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Pathol Biol (Paris). 2004 Apr;52(3):138-47.

[Congenital heart block associated with maternal anti SSA/SSB antibodies :a report of four cases].

[Article in French]

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Laboratoire d'immunologie EPS, Charles-Nicolle, boulevard du 9-Avril, Tunis, Tunisie.


Congenital heart block (CHB) associated with maternal anti-SSA/SSB antibodies: a report of four cases. CHB detected in utero is strongly associated with maternal antibodies to SSA (Ro) and SSB (La). Their pathogenic role in the development of CHB has been established in several studies. The mothers of affected infants frequently had autoimmune disease (systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren's syndrome) or were entirely asymptomatic. It is very difficult to identify pregnant asymptomatic mothers carrying anti-SSA/SSB antibodies. We report four cases of infants born to asymptomatic mothers with anti-SSA/SSB antibodies, three of them developed isolated congenital cardiac heart block and one with no evidence of CHB. All three CHB are detected during pregnancy between 16 and 24 weeks of gestation. All maternal sera contained antibodies to SSA alone or the both SSA and SSB. Three of four subsequent pregnancies were complicated by heart block. One child affected died in utero. While the two other newborns with CHB required pacemaker insertion during the first 3 months of life. Although the association of anti-SSA/SSB with CHB is widely accepted, the precise mechanism by which these antibodies cause cardiac conduction abnormalities remains to be defined. Antibodies to SSA/SSB have been proposed to be a serologic marker for neonatal lupus syndrome and CHB. Fetal and neonatal diseases are presumed to be due to the transplacental passage of these IgG autoantibodies from the mother into the fetal circulation. Since these antibodies may have a pathogenic role in CHB, screening of infants with isolated CHB or neonatal lupus and their mothers for the presence of anti-SSA and anti-SSB is strongly recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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