Description of 214 cases of autoimmune congenital heart block: Results of the French neonatal lupus syndrome

Autoimmun Rev. 2015 Dec;14(12):1154-60. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2015.08.005. Epub 2015 Aug 15.


Background: Cardiac neonatal lupus syndrome is due to anti-SSA or SSB antibodies and mainly includes congenital heart block (CHB) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Its optimal management is still debated. We report a large series of autoimmune high degree CHB.

Methods: Inclusion criteria in this retrospective study were fetuses or neonates with high-degree CHB associated with maternal anti-SSA/SSB antibodies.

Results: 214 CHB were included: 202 detected in utero at a median term of 23 weeks' gestation (WG) [range 16 to 39 WG] and 12 neonatal cases diagnosed at a median age of 0 days [range birth to 8 days]. The 214 cases of CHB included 202 (94.4%) third-degree CHB, 8 (3.7%) second-degree CHB, and 4 (1.9%) intermittent CHB. In multivariate analysis, the factors associated with feto-neonatal deaths (15.7%) were hydrops (p<0.001; hazard ratio [HR] 12.4 [95% confidence interval (95%CI) 4.7-32.7]) and prematurity (p=0.002; HR 17.1 [95%CI 2.8-103.1]). During a median follow-up of 7 years [birth to 36 years], 148 of 187 children born alive (79.1%) had a pacemaker, 35 (18.8%, one missing data) had DCM, and 22 (11.8%) died. In multivariate analysis, factors associated with child death were in utero DCM (p=0.0157; HR 6.37 [95%CI: 1.25-32.44]), postnatal DCM (p<0.0001; HR 227.58[95%CI: 24.33-2128.46]) and pacemaker implantation (p=0.0035; HR 0.11[95%CI: 0.02-0.51]). The use of fluorinated steroids was neither associated with survival nor with regression of 2nd degree CHB.

Conclusion: In this second largest series of CHB, we confirm some of the previous results. We were unable to find data supporting the routine use of in utero fluorinated steroids.

Keywords: Anti-SSA/Ro antibodies; Congenital heart block; Dilated cardiomyopathy; Neonatal lupus erythematosus syndrome; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Heart Block / complications
  • Heart Block / congenital*
  • Heart Block / immunology
  • Heart Block / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / congenital*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Pacemaker, Artificial
  • Prosthesis Implantation
  • Treatment Outcome

Supplementary concepts

  • Congenital heart block
  • Neonatal Systemic lupus erythematosus