Permanent Pacing for Late-Onset Atrioventricular Block in Patients with Heart Transplantation: A Single Center Experience

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Introduction:The incidence, mechanisms, clinical associations, and outcomes in patients with late-onset (>3 months) atrioventricular (AV) block following heart transplantation are not well known. This study will characterize late-onset AV block following cardiac transplantation.Methods:We retrospectively reviewed our databases to identify patients who required pacemakers for late-onset AV block postheart and heart-lung transplantation from January 1990 to December 2007. Orthotopic heart and heart-lung transplantation were separately analyzed.Results:This study included 588 adults who received cardiac transplants over a 17-year period at our center (519 orthotopic, 64 heart-lung transplants, and five heterotopic heart transplants). Of the 519 patients with orthotopic heart transplant, 39 required pacing (7.5%), 17 (3.3%) within 3 months posttransplant, 11 (2.1%) for late-onset sinus node dysfunction (SND), 11 (2.1%) for late-onset AV block. Also, five patients (7.8%) out of 64 heart-lung transplants required pacemakers, two (3.1%) for late-onset SND, three (4.7%) for late-onset AV block. None of the five patients who underwent heterotopic transplant required cardiac pacing prior to or posttransplant.Conclusions:Late-onset AV block occurs in 2.4% of patients with orthotopic heart transplant or heart-lung transplant. AV block is predominantly intermittent and, often, does not progress to permanent AV block. There are no predictable factors for its onset. (PACE 2011; 72-75)

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