Pathogenesis of cardiac conduction disorders in children genetic and histopathologic aspects

Am J Med Genet A. 2006 Oct 1;140(19):1993-2006. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.31440.


Fetal dysrhythmias are usually transient. Abnormal fetal rates and rhythms during labor are "functional." Fetal dysrhythmias may be associated with congenital heart disease and fetal hydrops. Bradycardia is usually related to fetal distress; supraventricular tachycardia, atrial flutter, and atrial fibrillation may be associated with severe congestive heart failure. Ventricular fibrillation is rare in the fetus and infant and is usually associated with myocardial necrosis with perimembranous septal defect; the nonbranching atrioventricular (AV) bundle may have an aberrant position and result in cardiac arrhythmia. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome with conduction abnormalities and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is due to an accessory pathway that bypasses the AV sulcus and results in faster conduction. Carnitine deficiency may be primary or secondary and may result in cardiac arrhythmia. Histiocytoid cardiomyopathy is characterized by cardiomegaly, incessant ventricular tachycardia, and frequently sudden death. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) results in ventricular tachycardia and left bundle branch block. Noncompaction of the left ventricle predisposes to potentially fatal arrhythmias. Long Q-T syndromes (LQTS) are a heterogeneous group of disorders with many genetic mutations. Brugada syndrome is an autosomal dominant trait with right bundle branch block and ST elevation. Barth syndrome is an X-linked disorder with dilated cardiomyopathy, cyclic neutropenia and skeletal myopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in infancy may be related to metabolic diseases, particularly glycogen storage diseases; the familial form predisposes to sudden death. Arrhythmias following cardiac surgery may occur after closure of a ventricular septal defect (VSD) or damage to the conduction system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / genetics
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / pathology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / genetics
  • Carnitine / deficiency
  • Female
  • Heart Block / congenital
  • Heart Block / genetics
  • Heart Conduction System / pathology
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Long QT Syndrome / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Syndrome


  • Carnitine