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Fetal complete heart block.
  1. M V Machado,
  2. M J Tynan,
  3. P V Curry,
  4. L D Allan
  1. Department of Perinatal Cardiology, Guy's Hospital, London.


    In a series of over 6000 patients referred for fetal echocardiography during an eight year period, 37 fetuses were found to have complete heart block. There were 16 cases of isolated heart block and 21 cases associated with structural heart disease. All mothers of fetuses with isolated complete heart block had evidence of circulating syndrome Sjögren A antibody (Ro). Only one mother had clinical evidence of connective tissue disease. In the 21 cases associated with structural heart disease there were 17 cases of atrioventricular septal defect, one case of secundum atrial and perimembranous ventricular septal defects, two cases of tetralogy of Fallot, and one case of pulmonary stenosis. All fetuses with atrioventricular septal defects and complete heart block had left atrial isomerism. Additional abnormalities of the great arteries were often found in this group; these were double outlet right ventricle, transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary atresia, coarctation of aorta, and stenosis of the pulmonary or aortic valves. Intrauterine congestive heart failure was a feature of four cases in the group with isolated complete heart block and 11 cases of the group with associated structural heart disease. The outcome in the fetuses with isolated complete heart block was better than in those with heart disease: 12 of the 16 fetuses are alive, two of them have a pacemaker. But only three of the group of 21 fetuses with cardiac malformation are alive, and two of them have a pacemaker.

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