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Grasser, Monika; Döhlemann, Christoph; Mittal, Rashmi; Till, Holger; Dietz, Hans-Georg; Münch, Georg and Holzinger, Andreas (2008): Acquired heart block: A possible complication of patent ductus arteriosus in a preterm infant. In: Neonatology, No. 4: pp. 276-280 [PDF, 322kB]


A large patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a frequently encountered clinical problem in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. It leads to an increased pulmonary blood flow and in a decreased or reversed diastolic flow in the systemic circulation, resulting in complications. Here we report a possible complication of PDA not previously published. On day 8 of life, a male ELBW infant (birth weight 650 g) born at a gestational age of 23 weeks and 3 days developed an atrioventricular block (AV block). The heart rate dropped from 168/min to 90/min, and the ECG showed a Wenckebach second-degree AV block and intraventricular conduction disturbances. Echocardiography demonstrated a PDA with a large left-to-right shunt and large left atrium and left ventricle with high contractility. Within several minutes after surgical closure of the PDA, the heart rate increased, and after 30 min the AV block had improved to a 1: 1 conduction ratio. Echocardiography after 2 h revealed a significant decrease of the left ventricular and atrial dimensions. Within 12 h, the AV block completely reversed together with the intraventricular conduction disturbances. We suggest that PDA with a large left-to-right shunt and left ventricular volume overload may lead to an AV block in an ELBW infant. Surgical closure of the PDA may be indicated. Copyright (C) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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