Fetal complete heart block: antenatal diagnosis, significance and management
Complete heart block was diagnosed prenatally in 21 fetuses. Associated structural cardiac defects were present in 18 fetuses, in particular complete atrioventricular canal with atrial isomerism (5 cases), and 'corrected' transposition of the great arteries (4 cases). Maternal systemic lupus erythematosus was proved in only one case. In 11 fetuses, intra-uterine congestive heart failure with the signs of non-immune hydrops fetalis occurred. In all 11 fetuses, the hydrops was associated with a cardiac defect, in particular complete atrioventricular canal with atrial isomerism in 5 cases. A review of the literature confirms that only the association of complete heart block and cardiac malformation can cause intra-uterine congestive heart failure, whereas in the case of fetal complete heart block without cardiac malformation or with prenatally hemodynamically insignificant cardiac malformation, congestive heart failure is rare. Only 30% of newborns with complete heart block have associated cardiac malformations. In our series, however, 86% of the fetuses with complete heart block had cardiac malformations. The most important reason for this percentage discrepancy is that almost all fetuses with associated severe cardiac defects, i...Continue Reading
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Birth defects encompass structural and functional alterations that occur during embryonic or fetal development and are present since birth. The cause may be genetic, environmental or unknown and can result in physical and/or mental impairment. Here is the latest research on birth defects.
Cardiac Conduction System
The cardiac conduction system is a specialized tract of myocardial cells responsible for maintaining normal cardiac rhythm. Discover the latest research on the cardiac conduction system here.