Aim: To analyse growth of children with and without congenital heart block (CHB) born to anti-Ro/SSA positive mothers from birth to 18 years of age, using a population-based cohort of Swedish CHB patients.
Methods: Medical records for siblings with (n = 72) and without (n = 60) CHB born 1973-2009 to anti-Ro/SSA positive mothers were retrieved from child healthcare centres and school health services and used to extract data on growth from birth to 18 years.
Results: Compared with reference standards, children with CHB were retarded in weight by 0.75-1.0 SD from birth to 2-3 years of age. Thereafter, the CHB children started to catch up, reaching the reference standards at 9-11 years of age. Pacemaker treatment was not correlated with the catch-up in growth. Individuals with CHB were retarded in both weight and height from birth to 9-11 years of age when compared to siblings without CHB, who did not demonstrate restriction in these measurements.
Conclusion: Presence of CHB is a more important predictor of growth restriction than maternal rheumatic disease and foetal anti-Ro/SSA exposure. The restriction persists for several years after birth, despite pacemaker treatment, which highlights the importance of follow-up of children with CHB regarding nutrition and growth.
© 2013 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.