Two case reports of neonatal autoantibody-associated congenital heart block

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Rationale:Neonatal lupus erythematosus (NLE) is an infrequent disease caused by transplacental maternal autoantibodies. The most common effects of NLE include cutaneous involvement and congenital heart block (CHB), although it might involve multiple organs, such as the liver, lungs, blood, and nervous or digestive systems. Izmirly PM1 and Tonello et al recently reported cutaneous manifestations of neonatal lupus and risk of subsequent CHB. The most serious complication of NLE is complete atrioventricular (AV) block.Patient concerns:We experienced 2 cases of NLE that were diagnosed in the past year in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. These cases showed 2 different clinical spectrums (CHB, multisystemic effects). One case was a 32-week pregnant woman with combined liver damage and fever, and her fetus was premature due to bradycardia and pericardial effusion. The second case was a young pregnant woman who had systemic lupus erythematosus for 2 years and had been taking methylprednisolone and hydroxychloroquine for a long time since her illness. When prenatal testing at 28 weeks of pregnancy showed that the fetus had CHB, the mother began taking dexamethasone.Diagnosis:The first case was diagnosed as NLE with CHB after birth, while the second was diagnosed as NLE with CHB, ductus arteriosus, and atrial septal defect when she was born at 34 weeks.Interventions:Both of 2 cases were treated with steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, and a diuretic. But the second case was treated with isoprenaline in addition to the above.Outcomes:Both of the infants was followed up and found to be clinically normal. During the clinic follow-up of the first case, the 8-month-old infant was still asymptomatic with normal growth and development. Her heart rate fluctuated from 40 to 90 beats/minute.Lessons:Autoimmune CHB is a severe, potentially life-threatening disorder associated with passive transfer of maternal anti-Sjogren's syndrome A/Ro and anti-Sjogren's syndrome B/La autoantibodies. Mothers who are positive for these autoantibodies are recommended to have serial echocardiography and obstetric ultrasonography from the early second trimester. Newborns should be delivered at an early stage of gestation if there is evidence of pericardial effusion, ascites, increasing ventricular ectopy, reduced ventricular shortening fraction, or AV valve regurgitation. Aggressive medical management after birth should be coupled with pacemaker implantation in infants who do not respond to medical therapies alone.

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