Neurodevelopment in children with and without congenital heart block born to anti-Ro/SSA-positive mothers

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To define factors influencing neurodevelopment in children with and without complete congenital heart block (CHB) born to mothers with Ro/SSA autoantibodies.

Patients and methods:

Medical records of a population-based cohort of siblings with (n = 60) and without (n = 54) CHB born 1974–2009 to anti-Ro/SSA-positive mothers were retrieved from children primary healthcare centres and school health services and used to extract data on neurodevelopment.


Impaired neurodevelopment was reported in 16% of the children (18/114) during the follow-up time of 13.0 (8.2–17.5) years, median (quartiles). Reported problems included speech (9%), motor (8%) and learning (8%) impairment, attention deficit (5%) and behavioural impairment (4%). Impairment in motor skill development was more common in boys (p < 0.001) if the child was born preterm (p < 0.001). Learning impairment was significantly influenced by maternal SLE (p < 0.005), while attention deficits was influenced by both maternal SLE (p < 0.05) and CHB in the child (p < 0.05).


Our data indicate that in addition to well-established factors such as male sex and being born preterm, both maternal SLE and CHB may influence neurodevelopment. Follow-up of neurodevelopment should therefore be considered for children with CHB, especially if the mother is diagnosed with SLE.

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