it affects you, and how to navigate VA disability compensation in this article.
What is Atrioventricular Block (AV Block)?
Atrioventricular block, or AV block, is a heart condition that prevents the usual electrical impulses from coordinating heartbeats. It develops when the heart's top chambers, the atria, have trouble sending electrical impulses to the heart's lower chambers, the ventricles. There are three levels of the AV block, as follows:
- First-degree AV block: There is a conduction delay, but all impulses make it to the ventricles, making this the mildest AV block.
- Second-degree AV block: In this type, irregular heartbeats occur because certain impulses cannot reach the ventricles.
- Third-degree AV block: The most severe AV block, or full heart block, occurs when no impulses pass from the atria to the ventricles. A pacemaker is typically required in this situation.
Symptoms and Impact on Daily Life
AV block levels may range in intensity from mild to severe. Some people may not have any symptoms at all, while others might have:
- Fainting (syncope)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
These symptoms can make it tough to go about your regular life, from getting to work to doing what you need to do.
Eligibility for VA Disability Compensation
You may qualify for VA disability compensation if you have an AV block and feel it is service-related. To prove your eligibility, you must show that your AV block is somehow linked to your military service.
Navigating the VA Disability Compensation Process
The procedure for obtaining AV block disability compensation from the VA consists of the following steps:
- Medical Evidence: Get together any paperwork or medical records that pertain to your AV block. This category includes medical documents detailing your ailment and treatment and any medical statements attesting to a connection between your condition and military service.
- File a Claim: You may either submit an electronic claim using the VA's eBenefits platform or a paper application through regular mail. Remember to include any documentation required to back up your VA claim.
- VA Examination: To determine the extent of your AV block, the VA may order you to take a Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam. Go to a checkup and be forthright about your symptoms.
- Decision: The VA will review your application and provide supporting medical documentation. Your compensation amount is based on your disability rating, which you will get if your claim is granted.
- Appeals: You have the right to file an appeal against a denial of your claim or a rating you believe is incorrect. Producing further evidence and seeking legal counsel, if necessary, is crucial during appeals.
Don't hold back from pursuing compensation you may be eligible for if you're a veteran living with AV block. Following the abovementioned procedures and offering thorough medical proof will go more smoothly.
The AV block may be difficult to live with, but disability compensation from the VA can help.