Multiple arrhythmias detected during nocturnal monitoring in patients with congenital complete heart block.
Twenty patients with congenital complete heart block (CHB) were monitored with ECG tape recordings while awake and asleep. Episodes of marked ventricular slowing during sleep (R-R greater than 3000 msec., i.e. less than 20 beats/min) were noted in 35% (7/20). Most of these sudden R-R prolongations were 2:1 or 3:1 exit block of the junctional focus. Atrial and ventricular rate changes were mostly concordant in 2/3 but the remainder demonstrated fixed ventricular rates while atrial rates varied normally, suggesting a "sick" or "lazy" junctional focus. Other arrhythmias were found in 60% (12/20), including several types of rhythms in three patients. One child with previously unsuspected superimposed multiple arrhythmias later had a syncopal episode despite proven supra-Hisian block. The multiple patterns of atrial and ventricular rate changes found indicate complex feedback mechanisms, suggesting that congenital CHB is not a single entity. Since a significant number of patients demonstrated one or another of these unexpected and potentially hazardous findings, we recommend that congenital block patients be carefully studied, including Holter monitoring done on a regular basis.
- Copyright © 1977 by American Heart Association