Perinatal outcome of fetal complete atrioventricular block: a multicenter experience

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1991 May;17(6):1360-6. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(10)80148-2.


The clinical course and outcome of 55 fetuses with complete atrioventricular (AV) block detected prenatally were studied to identify factors that affect the natural history of this lesion. In 29 fetuses (53%) complete AV block was associated with complex structural heart defects, usually left atrial isomerism (n = 17) or discordant AV connection (n = 7). The other 26 fetuses had normal cardiac anatomy; in 19 cases the mother had connective tissue disease or tested positive for antinuclear antibodies. Six fetuses showed progression from sinus rhythm or second degree block to complete AV block. Of the 55 pregnancies, 5 were terminated and 24 fetuses or neonates died; at the end of the neonatal period 26 fetuses were still alive. Fetal or neonatal death correlated significantly with the presence of structural heart defects (4 of 29 surviving, p less than 0.001), hydrops (0 of 22 surviving, p less than 0.001), an atrial rate less than or equal to 120 beats/min (1 of 12 surviving, p less than 0.005) or a ventricular rate less than or equal to 55 beats/min (3 of 21 surviving, p less than 0.001). Mean atrial and ventricular rates were higher in surviving than in nonsurviving fetuses (142 +/- 8 vs. 127 +/- 21 beats/min, p less than 0.002; 64 +/- 8 vs. 52 +/- 8 beats/min, p less than 0.001, respectively). A slow atrial rate, however, was frequently associated with left atrial isomerism.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Fetal Diseases / therapy*
  • Heart Block / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Block / drug therapy
  • Heart Block / therapy*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Ultrasonography