Long-term growth of children with autoantibody-mediated congenital heart block

Acta Paediatr. 2013 Jul;102(7):718-26. doi: 10.1111/apa.12248. Epub 2013 Apr 22.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Block / congenital*
  • Heart Block / immunology
  • Heart Block / physiopathology
  • Heart Block / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Ribonucleoproteins / blood


  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • SS-A antigen

Supplementary concepts

  • Congenital heart block