Pregnant women with complete atrioventricular block: perinatal risks and review of management

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2011 Sep;34(9):1161-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.2011.03177.x. Epub 2011 Jul 28.


We have summarized the care management of pregnant women with complete atrioventricular block (CAVB) by reviewing data from the published literature as well as our own experience in 32 pregnancies. Obstetrical management of women with a permanent pacemaker implanted prior to conception has been sufficiently reported thus far, and the management of such patients is considered to be of low risk. Since CAVB usually does not cause any specific obstetrical problems during pregnancy, prepregnancy prophylactic placement of a permanent pacemaker is not indicated in all asymptomatic patients. However, when asymptomatic women without pacemakers become pregnant, there is a subset that ultimately develops heart failure during pregnancy. Therefore, close surveillance of pregnant patients with CAVB is warranted. The current increase in the use of permanent pacemakers in young women with symptomatic CAVB will certainly limit the need for intrapartum temporary pacing in patients who do not require a pacemaker before pregnancy. In fact, most women with CAVB, who do not require a permanent pacemaker before delivery, can be safely managed during labor without temporary pacing. However, the clinical symptoms and cardiac function of patients should be carefully followed after delivery, even when pregnancy and delivery are uneventful.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrioventricular Block / complications
  • Atrioventricular Block / physiopathology
  • Atrioventricular Block / therapy*
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Pacemaker, Artificial
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / therapy
  • Pregnancy Outcome