De subitaneis mortibus. XXIII. Rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
The conduction system of the heart was carefully examined at necropsy in two cases of rheumatoid arthritis and one of ankylosing spondylitis. All three patients had cardiac electrical instability and two fo the three died suddenly. The electrophysiological abnormalities of the three patients included paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in the first case, sustained atrial fibrillation with complete heart block and escape atrioventricular (A-V) junctional rhythm in the second case, and progressively increasing heart block eventually became complete in the third case. The sinus node exhibited extensive focal degeneration with and without associated inflammation in all three hearts, but the sinus node artery was not remarkably abnormal in any of these. All three hearts had important focal degenerative disease in the A-V node and His bundle, and in each of these there was marked narrowing of the local nutrient arteries, amounting to virtual occlusion in two hearts. The probable relationship of these postmortem histological findings to the electrocardiographic disturbances in each patient is discussed. Abnormalities in the cardiac conduction system of the hearts of these three patients are compared to ones previously reported for disseminated lupus erythematosus, polyarteritis nodosa, and scleroderma heart disease.
- Copyright © 1977 by American Heart Association