Congenital heart block in newborns of mothers with connective tissue disease.
Of 22 children with congenital complete heart block (CCHB) available for study, 14 (63.6%) were born to 11 mothers with clinical or laboratory evidence of connective tissue disease, primarily lupus erythematosus (LE). Seven mothers had both clinical and laboratory evidence of disease while four had only positive laboratory studies including fluorescent antinuclear antibody, rheumatoid factor, and depressed complement levels. In adults with systemic LE, pathologic changes in the collagen surrounding the conduction system have led to the fibrosis and death from heart block. Antinuclear antibodies of the IgG class cross the placental barrier and newborn infants have been reported with transient skin lesions of lupus. Placental transmission of such antibodies may affect the fetal cardiac conduction system, surrounding collagen, and myocardium, leading in some cases to CCHB. This is probably one important etiologic factor in CCHB even though the mother is asymptomatic during her pregnancy.
- Copyright © 1977 by American Heart Association